Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jun 6 13:38:13 UTC 2001

At 7:57 PM -0400 6/6/01, James A. Landau wrote:
>In a message dated 06/06/2001 4:10:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>melonayse at  asks (via AAllan at AOL.COM):
>>  >>I was wondering if you could help me find some information on the origin
>>   and use of the word "knowumsayin'." Do you know where I might begin?
>>   Sincerely,
>>   Ken Gordon
>>   melonayse at<<
>In spoken English, many common words and expressions get chopped down until
>there are just enough phonemes to keep them recognizable.  Note that this is
>happening to COMMON expressions that can be easily recognized from context.
>know what I'm saying --> knowumsayin'  (the conversion of the final /ng/ to
>/n/ is a different process)
>give me ---> gimme
>don't you want to --> doncha wanna
>want-to-be --> wannabe (not to be confused with the Lenape, whom the white
>man persists in calling the "Delaware")
>Louisville (KY) --> Louavul (two and a half syllables)
>New Albany (IN) (across the river from Louavul) is allegedly referred to as
>"Nawbny" although that pronunciation, if it indeed exists, has not crossed
>the Ohio into Kentucky
>The classic example, which may even be datable, is of course the song
>"Mairzy Doats"
another locus classicus is the exchange

"Jeet jet?"
"No, jew?"

Woody Allen had a nice riff (in Annie Hall?  Manhattan?)  on all the
anti-Semitism he was always encountering around town--everyone saying
"No jew".


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