Folk Awareness of Dialect

Drew Danielson drew.danielson at CMU.EDU
Mon Dec 4 20:36:21 UTC 2000

Beverly Flanigan wrote:

> What's "the phonetic value of the letter U"?  The 'au' digraph has been
> variously pronounced for a long, long time.

OK, I did put a :) after that statement... I don't expect that anyone
would read the pronunciation of that word as "Sta-oon-ton" or
anything...  I was merely remarking on the two very different uses of U
in the names of towns with close regional proximity (the Anglicized "ue"
= /yu/ of the Spanish "ue" ~= /way/ diphthong in one case, and the
"silent" U in the other).

> consider gauntlet/gantlet.  Outsiders in our area regularly say the 'dumb
> hicks' here don't know how to pronounce their own town's name--which makes
> you wonder who's ignorant and who's not?

What I wonder about is everybody in PA who doesn't live in Latrobe calls
it "lah-TROBE", while people who are from there call it "LAY-trobe".
The people who live there should know best in this matter (but then, it
may be a case of shibboleths being shibboleths for a reason).  Everyone
in PA calls the town of DuBois "DU-boys", however.

> English's english-ing of foreign words from way back.  And what on earth is
> the 'Confederate Diaspora'?

Got me.  Maybe Mr. Ott can site a source for that.  CSA's Linguistics
and Language Behavior Abstracts search engine didn't know the term.

> number of French names.  This isn't just a Southern phenomenon by any means.

Nope, even the fancy-pants Californians are good at messing up their
Spanish pronunciations :)

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