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I would guess /r/ became /l/ by dissimilation with the preceding /s/. The
Old English name took the form of -scrobbes- /Srobes/ whether in
Scrobbesbyrig (Shrewsbury, the capital) or Scrobbescyre (Shropshire). Norman
French liked initial consonant clusters just as much as Modern French
does(!) and a possible outline evolution could have been:
/Sr/ (OE form)
/S@r/ (separation of consonant cluster)
/s@r/ (S>s)
/s@l/ (dissimilation of /r/ from phonetically fairly close /s/)
Or something similar...
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "Anton Sherwood" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 8:53 AM

>
> The Normans broke up the cluster and (as in various other names, notably
> *cester) changed /S/ to /s/; but how /r/ became /l/ is beyond me.
>
>
> --
> Anton Sherwood  --  http://www.ogre.nu/