Fwd: phonological features; was What's in a Name? The Black Panthers in Israel

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 4 03:36:55 UTC 2008

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: phonological features; was What's in a Name? The Black
Panthers in Israel
To: Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com>

On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 8:45 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>Sorry, Mark. "Old age is creepin' up on me. I'm not like I used to be."
>> If I understand your question, I personally say:
>> "Is this your [yowr] hat? this hat is yours [yowrz]."
>> "You're [yuwr] the one."
>> But *lots* of other people, especially Northern-white speakers, to my
>> ear, say:
>> "Is this your [yuwr] hat? This hat is yours [yuwrz]."
>> "You're [yowr] the one."
>> I was caught completely off-guard by this mirror-image pronunciation,
>> when I first heard it used by my barracks-mates in the Army, and it
>> used to drive me bleeping NUTS!

>I pronounce "your(s)" and "you're" identically, so far as I can tell.

Do you mean that there's a third way?:

1) your(s) [yowr(z)]; you're [yuwr]

2) your(s) [yuwr(z)]; you're [yowr]

3) your(s) [yuwr(z); you're [yuwr] or your(s) [yowr(z)]; you're [yowr]

>> But I should have known that it existed. Else, why would comic-strip
>> hillbillies from places like "Dogpatch," Kentucky, be drawn as using,
>> e.g., "yore," instead of "your," unless the author-artist, Al Capp
>> (Alfred Gerald Caplin, of New Haven, CT), considered it to be
>> non-standardly typical of backwoods speech? And he wouldn't have
>> considered it to be hickishly non-standard, if he used it himself.

>Perhaps as eye dialect, like "vittles" for the (British) standard pronunciation of "victuals" when used by a lower->class or country character (e.g., Sam Weller).

Yes. But what I'm getting at is that I had no idea that "your(s)"
[yowr(s)] was considered "lower class or country" by some speakers.
>From my at-that-time inexperienced point of view, Al Capp's spelling
of "your(s)" as "yore(s)" in eye-dialect was completely mysterious,
since it implied that there were speakers who didn't use "yore(s)" as
the ordinary standard pronunciation and I didn't know of the existence
of any such speakers till I was in my twenties.

As coincidence would have it, the fellow GI, a native of Darien, CT,
who first caught my attention with his reversed vowelage in "your(s)"
and "you're" was the same person who was absolutely SHOCKED to hear a
good-ole-boy cook say, "Git _you_ a tray." As though there was
something unusual about the insertion of "you."


>Mark Mandel

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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