Question about Scottish

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Feb 18 18:29:07 UTC 2004

On Feb 18, 2004, at 9:38 AM, Beverly Flanigan wrote:

> At 10:03 AM 2/18/2004 -0500, you [mark mandel] wrote:
>> ...a bit of dialect transcription in, I think, one of Andrew Lang's
>> <Your Color's Name Here> Fairy Books. The story was a Jack tale, and
>> the
>> giant was Cornish iirc. In this one Jack does several (probably three)
>> stunts, using trickery or legerdemain to seem to be doing something
>> that
>> he really can't do, but that the huge, strong (and stupid) giant can,
>> or
>> thinks he can. Each time he dares the giant to match his deed, and the
>> giant says "Hur can do that!"  (In the last stunt Jack stabs himself
>> in
>> the stomach, where he has hidden something under his shirt to provide
>> blood, and of course the giant follows suit and kills himself.)
>> I thought "Hur? Her? Oh well, weird dialect item." But it's just (I
>> now
>> assume) r-less British English transcription for a schwa-like vowel...
> Interesting--kind of like Uh (= I) with prevocalic aspiration?  Like
> 'it'
> --> 'hit' in earlier English (and still not uncommon in Appalachian
> English)?

um, that arrow is pointing the wrong way.  "hit" was the older form
(with the initial h of "he" and "him").

arnold (zwicky at

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