A nursery rhyme

Barbara Need nee1 at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Tue Jul 20 21:38:31 UTC 2004

>At 04:12 PM 7/20/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>>On Tue, 20 Jul 2004, Barbara Need wrote:
>>>>There was a little girl
>>>>And she had a little curl
>>>>Right in the middle of her forehead.
>>>>When she was good, she was very, very good.
>>>>But when she was bad, she was horehead?/hoarhead?/whorehead? ...?
>>>>-Wilson Gray
>>>Except that forehead "should" be (used to be) pronounced something
>>>like forid (and therefore rhymed with horrid).
>><Should be?> No - IS. I have always pronounced forehead to rhyme
>>w/horrid. (se TX, AR, MO, LA, London, TX, TN)

Not normally in my speech (OH, MA, PA, WI, Chicago, SD, Chicago)

>Not me.  I've always said fore-head (MN, MO, IN, OH).  But I'm reminded of
>Bloomfield's article on "Literate and Illiterate Speech" (Dale Coye
>reminded me of it too), where he writes, on the last page, "Similarly,
>'forrid' is preferred to the logically more explicable 'fore-head'."  This
>is in the context of "preferring" 'You had better do it' over 'You ought
>better (to) do it', "although the latter [ought better] accords with the
>general forms of our syntax."  He also says "'I dove' is not so good as 'I
>dived', 'I ain't' not so good as 'I'm not'" in terms of
>acceptability.  He's acknowledging the vagaries of "preference," of course,
>in the context of "good and bad" Menomini.  But when my students read this,
>they're always puzzled by 'forrid'--who on earth says that, they ask.

Actually, I'm not sure how I learned the poem (though I certainly
learned it, being a little girl with a curl and a temper), but I do
remember learning that _forehead_ and _horrid_ rhymed and it
surprised me.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list