Friday, March 16, 2012

they mervynned me

Two further quickies: firstly let's give a posthumous Welshman of the Day award to Mervyn Davies, the former Wales and British Lions number 8 and Grand Slam-winning captain in 1976, who has died aged 65. I don't think I ever saw him play "live", as my earliest rugby-watching recollections that I can attach a specific date to are from Wales' next (and last until 2005) Grand Slam year, 1978, by which time Davies had been forced into early retirement by a brain haemorrhage.

Secondly, I caught most of Frost On Interviews on BBC4 the other day, and I was struck firstly by how interesting it all was, despite being at times a bit of a mutually congratulatory circle jerk between Frosty, Parky, the Melvster and others, but secondly by how odd it was to hear Sir David Frost refer to Anthony Eden by pronouncing the "th" in "Anthony" as a "th" and not as a "t", i.e. as in "anthology" rather than "antidote". This sounds odd when someone with a still nominally English accent (though Frost's tortured vowelisations are pretty uncategorisable these days) does it, as it's a specifically American thing. I have no idea why this pronunciation became the standard one in the US while the "t" one is the standard one in the UK. I suppose the many decades Frost has spent in the USA have had an influence (on him, that is, rather than pronunciation habits in general). The Americans still drop the "h" when abbreviating the name, though: the only person Wikipedia has a page for who goes by the first name "Thony" is this obscure French footballer.

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