Border States and South-Midlandisms

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Oct 12 00:47:33 UTC 2002

At 1:27 PM -0500 10/11/02, Gordon, Matthew J. wrote:
>Larry's post reminded me of an article on saw recently in, I think,
>Missouri Historical Revew about Dizzy Dean's broadcasting career
>after his playing days. Apparently, there was a campaign organized
>by St. Louis schoolteachers to ban Dean from the air b/c he was seen
>as a corrupting influence on young people's language. He was not
>allowed to broadcast a Cardinals World Series b/c the commissioner
>thought his usage was not presentable for a national audience. He
>was a native of Arkansas, the son of a sharecropper if memory serves.
All true.  (Actually I don't know one way or the other about Arkansas
and sharecropping, but it seems to fit.)

Curiously, though, McCarver's normal reputation and enemies list are
diametrically opposed to those of Ol' Diz.  While Dizzy Dean (who was
of course even more of a Cardinals' hero on the field iin the 30's
than McCarver was in the 60's) was beloved for his down-home humor
and "fractured English", complete with all sorts of irregular
preterits and participles (e.g. slid, slud, slud) and irregular verb
agreement, McCarver is perceived as being a pompous, know-it-all,
egg-head type who is always being much too informative with his
analysis.  The fun-poking at his pronunciation (at least on
the-A-ter) is thus very much at odds with his image of
over-intellectualizing the game.   As far as I know he never uses
non-standard grammar (not counting phonology).


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