[Ads-l] "Might as well," re-analyzed; dialect clash

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 3 02:42:13 UTC 2014

On Nov 2, 2014, at 8:53 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> A post to a Web page:
> "The show _minus well_ be called something different for every episode."

Believe it or not, there are cites for not only "minus well", but also "mine as well" and "my as well", all on the eggcorn database under  http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/index.php?s=minus+well&submit=Search

I'm not sure I'd call these official eggcorns, since the new form isn't easier to assign a meaning to than the original (as Ben Zimmer points out on the page); in fact I can't figure out what the speaker/writer has in mind in these cases, e.g. 

With all due respect, any team that doesn’t bring their A game to the national championship minus well forfeit.

well i guess i mine as well give up as this is looking hopeless.

you my as well set yourself up with a cathador then have to run to port-o-johns every 10 minutes…
[sic, sic]


> Since this is from the site, "Bl[ack-]Asian Narrative," I assume
> m[aI]t [@s] well > m[~a~I]t [@s] well > m[~a~In] [@s] well > [m~a~In at s]
> well,
> which is spelled "_minus_ well."
> The nasalization of vowels after nasals is one of the many peculiarities of
> BE that I've had to disabuse myself of, in talking to white people.
> One time, in Los Angeles, my date asked me ("&" = aesc),
> "[Iz T&t &@.miIs]?"
> For those who've come in late, the black bourgeoisie - "boojies" - of L.A.
> use a version of BE that is *very* close to the local sE. So, what I heard
> was sE "Is that" followed by "standard" BE, including the required drawling
> melisma and breaking, "eye-a me-iss."
> "Is that 'eye-a mee-iss'?"
> I tried "air mist"? No. "Arrow miss(ed)"? No. "I/eye a-mist/-missed"?
> IAC, it turned out that she was rhetorically asking whether I was wearing
> Aramis, a popular men's cologne of that era.
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list