A nursery rhyme

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Jul 21 00:41:31 UTC 2004

On Jul 20, 2004, at 4:37 PM, Beverly Flanigan wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIOU.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: A nursery rhyme
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> 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)
>> Bethany
> 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.

I, of course, say "forrid." However, on the other hand, who on earth
says, or even writes, "You ought better (to) do it," nowadays? And,
FWIW, in BE, The past of "You/you'd/you had/ better do it" is "You
better had done it."

-Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list