Haverhill and tonic

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 20 19:18:15 UTC 2009

Here's another:

The first day that I worked as circ supervisor at Widener, my student
assistants were a mixture of locals and Harvard students from the
States and about any other place in the world that you can think of.
IAC, I answered the phone and someone asked to speak to Kevin Tanney.
After the poor guy had called back several times, a local overheard my
end of the conversation, got my attention, and said, "That's Kevin
Tanney right there!"

Instead of asking around, I had merely scanned the list of names of
the assistants, interpreting them according to my own internal

It turned out that I had read Kevin Tierney's name on the list, but I
had no idea, at the time, that, locally, "Tierney" [tirni] is
pronounced, for all practical purposes, as [tI&ni], which I hear as

At that time, my head student assistant was Andrew Garrett. Those
active in the field of linguistics may be familiar with his name.


On Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 10:09 AM, Joel S. Berson<Berson at att.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: Haverhill and tonic
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 7/20/2009 12:37 AM, Your Name wrote:
>>In a message dated 7/20/2009 12:00:46 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
>>my  friend who uses "tonic" for soda / pop / soda pop / soda
>>water, etc., is  from Haverhill [hEIvr at l] and not from the city.
> Residents of the City of Haverhill would be offended. Â Now if Wilson
> had written "not from the big city" ...
>>FWIW, my grandmother, a city-of-Boston native, always called it tonic as
>>well.    How old is your friend?  Maybe the difference is  generational
>>rather than geographical.
> When I came to the gown city (Cambridge) in the mid-50s, I was told
> to say "tonic" -- and "frappe". Â And some locals did.
> Joel
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