[Ads-l] maters and toms

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 3 13:09:53 UTC 2015


When I arrived in East Tennessee in 1974, "maters" was (and still is) at
least as common as "taters."

Neither was in use in NYC.

JL

On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 2:16 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: maters and toms
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 2:01 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> >
> > On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 12:46 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > >
> > > On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 12:32 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> > >
> > >> Mater is new to me.
> > >
> > > Not to me. But, "tom" is.
> > >
> > > Youneverknow.
> >
> > Some may know "Mater" as the name of the car voiced by Larry the Cable
> > Guy in the "Cars" movies.
> >
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mater_(Cars)
> >
> > The car's name and personality were inspired by a NASCAR enthusiast
> > named Douglas "Mater" Keever.
> >
> > http://www.ew.com/article/2006/06/19/cars-man-who-inspired-mater
> > "Cars director John Lasseter first met Keever at the Lowe's Speedway
> > in 2001, while on a fact-finding research trip... When Lasseter first
> > walked up to him, Keever offered a brewski and introduced himself the
> > way he always does to new folks in his life: 'My name's Mater,' he
> > said. Mater? asked Lasseter. 'Yeah, like tuh-mater, but without the
> > tuh.' (Does that exchange sound familiar? It should -- it's exactly
> > the way Mater the tow truck introduces himself to the Lightning
> > McQueen character in Cars.) Keever got the nickname as a kid, chucking
> > 'tuh-maters' around a farm run by his mom's parents."
>
> Under the entry for "tomato," DARE lists several aphetic variants from
> the South and South Midland, including: "martis", "mat(t)er",
> "mat(t)is", "mata", "mato", and "mortas". Citations go back to 1895 in
> Dialect Notes, but this one may be of special interest, from Walt
> Wolfram and Donna Christian's "Appalachian Speech":
>
> 1976 Wolfram-Christian Appalachian Speech 51, 'Taters for potatoes and
> 'maters for tomatoes can certainly be considered to be stereotypes,
> and they are sometimes the topic of comment. . . In fact, one of the
> informants in our sample responded . . as follows: Fieldworker: What
> are some of the things people grow here in their gardens? Informant:
> Oh, potatoes and tomatoes--or did you want me to say 'maters and
> 'taters?
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=-4N6AAAAIAAJ&q=maters
>
> --bgz
>
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> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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