What do pros do ...?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Apr 17 19:18:13 UTC 2008

Did he call the wind "Muh rye uh"?


Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: What do pros do ...?

When they find different pronunciations in, for all practical
purposed, exactly the same dialectological environment? For example:

I have a cousin named "Marie," who is the niece of my grandparents. My
grandfather, a native of Marshall, Texas, pronounced this name as
you'd expect: "muh REE" [m@ 'ri]. However, my grandmother, a native of
Longview, Texas, who moved to Marshall about five years after marrying
my grandfather, always referred to Marie as "muh RYE" [m@ 'raI]. If
you stand on your tiptoes, you can see Longview from Marshall. (The
term, "mother tongue" having a basis in reality, my brother and I knew
Marie as "cudn muh RYE," ignoring our grandfather's pronunciation.)

Another example is the pronunciation of the late, great bluesman,
Floyd Dixon, whose only recorded compilation is entitled, "Marshall,
Texas, Is My Home." In his most famous work, "Dallas Blues, he
pronounces Dallas only as [dae at l@s], close to the sE pronunciation.
Yet, the Marshall - and probably general Deep-Southern - pronunciation
of Dallas is [daeLIs], with the second syllable sounding the same as
the first syllable of "listen" ['LIs n] as though the name of the city
were spelled "Dall_i_s."

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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