Jesse T Sheidlower
jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Apr 27 01:20:00 UTC 1999
> "Eye dialect" is used in wrting, usually fiction, by an author who wants to
> show by his/her spelling how the speaker supposedly sounds. For example,
> in the first chapter of Zora Neale Hurston's novel "Their Eyes Were
> Watching God," the following exchange occurs:
> "Humph! Y'all let her worry yuh. You ain't like me. Ah ain't got her to
> study 'bout.
> If she ain't got manners enough to stop and let folks know how she been
> out, let her g'wan!"
> Hurston's characters are uneducated, rural African Americans, and she uses
> "eye dialect" to suggest how they would actually sound.
I believe that what Virginia is describing here is actually
"pronunciation spelling," or the use of variant spellings to
represent nonstandard pronunciations.
"Eye dialect" refers to nonstandard spellings used to indicate
_standard_ pronunciations, where only the spelling (but not the
pronunciations thus represented) indicates that the speakers
are uneducated or speak nonstandard dialects. Examples are _uv_
for "of"; _enuff_ for "enough"; or _wimmin_ for "women." In
each case these spellings reflect the usual pronunciation.
<jester at panix.com>
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