In a message dated 4/3/01 7:09:06 PM, zehrovak@...
>In a department store, the r's
>flash like mad but out on the
>mean streets the r's can mark you out like...well, like a luminescent
That was research by William Labov. He suspected that rhotic speech was
spreading in New York from the upper classes down, so he went into department
stores catering to various social classes and asked for things he knew to be
on the fourth floor. The lower-class the store, the more likely he was to
get non-rhotic speech.