antedating "hobo" 1885

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue May 26 18:23:00 UTC 2009

At 12:10 PM -0400 5/26/09, Mark Mandel wrote:
>At 11:37 PM -0400 5/25/09, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>>Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>Does "boyo" rhyme with "yoyo"?
>>Hmm...For me, that's not <CoCo> but <C [diphthong]o>
>Sorry; I've been using angle brackets for written forms. <CoCo> means
>a word written as any consonant letter + "o" + a consonant letter +
>"o", and I'm looking from the perspective of a reader of the cite.

Well, technically, I would argue that in <boyo>, the <y> is not a
"consonant letter", but a vowel letter, which is why I invoked the
diphthonginess factor.  (Weren't we always taught that the vowels are
"a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y"?  And isn't this one of those times?
Or is that just for "cycle", "by", and such?)  So if the boyo is
wearing a diphthong, he's got only one consonant letter to his name.


>So far in this thread we've mentioned the following <CoCo> words. (I
>haven't seen Randy's spreadsheet yet.) All have final /Ow/. The first
>two sets are mutually exclusive, as are the second two, but neither
>group is exhaustive; "homo" < "homosexual" is listed in both.
>* first vowel / Ow /
>  - hobo
>  - yoyo (ideophonic reduplication); also <yo-yo>; similarly <so-so>
>and probably any other hyphenated word
>  - Homo (as in "Homo sapiens", "genus Homo", etc.)?  (OED: also / a Ow / )
>  - homo (clipping of "homosexual")
>* first vowel / O /
>  - toro (effect of _r)
>  - boyo / OI /? ?  (boy + /Ow/)
>* clipping pronounced as in full word
>  - mono / a / [US]?  /turned-a/ [UK]
>  - homo (clipping of "homosexual")
>* written abbreviation, pronounced as in normal spelling
>  - boro
>  - folo
>Two questions (at least) present themselves:
>1. Which of the above words would be relevant to the readers of the 1885 cite?
>2. How would they tend to pronounce an unfamiliar <CoCo> sequence?
>m a m
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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