|© Tabi Walters|
by Sally Mitani
Overheard at west-side polling places in November were pronunciations that infuriate Old West Siders: Lutz pronounced "lutts," Bach pronounced "bock," Revena pronounced "ravenna"--and all presumably by people who live in the neighborhood.
"Lutz is loots," born-and-bred west-sider Fran Wright (nee Bigelow) explains, crisply: "Bach is baw, Revena is reveena, and I don't know what else there is to talk about!" She went to Bach school. "No one back then ever pronounced it bock! And another one is Koch--it's pronounced cook. Linda Koch was a classmate of mine."
Grace Shackman, a local historian, says that a hobbyhorse of hers is the change from Eber White, named after the farmer who lived west of Seventh, to the one-word Eberwhite. "There were lots of Whites," agrees Wright, "so they named the street Eber White to distinguish it from the others. The accent on Eber White is completely different from Eberwhite."
The following Calls & letters item appeared in the January 2013 Ann Arbor Observer:
Bock, Baw, and the velar fricative
Last month we wrote that Ann Arbor’s unique pronunciation of Bach (e.g., the school) as “baw” seems to be slowly changing to the “bock” that other Americans use. Some west-siders are unhappy to see it go—rumor has always had it that it’s a remnant of the Swabian dialect once spoken in that part of town. But David Schall emailed with a competing theory: Bach was “de-Germanicized in the early 20th century due to the two world wars, and this mis-pronunciation [“baw”] has been perpetuated up to the present.”
We asked local writer Jennifer Eberbach if she could shed any light on the question. After polling family members, she emailed: “As far as we know, my great grandfather Oscar (born 18??) was the one who started saying Eber‘baw.’ And then my grandfather Robert (born 1915) continued using it … My dad said “baw” as a child and then changed it back to “bock” when he got older.
“I’m glad to hear it!” said Walter Metzger, when told that Ann
Arts and Entertainment reviews and news.>> Blogs