Heard on The Judges

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Mar 7 08:52:40 UTC 2008


Close but no cow pie; I have a different mora count (but the same
segments as your first - [kaeu]. But in "cowl" I have a two-mora [aU]
diphthong and a one-more lengthening of the final element ([U]). IN
"cow" I have a simple two-mora long or diphthongized rhyme.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Heard on The Judges
>My NJ dialect DOES distinguish between cow and cowl, but they are
>[kaeU] and [kAU] respectively, in rapid speech anyway.  In careful
>speech, I can prolong (and velarize) the [U] in the second one, or
>put the /l/ in.  Any others with this pattern?
>Paul Johnston
>On Mar 6, 2008, at 12:30 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      Heard on The Judges
>>  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>  ---------
>>  Fifty-year-old black, female plaintiff:
>>  "After we reached our 25th wedding anniversary, I wanted for us to
>>  renew our _vowels_ [vauw at z]."
>>  I think that this is an ordinary hypercorrection and not an eggcorn.
>>  The woman was clearly trying to speak "above her station," as it were,
>>  being in court and all, following the well-known pattern, /kul/ >
>>  [kuw at l], hence /vauz/ (generally indistinguishable from or even used
>>  in place of /vaulz/) > /vauw at lz/ > [vauw at z].
>>  As a child down in Texas, I didn't - or couldn't - distinguish between
>>  "cow" and "cowl," using "cowl" for "cow," until I learned to read,
>>  consequently becoming aware both of the spelling, "cow," and,
>>  eventually, of the existence of a separate word, "cowl." I don't know
>>  what you would call this - maybe just a simple mishearing - since, not
>>  knowing "cowl," at the time, I couldn't have "corrected" "cow" to it.
>>  Or it could be that I interpreted the singular of [kauz] as being
>>  [kawl]. Who knows?
>>  BTW, her husband didn't go for it, she said, so she threw herself a
>>  50th-birthday party, instead, thereby revealing her age.
>>  -Wilson
>>  --
>>  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
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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