The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

MS transcription: mis-spellings

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Mis-spellings can be interesting (even if not normally relevant to our edition). In “Reminiscences of Colinton Manse” (early 1870s, published in abridged form in Balfour’s Life vol 1, pp. 40-47), RLS writes of watching the foam on the Water of Leith at Colinton:

Sometimes there came a great, quivering castle of foam like trifle, great lumps of which adhered to the grass and roots on the opposite side.

In the early draft (B 6788), he writes

This is understandable, since (ignoring the final-s) the imaginary word ‘lumb’ would have the same pronunciation as ‘lump’.

But now we come to a puzzle, for in the second draft of the 1879 ‘Lay Morals’ MS (B6498), RLS refers to “a dog in the manger“, writing it like this:

Now, why would anyone write “manger” as “manker”?

That is, unless, he pronounced the word, (i) “mangh-er” (in which case there might be a g/k confusion in the spelling, rather like “lump” spelt “lumb”), or (ii) maybe “man(g)-er”, with “n(g)” representing the velar nasal, as in “sing”, or the Scottish pronunciation of the surname “Menzies”  as “men(g)-is” or “men(g)-iz”.

The SND doesn’t help us with pronunciation, but does (like the OED) record the form “maniour”, which conceivably could have been pronounced in that second way.

Does anyone know if there are Scottish pronunciations of the word like “mangh-er” or “man(g)-er”?


Written by rdury

09/04/2012 at 10:50 am

Posted in News

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