Monday, July 10, 2017

In the street where you live

In her ‘erotic thriller’ In the Cut, published in 1995, Susanna Moore has her heroine (a New York creative writing teacher fascinated by shifts in language) observe that people used to say (for example) ‘I live in Smith St’ and now they say ‘I live on Smith St’; and that a friend from the Midwest pronounces route as rout, which suggests that route pronounced root was still commonplace even in New York as late as the 1990s. Now all one hears out of America is route rhyming with out; and the usage has begun to take hold in New Zealand too, influenced no doubt by the use of router in the wireless sense. No one, even in New Zealand, would pronounce it rooter. And I can’t help but notice that the on usage regarding streets is taking over here too.