The Last "Mohican"?

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Wed Aug 10 18:40:55 UTC 2005

I was afraid of that my making such a distinction was one the cases in
which a dialect preserves a feature lost from the standard language.
When I was younger, I knew (black) people who  pronounced "deaf" as
"deef," the same as the (white) Kentucky hill-country characters in the
comic strip, Li'l Abner. It had the virtue of keeping "deaf" [dif]
separate from "death" [dEf].

An On-Language article written while Safire was on vacation touched on
this, suggesting that the BE slang term, "def," was really only a
"phonetic" respelling of the "country" BE pronunciation of "death,"
ultimately extracted from such phrases as "cat be death [dEf] on mice"
and influenced by sE "def" from "definitely."

-Wilson Gray

On Aug 9, 2005, at 5:44 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: The Last "Mohican"?
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> Yes.
> JL
> Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Wilson Gray
> Subject: The Last "Mohican"?
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Am I the last person to maintain the distinction between "perfect
> passive participles" and adjectives derived therefrom? For example,
> I've heard tigers, zebras, crosswalks, and streets with painted
> lane-separations, etc., etc. all described as [straipt]. I make the
> following distinction: if an object has had stripes added to it, then
> it's [straipt]; if an object naturally has stripes, either of genetic
> origin or added as part of the manufacturing process, then it's
> [straipId]. Hence, roadways that have had crosswalks lane-separations,
> bike lanes, or other such-like stripings added to them are [straipt].
> But zebras, tigers, the shirts of athletic officials, etc. are
> [straipId].
> I also distinguish between "loved [l^vd] by" and "beloved [bIl^vId] of"
> and a few others, like "alleged."
> -Wilson
> ---------------------------------
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