Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 12 19:13:32 UTC 2011

At 9:10 AM -0500 1/11/11, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
>"sammiches" is pretty much just normal Sandhi reduction: /ndw/ ==>
>/?w/ ==> /m/ (with the nasalization preserved from the /n/). Compare
>"grandmother" ==> "gramma". This was not caused by JL's arrival in
>Knoxville in 1974.
>"maters" and (especially) "taters" are well-known dialect variants
>that are the result of the commonplace process known as "clipping" +
>a well-known alternative for word-final schwa. "nanners" (presumably
>from "banana") exhibits the same process.
>If people use the forms emphatically/consciously, it just means that
>they have become consciously aware of the sandhi-reduction form and
>are jovially mimicking it.

As an illustration of a standard fallacy in lexical perceptual
dialectology, consider the refrigerator magnets of "Pittsburghese"
available for purchase (successfully in my case) at the souvenir
shops around Market Square not far from the Wyndham Hotel, site of
last weekend's ADS and LSA meetings.  Some of you attended Barbara
Johnstone's plenary talk at the LSA on the local dialect and its
history; she illustrated the dialect in slides listing certain
syntactic and lexical features characteristic of the city's speech,
several of which are indeed included on the magnet:

redd up
gumbans (cf. "gumbands")

In addition, the magnet includes these expressions Johnstone didn't
mention that seem (judging from other evidence) to count as
shibboleths of Pittsburghese (along with "yinz", "gumbands", and of
course "needs washed", not featured on the magnet):

jag off

But also certain expressions associated with a rather wider area of
usage than their inclusion as "Pittsburghese" would suggest, e.g.
"warsh up" and "pop", and others that refer to characteristic
pronunciations of local sites--not "dahntahn", curiously, but
"Souside", "The Strip", and I'm guessing "Sliberty".  And "Da'Burg"
itself, for the city.  But two items really stand out on the magnet,
for the reasons Ron alludes to:

Jeet Yet?    (Cf. Woody Allen's non-Pittsburgh exchange--"Jeet jet? "No Jew?!")


The American Dialect Society -

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