either

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 11 21:15:52 UTC 2009


At 2:30 PM -0500 3/11/09, Jocelyn Limpert wrote:
>Oh, my -- I thought that it has disappeared into word "heaven" or "hell"
>years ago, whevever currently "dead" words or pronunciations go when they
>lose their life.
>
>It always sounded so pretenscious -- sort of like pronouncing "tomato" with
>the "ah" sound, as opposed to the long "a" sound.
>
>It for some reason reminds me of people trying to use "proper" speech, which
>is more often than not incorrect -- as in saying "between him and I" for
>"between him and me" -- that sort of thing.

Maybe it's a regional matter, but growing up in
New York I heard "eether" [iD at r] and "eyether"
[ayD at r] more or less interchangeably.  The latter
never struck me as particularly pretentious, and
I'm sure I use both pronunciations myself.
"Tomahto" is quite a different matter--British,
pretentious, or both.   (In the UK, "tomahto"
isn't at all pretentious, incidentally, it's just
the way it's pronounced.  And "potahto" only
exists within the song.)

It's fine if you think [ayD at r] sounds pretentious
to you, but you should bear in mind that speakers
of other varieties of the language aren't
necessarily using it in order to be pretentious
or to use proper speech; it's just the way
they/we talk.

LH

>
>
>On 3/11/09, Tom Zurinskas <truespel at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      either
>>
>>
>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>  Lately I've been hearing the word "either" pronounce EYE-ther on TV.  I
>>  would go for the long e EE-ther and always thought it predominated in US. Is
>>  someone teaching media folk a different lingo.
>>
>>
>>  Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
>>  see truespel.com
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>  ----------------------------------------
>>  > Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 14:24:53 -0400
>>  > From: bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
>>  > Subject: Re: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
>>  > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>  >
>>  > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  > Sender: American Dialect Society
>>  > Poster: Benjamin Zimmer
>>  > Subject: Re: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
>>  >
>>
>>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>  >
>>  > On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 1:52 PM, Herb Stahlke wrote:
>>  >>
>>  >> On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM, Baker, John wrote:
>>  >>>
>>  >>> I recently was surprised to hear my adult nephew and niece
>>  >>> pronounce "texted" with two syllables. I am forced to admit the logic
>>  >>> of that pronunciation, since I pronounce "text" and "texted" as
>>  >>> homophones, but it still sounds weird to me.
>>  >>
>>  >> I found your pronunciation of the past tense of "text" surprising.
>>  >> Morphologically you're treating "text" as a member of the cut/hurt
>>  >> class of weak verbs that are invariant in their principal parts. It
>>  >> would be the only such verb ending in a consonant cluster, although it
>>  >> does have the requisite final coronal.
>>  >
>>  > A commenter on the Visual Thesaurus website recently expressed
>>  > discomfort with "texted". Dennis Baron's Web of Language piece on the
>>  > anniversary of the telephone was reposted there, and a commenter
>>  > wrote:
>>  >
>>  > "On the other hand, the last sentence of your penultimate paragraph
>>  > may represent the first time I have seen 'texted' in print, and I am
>>  > not sure I have ever heard it used orally to express the past tense of
>>  > the verb 'text'. Though that construction may follow grammatical
>>  > convention, something about it sounds decidedly awkward, like a child
>>  > practicing the language and exploring the possibility that the past
>>  > tense of 'read' must be 'readed'."
>>  >
>>  > http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/dictionary/1768/
>>  > (subscription req'd)
>>  >
>>  >
>>  > --Ben Zimmer
>>  >
>  > > ------------------------------------------------------------
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>
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