-og words

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Wed Jun 19 15:19:29 UTC 2002

        [Mark M]
#>I have picked up an occasional "caught" pronunciation of "frog", which
#>as far as I can tell I use only in songs and rhymes where it rhymes with
#>"dog" and in what might be broadly called "dialect" in telling jokes and

#Broadly indeed. I always narrowly define dialect speakers as those
#who conflate this opposition, thereby revealing a sloppiness of
#thought and mind (just like some others have accused /E/-/I/
#conflaters, although they conflate this pair only before nasals). I
#won't even discuss the obvious laziness and attendant moral depravity
#of "horse"-"hoarse" conflaters.

I meant "dialect" as in "dialect joke"; you *did* understand that,
didn't you? The goal in this register is not to provide dialectological
information but to characterize the character speaking in some way that
will be apparent to the audience. This often involves making a
distinction that the audience makes and the character would merge, in
such a way that the audience perceives the character's phonetic
production as representing the "wrong" member of their phonological
opposition. One classic example in popular perception is the "reversal"
of "er" and "oi" in some NYC and other accents.

-- Mark A. Mandel
   Linguist at Large

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