Pennies and palatals of yesteryear

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Dec 8 18:55:23 UTC 1999

At 10:10 AM 12/8/99 -0400, you wrote:
> >On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Bethany K. Dumas wrote:
> >
> >}On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Bruce Dykes wrote:
> >}>I heard one new to me from our London office:
> >}>"He's gone to spend a penny."
> >}
> >}It's not new, it's very old. Under the old currency, it took a large
> >}copper penny to open the stall door. I have wondered since 1971 (when
> >}decimal cxurrency completely replaced the old currency) if the phrase
> >}would survive. I am delighed to see that it has.
> >
> >My mother was tickled when she heard my father-in-law use the phrase.  I
> >wounder if the phrase is used by younger speakers.  How old was the London
> >person?
> >
> >It just dawned on me that, perhaps, the phrase could be related to how
> >pence are referred to, here: a penny is 1p.
> >
>whence the verb 'to pee'.
>On another front,
>an earlier posting (either from or to dInIs) writes
> >Just from what I've seen on t.v. news, most
> >American-Italians with "gli" in their name seem to
> >have have gone to "velar g" - syllable separation -
> >"li".  I know I've heard this several times recently,
> >but specific names escape me.
>and Ron Butters adds
> >and we all know how this famous painter-of-lovely-long-necked-women is
> >usually rendered.
> >dig?
>One additional piece of evidence for this shift is the tendency to truncate
>-gli- names (at least the ones that don't have Modigliani's extra
>long-necked unstressed syllable onset) as -gs, at least in sports lingo.
>Pagliarulo (a former major-league catcher) --> Pags
>Gagliano (there were at least two I recall) --> Gags
>The commissioner of the National Football League, Paul Tagliabue, is never
>"Tags", though (although he the -g- is velar).
>I may also have heard the singular version of such truncations (-Vg). In
>fact now that I think of it there's a restaurant somewhere (L.A.?) whose
>name always struck me as ill-chosen:  Gags Jr.  Taboo-avoidance avoidance
>aside, I wonder whether the actual (original) proprietor wasn't someone
>named Gagliano or Gagliardi or something along those lines.

Interestingly, we have a University colleague named Gagliano who doesn't
use a velar /g/, but since no one can manage the correct [galjano] he''s
generally called just [galiano].  I use the Giglioli collection of old
classics for Soclx (like almost all of you, I suspect), and when I had
three Italian grad students in three successive years I finally learned how
to pronounce the editor's name: [Zhiljo:li]--not that I always manage it

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