I've been listening to a section of The Great Courses: Medieval History, an audiobook narrated by Kenneth W. Harl. From his accent, Prof. Harl is clearly American, with what I would describe as a standard Midwestern accent (TV announcer variety) except for a few quirks here and there.

One of the quirks is his penchant for pronouncing warrior as if it rhymed exactly with lawyer, i.e., ˈwɔ yər. This pronunciation seems not to be accepted in dictionaries, as the various listed pronunciations I find include ˈwɔr i ər, ˈwɔr yər, ˈwɒr i ər, ˈwɒr yər. His Wikipedia page gives no mention of his origins.

I believe I've heard this pronunciation before, but I can't place it and if my memory serves it seems rare to me.

Is this a feature of a dialect, idiolect, or something else? If a dialect, which one(s)?

  • Someone has a penchant for arhoticism. – Hot Licks May 8 '20 at 20:32
  • @HotLicks: If that were true, he wouldn't pronounce the final /r/. But he does. And he has no problem with other instances of /r/ in words. – Robusto May 8 '20 at 20:33
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    Some hints - boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-428925.html - Do the words “lawyer” and “warrior” rhyme in your dialect? boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=855468 – user 66974 May 8 '20 at 20:40
  • @Hachi: Thanks, but I don't see a whole lot in the way of useful scholarship in that online poll and message board conversation. Interesting, though, and at least it proves I'm not crazy for hearing it that way. ^_^ – Robusto May 9 '20 at 19:30
  • I’m aware the content doesn’t answer your question, but being highly related it proves the question has been raised before and, alas, it has not found a proper answer yet. – user 66974 May 9 '20 at 20:21

It is probably the case of dropping the intervocalic /r/.

"African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) is largely non-rhotic, and in some non-rhotic Southern and AAVE accents, [...] intervocalic /r/ is deleted before an unstressed syllable even within a word when the following syllable begins with a vowel. In such accents, pronunciations like [kæəˈlaːnə] for Carolina, or [bɛːˈʌp] for "bear up" are heard. This pronunciation also occurs in AAE. This also occurred for many older non-rhotic Southern speakers."

Rhoticity in English

It is (was) also found in NYC Black English.

Intervocalic R dropping

  • This isn't unique to AAVE. I'd guess about half of Americans don't pronounce the first "r" in "February". – Hot Licks May 8 '20 at 20:47
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    @HotLicks But how do they pronounce 'Carolina', then? Or 'warrior'? – Jules Cocovin May 8 '20 at 20:50
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    War-ya. Narlans. `merica. – candied_orange May 8 '20 at 21:00

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