accents & prescriptivism

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 19 08:29:34 UTC 2001

At 3:57 PM -0400 9/19/01, George Thompson wrote:
>We have had some discussion here lately about those who dislike the
>accents of others.  One's response to another's accent is not always an
>esthetic matter.
>This is from the [New York] Commercial Advertiser, July 28, 1830, p. 2,
>col. 5:
>A woman named Hagley, native of England residing in Hudson street, died
>on Saturday by taking Opium Pills, which were sent by a druggist who
>mistook the messenger's pronunciation of "opening".  He can scarcely be
>fit to send drugs.
No wonder they switched to written prescriptions (albeit famously in
illegible form).  But I wonder about those "Opening Pills" that were
evidently intended for poor Ms. Hagley.  Think of all those poor
people who were inadverently turned into opium addicts, when they
were just trying to be opened.


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