George Washeengton's Spich empeedeemint

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Feb 22 21:01:37 UTC 2008

Although the pin-pen merger appears to be old (as is also perhaps the
[ej] in "bring"), there is little evidence that the major features of
the Southern Vowel Shift would have been in place at Washington's
time. That said, Ron's sarcasm is well-put. Even my grampaw (the
hillbilly one, not the Hungarian) had many of my speech impediments.


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>Subject:      George Washeengton's Spich empeedeemint
>Probably he could not even say his own name properly or even pronounce the
>condition that afflicted him; doubtless also he said "pin" for "pen" and
>"breeng" for "bring." All people from Virginia have speech
>"impediments," and the
>natives have had them for centuries.
>In a message dated 2/22/08 10:13:19 AM, AAllan at AOL.COM writes:
>>  In the Writer's Almanac this morning, Garrison Keillor said that George
>>  Washington had a speech impediment. In particular, he mixed i's and e's,
>>  both in
>>  speaking and in writing.
>>  I hadn't heard about this before. Anyone know about it?
>>  - Allan Metcalf
>Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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