Contraction in comparatives

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 21 03:10:55 UTC 2006

As Tony Joe White put it, iss summuh yawl ain' bin  down South too
much. That particular pronunciation of ""barrel" is so widespread
that, as a child, I couldn't distinguish "barrow" [bae@] from
"barrel," since both /r/ and /l/ could be dropped before consonants
and word-finally. Indeed, there's an old R&B tune in which
"table" [teb@] is hypercorrected to "taber" [teb at r]. For many years, I
thought that a wheel_barrow_ was a wheel_barrel_, invented by someone
who had cut a barrel in half longitudinally and then attached a wheel
and a couple of hoe handles to it.
"Brilliant!" as they say in that Heiniken commercial.


On 6/20/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Contraction in comparatives
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 8:27 AM -0400 6/20/06, Mark A. Mandel wrote:
> >Ed Keer <edkeer at YAHOO.COM> asks about
> >
> >   1. ??:  This pistol is as long as I'm tall.
> >   2. OK:  This pistol is as long as I am tall.
> >
> >in puzzling over his judgement on
> >
> >   3. I'm gonna buy me a pistol just as long as I'm tall.
> >
> >from the Everly Brother's version of 'T for Texas'.
> >
> OK, I've checked both Jimmie Rodgers (the version on "The Best of the
> Legendary Jimmie Rodgers", a 1965 RCA record, and Dwight Yoakum (on a
> very nice tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers from a 1997 CD).  They
> agree in delivering the line as indicated above, with "pistol"
> (contra my claim yesterday, he did evidently have a very long pistol
> in mind, or else he was very short) and with a clear contraction.
> The shotgun I was recalling comes from a *later* verse in the same
> song that includes a remarkable rhyme:
> I'm gonna buy me a shotgun
> With a great long shiny barrel [approximately = /bael/]
> I'm gonna shoot that rounder
> That stole away my gal.
> Oh, and it was Blue Yodel #1 ("T for Texas").
> Larry
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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