Heard on The Judges: pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 9 14:31:47 UTC 2008

Three mid-twenty-ish black women from Iowa discussing an accident that
happened during a trip to Chicago. The owner of the car is suing the
driver, who had driven into an eighteen-wheeler.

Driver: "The accident happened because I wasn't familiar with the
route [rut], your honor. But she _BIN livin_ in Chicago."


"What happened was that the steering wheel wouldn't turn."

Judge Mathis: "Why didn't you step on the brakes, then?"

Driver: "I did step on the brakes, but I _broke_ too late!"

Passenger: "That's what happened, your honor. She _broke_ too late!"

["Brake" falling together with "break" is new to me. It may be only a
hapax uttered in the heat of the moment. But, you never know.]


Owner: "This is a text [tEk] message that she sent me, your honor,
saying that she was going to pay me the money."

[My WAG is that this is probably due to cluster reduction ([kstm] >
[km]) and the influence of "tech," i.e. "tekst message" > "teks'
message" > "tech's message" > "tech message."]

Judge Mathis: "_Otay_. 'Otay'?! Damn! Y'all got me talking crazy, too!"

[Some may recall that, in Eddie Murphy's SNL parody of Buckwheat, he
used the pronunciation, "otay." Perhaps that was lurking in the back
of the the judge's thinking cap.]

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list