Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 20 02:26:03 UTC 2005

On 12/19/05, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC <Bill.Mullins at us.army.mil> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
> Subject:      "elite"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I was watching the Clint Eastwood movie "Heartbreak Ridge" the other =
> night.  In it, Moses Gunn's character (a black actor) says =
> (paraphrasing, slightly):  "Me and Major Powers are building a team of =
> elite fighting men."
> He pronounced elite as EE-LIGHT, rather than EE-LEET, which is how I say =
> the word.   The only other time I've ever heard it said that way was =
> when I was talking to a Negro Leagues baseball player, and I mentioned I =
> was from Nashville, and he said that the "Elite Giants" were there for a =
> time.
> So, is the EE-LIGHT pronounciation peculiar to AAVE?

Probably not. The occurrence of "'elite" is too rare in ordinary BE speech -
or anybody else's, for that matter - to enable one to say that "elight" is
*typical* of BE. More likely, "elight" is peculiar only to the people who
pronounce it that way, among whose number this correspondent was once
counted when he was in elementary school, till his mother straightened him

Do you remember "Duffy's Tavern, 'Where The Elite Meet To Eat.' Duffy ain't
here. Archie the manager speakin"?
-Wilson Gray

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