Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 10 01:51:01 UTC 2010

On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at wmich.edu> wrote:
> My grandmother (born 1879, NYC) used "DYE-van" interchangeably with davenport to designate the couch. Â My mom (b. 1904) used the word occasionally, but I've never heard anyone younger use it. Â My students laugh at me when I mention this.

Now that you mention it, Paul, I'm reminded that, down home in Texas,
some people - somebody possibly closely related to those whereof Jon's
grandmother spoke ;-) - used DYE-van or "davenport." *We*, OTOH, have
always used only "couch."

Day after tomorrow, my eldest living relative who actually grew up in
Marshall, TX - as opposed to just happening to have been born there -
turns 94. I've really got to try to find out why our family dialect
was so distinct from that of the local some-people, before it's too

Some weird form of snobbism, no doubt. I recall my grandmother mocking
a neighbor, Mr. Green, because he had greeted her with, "Hi Y'ALL?"
(nope, *not* an instance of _y'all_ used in the singular; by "y'all,"
he meant my grandmother as representing our household and not as an
individual) and not with "How ah YOU-all?" And I've never been under
the impression that "speedometer" is pronounced "SPEED-oh-meter' nor
did I ever co-sign the local pronunciation of "Catholic (Church)" as
"COW-flick (Choich)."

Just heard Jesse Jackson speaking of the three [ar at z]. Takes me back.
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.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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