Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 21 13:54:45 UTC 2005

I never make my students cry.  It's the other way round.


Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Re: Idea/ideal

On Jan 20, 2005, at 9:57 PM, Beverly Flanigan wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Beverly Flanigan
> Subject: Re: Idea/ideal
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> At 09:40 PM 1/20/2005 -0500, you wrote:
>> On Jan 20, 2005, at 8:09 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>>> Poster: Jonathan Lighter
>>> Subject: Idea/ideal
>>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> --
>>> --------
>>> I've had several (mostly ill-educated) students who found it
>>> difficult
>>> or impossible to tell the difference between "idea" and "ideal."
>>> They'd spell both as "ideal" - none went the other way.
>>> Here's a good quote from
>>> 656aa361c3805b35/474af31e83cb3058?
>>> q=%22neat+ideal%22&_done=%2Fgroups%3Fq%3D%22neat+ideal%22%26start%3D1
>>> 0%
>>> 26scoring%3Dd%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26&_doneTitle=Back+to+Search&&d#474af
>>> 31
>>> e83cb3058 (2000)
>>> "John Adams said 'Hey, guys, let's write a Declaration of
>>> Independence.' 'Neat ideal,' said John Hancock."What's a Declaration
>>> of Independence?"
>>> Other examples as far back as 1991 are easily found by Googling "neat
>>> ideal." Other collocations would turn up more, I'm sure.
>>> The students I'm thinking of even *said* "ideal" for "idea." Anybody
>>> else notice this?
>>> JL
>> I haven't noticed this particular phenomenon. However, FWIW, I once
>> upon a time pronounced the word "cow" as "cowl." Then, one day, I
>> suddenly noticed the disconnect between the spelling of the word and
>> my
>> pronunciation thereof. Nobody ever said anything to me about my
>> mispronunciation, out of kindness or, perhaps, fear. As I've had
>> occasion to find out the hard way, some people don't take it lightly
>> when someone else presumes to "correct" their speech. It took me a
>> while to realize that a person doesn't speak a particular idiolect
>> because he's too stupid to know any better. Rather, he speaks that way
>> because, for him, that way of speaking is the right way to speak.
>> -Wilson
> Adding a "dark /l/ after a vowel and especially intervocalicly is
> common in
> the South Midland and, presumably, South. My southern Ohio students
> do it
> all the time. And it isn't a "mispronunciation"; it's simply a variant
> pronunciation; no one in the same region would "correct" you, since
> they
> very likely used it themselves. "Ill-educated" students are simply
> spelling the way they speak. I had a graduate student who spelled
> "drawing" as "drawling" until she was slapped down (literally, I
> think) by
> her teacher. She never got over it.

Now that you mention it, I can recall also saying "crawl" for "craw,"
etc. Are you familiar with "rules" such as the one that food that has
fallen onto floor can be eaten, if it's picked up within n-number of
seconds? In my family, we just picked up the food and ate it, ritually
commenting that "a little grit is good for your crawl." And, according
to Crystal et al., East Texas is in the South, WRT dialect. Your
student has my sympathy. When I was in grade school, Harvey suggested
that we follow Lee, surnamed Lanier, around the schoolyard, chanting,
"Lanier is a Frenchy name." It took only a couple of minutes of this to
reduce Lee to tears. And he wasn't a crybaby. If being teased by peers
can make a person cry, I can imagine what it must have felt like to be
put down by a teacher.


Do you Yahoo!?
 Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'

More information about the Ads-l mailing list