"old wise tale"/"old wives tell"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 18 04:47:33 UTC 2014

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com> wrote:

> "Old wives tell" sounds like a Southern variety that laxes tense vowels
> before /l/.

Is there one? In BE, "tell" for "tale," like "hill" for "heel" is peculiar
to a few random hypercorrectors and not (stereo)typical at all of the rest
of us, among whom "tale" for "tell" and "tale" and "heel" for "hill" and
"heel" is, so to speak, the "standard," as it were.
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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