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NURSE Merger

Scotland, parts of Ireland

earth work


Originally, the Middle English short vowels  i, e, u centred to schwa before non-prevocalic r:
so birth and berth, tern and turn fell together.
Later the centred vowel was lengthened to (Pre-R Lengthening).

Some dalects retain all these distinctions. The situation given above is the commonest remaining distinction, In Scotland.

In English dialects, hurry is still distinct from furry .
In many American accents they have merged to , . This is known as the 2nd Nurse Merger.


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