Grammar Girl's "needs done" survey
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 7 18:12:13 UTC 2011
On Sep 7, 2011, at 1:56 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>> On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>>> with folksy dropped g
>> You mean "with the standard dropped g of Black English, Southern
>> English, Southwestern English, Western English, etc.," of course.
>> When you make a point of describing Obama's speech as "folksy," here,
>> you make it appear that you think that his use of "dropped g" is
>> unnatural or artificial, that he's merely faking it in order to appear
>> down with the common people or some such thing.
>> OTOH, if you had written "with gutless dropped g," implying an effort
>> on Obama's part not to appear to be too erudite, hence too uppity or
>> too biggity, lest he annoy any Republicans who may have condescended
>> to concern themselves with what he had to say, well, naturally, I'd
>> gladly cosign that.
> Didn't mean to imply that Obama's g-dropping was "unnatural" (I don't really
> know how "natural" it is for his idiolect), but it's certainly a feature that
> Obama, like many other politicians, varies for rhetorical effect (or for
> Goffmanian self-presentation, if you prefer). In the context of his Labor Day
> speech, it appears to be used as a way of forming solidarity with his audience
> and to "folksify" the subject matter, much as Mark Liberman described in his
> Language Log post, "Empathetic -in'":
On "faux-bubba" (as Mark calls it) or folksification beyond -in, there was Kerry's notorious personal dative in "Can I get me a hunting license here?" (widely but incorrectly reported as "Can I get me a huntin' license here?") during the final, fatal stages of the 2004 campaign. And then, beyond language, there was the patrician George H. W. Bush's professed fondness for pork rinds.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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