[Ads-l] pronunciation of "onion"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 12 16:16:05 UTC 2014

The stage-Irish dialect of the 19th century song, "The Regular Army O!,"
seems to puns on "inions" and "Indians":

We wint to Arizona for to fight the Injians there,
We were nearly caught bald-headed, but they never got our hair.
We lay among the ditches in the dirty, yellow mud,
And we niver saw an inion - or a turnip or a spud.

The sudden appearance of "inion" is hard to explain otherwise.


On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM, Joan H. Hall <jdhall at wisc.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joan H. Hall" <jdhall at WISC.EDU>
> Subject:      pronunciation of "onion"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> DARE's first citation in the "Forms" section for "onion" is this:
> 1793 in 1794 Drayton Letters 58 Boston MA, They . . are taught to
> pronounce the word first in its proper way, and then to contrast it with
> the mode in which it is miscalled. . . Onions, [are called] Onions, [and
> not] Inions.
> That form  was common through the 19th century, and one DARE Informant
> from Georgia used it in 1966.
> Forms of the type "ingern" were even more common, and were collected as
> late as the LAGS fieldwork (published in the LAGS Tech. Index) in 1989.
> Joan
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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