"Alice=?utf-8?Q?=E2=80=99s_?=Adventures in an Appalachian Wonderland" published by Evertype

Michael Everson everson at EVERTYPE.COM
Mon Oct 29 12:46:30 UTC 2012

Re-sending this with UTF-8 specifically selected as the encoding in Apple Mail.

Evertype would like to announce the publication of Byron W. Sewell and Victoria J. Sewell’s translation—or perhaps transposition—"Alice's Adventures in an Appalachian Wonderland" which is written in the rich Appalachian dialect of West Virginia. The book is fully illustrated by Byron in the style of John Tenniel's classic illustrations. A page with links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk is available at http://www.evertype.com/books/alice-en-appal.html . Bookstores can order copies at a discount from the publisher.

>From the front matter:

On Dialect Orthography

Publishing text in an unstandardized orthography is a challenge. A balance must be found between faithful­ness to the sounds of the dialect and legibility to an audience who reads the standard language. Engish dialect spellings are nothing new, of course: from Robert Louis Stevenson’s representation of Scots in Kidnapped to Mark Twain’s repre­sentation of Missouri dialect in Adventures of Huckle­berry Finn various approaches have been taken. Often these approaches make use of what is known as “the apologetic apostrophe” to mark letters from the standard language which have been “dropped”.

Such spellings tend to create a distracting visual clutter; this was recognized in the 1947 Scots Style Sheet and the 1985 Recommendations for Writers in Scots, both of which discourage the apologetic apostrophe while retaining it for ordinary purposes. Many of these recommendations apply easily to the linguistic features of Appalachian English, and have been followed in the text used in this book.

Since the reader may appreciate a summary of the ortho­graphic conventions used here for the Appalachian dialect, a list is given below.

• Words ending in -ing have been spelled as -in; participles in -en have been retained: writin ‘writing’, written ‘written’; nothin ‘nothing’.

• The final apostrophe is not used: an ‘and’ is used instead of an’; em ‘them’ is used instead of ’em; o ‘of’ is used instead of o’; wi ‘with’ is used instead of wi’.

• Before a vowel o is written of: one of em ‘one of them’.

• The reduced vowel in to is written as te rather than as t’; when stressed the word is written to, as in I don’t have te wear shoes in the summer iffen I don’t want to.

• Both hit and it ‘it’ are found, with the latter being more common, and used in unstressed positions.

• Initial syllables of other kinds when dropped are simply dropped: member ‘remember’, spectin ‘expecting’.

• Medial letters when dropped are not indicated with the “apologetic apostrophe”: lil ‘little’ (not li’l); agin ‘again; against’ (not ag’in).

• Final clusters in -l- are reduced: sef ‘self’, hep ‘help’.

• Final clusters in -t are treated variously: -pt is normally kept, while -ct is usually reduced to -ck: cept ‘except’, fack ‘fact’. Although -st is often pronounced -ss, orthographic -st is still written for clarity: most [moÊ s].

• Final clusters in -nd are treated in a number of ways. In most words where the -d is dropped entirely, it is written -nn: lann ‘land’, lannin ‘landing’, stann ‘stand’, stannin ‘standing’, but under ‘under’. In words where the -d is elided in final position but returns when a suffix is added, it is written -nd: find [fɑːn], findin [ˈfɑːndin].

• Contractions of the negative particle are treated in two ways. In monosyllables which end in a glottal stop, n’t is written: ain’t [eɪnÊ”], cain’t [keɪnÊ”], don’t [doÊ nÊ”], won’t [woÊ nÊ”]; in polysyllables the syllabic nasal is written ’n: did’n [dɪdn]~[dɪtn], had’n [hædn]~[hætn], would’n [wÊ dn]~[wÊ tn].

• The participial a- is prefixed with a hyphen to gerunds: a-readin ‘reading’, a-wearin ‘wearing’.

• Reduced unstressed “have” is written ’a: had’n’a ‘hadn’t’ve’, I’d’a ‘I’d’ve’, would’a ‘would’ve’, you’d’a ‘you’d’ve’.

• The word “Indian” has been respelt using the traditional form Injun (also used in Twain) because this reflects a normal phonetic development of [ˈɪndiən] to [ˈɪndʒən]; compare Arcadian [ɑɹˈkeɪdiən] and Cajun [ˈkeɪdʒən].

The intent here was to normalize towards a literary ortho­graphy, rather than towards a phonemic respelling of the language entirely; such a respelling would doubtless be filled with unnecessary “eye-dialect” (funkshun instead of function, and so forth). I would be interested to receive comment from readers regarding the suitability of this orthography for representing Appalachian dialect. Inevitably in such a venture there will be inconsistencies, of course. I trust these will not distract readers from their enjoyment of Byron and Victoria’s splendid re-telling.

Michael Everson
Westport, October 2012

Michael Everson
Evertype, http://alice-in-wonderland-books.com

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

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