Dennis R. Preston
preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jun 19 15:52:02 UTC 2002
Of course I understood; I was just pointing out the socio-regional
provenience of most of those who are the butts of such jokes (and how
incredulous those who are not are when they are told their speech is
somehow not "perfect" - crap I put up with in Michigan, the
locally-attested center of correct US English, every day).
You *did* understand what I was doing too didn't you?
#>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
Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
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