Could Americans pronoune it as Worsester
The reasons are generally that people's speech becomes sloppy, particularly when they are illiterate. The divergences between spelling and pronunciation occurred long before education became compulsory.
I see what you mean, the explanation seems plausible. Could Americans pronoune it as Worsester, Glowsester and so on, because I've heard them pronounce -shire with a diphtong rather than schwa.
Don't you mean: Why do some people and places called /wʊstə/ (Wooster) sometimes irregularly spell their name Worcester? I suppose the answer isWhy is Worcester pronounced as Wooster?
You are right; I found this:I was taught at school that English place names ending -chester, -caster and -cester are derived from the Roman names of places where there were camps.
A friend of mine told me a story about the origin of the name "Worcestershire sauce": On being served a Porter House Steak and this wonderful sauce, a Southern gentleman asked "Wut's 'is 'ere sauce?" Hence the name.
It could also be that the names with those endings were indeed derived from Latin, but that their origin lies in popular place names which differed from the official, recorded names.The interesting thing here is: "chester" is given as "Saxon", so it was already a Saxon loan.
Thus it would be easy to explain why some of those place names do not look like the old Latin one: these should be names given to those towns by the Saxons, with using their (Latin) loan of "chester".
Pace Hulalessar, but sloppy speech occurs every day. As with coinage, the impure tends to drive out the pure, but at any time there are many who pronounce words clearly and many others who do not. I think these differences are the result of the elisions of unclear speech.
Originally, yes, they were all sloppy speech.So is "goodbye" sloppy speech for "God be with you"?
Is French sloppy Latin? French is full of elisions and they are perfectly respectable!
With respect, notions of purity and language do not go together. How far back do we have to go until we get to "pure" English?
Sorry, but phonological processes don't work like that.When it comes down to dropping the vowel between the two s sounds of a word like Worcester, I see it like this:
The vowel before the c was stressed, and important to communication, and the vowel after the s had some import too, even if only in supporting the consonant cluster /st/. But the two sibilants were distracting to communication and the vowel between them was not meaningful. Therefore, the vowel dropped out and the two sibilants became one. This was better art and better for communication, in short, more English than the form with the two sibilants with the weak vowel between.
The OE spelling ceaster rather than caester indicates palatalization already in OE.Did the c in -cester originally sound like a k, a ch, or an s
Probably. The spelling caester corresponding to a velar "c" existed too. In modern place names in the North you find the spelling and pronunciation caster, as in Doncaster and Lancaster.- or all three, depending on the preceding sound, local dialect, etc.?
And, of course, in some places (mainly in north-western England?) chester as in Chester and Manchester. A quick glance at a map suggests to me that in the Midlands (where Worcester is) s predominates (Cirencester, Towcester, Bicester, Leicester).The spelling caester corresponding to a velar "c" existed too. In modern place names in the North you find the spelling and pronunciation caster, as in Doncaster and Lancaster.
I am not an expert in English historical linguistics, but the change from k to ch in English is a regular one affecting many common words, including child, cheap, church and cheese.I don't think it was carelessness, but for a purpose, perhaps unconscious, perhaps not, that -castra became -chester and -cester (pronounced "ster")
It is the case, but my point is that the true etymology is irrelevant to the spelling: what matters to the spelling is what the writer thinks the etymology is. There are many examples of spelling being dictated by 'folk etymology'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_etymologyIsn't it the case?