Minstrel's Dialect

Duane Campbell dcamp911 at JUNO.COM
Tue Nov 11 02:59:48 UTC 2003

On Mon, 10 Nov 2003 18:44:35 EST Dale Coye <Dalecoye at AOL.COM> writes:
> You write: For example: How did they pronounce the word "de" as in
> "De
> Camptown Ladies
> sing dis song, doo-dah! doo-dah!" Was it with a long or a short
> "e"?
> If you mean by long e, the sound of bee, and by short e the sound of
> bet, it
> was most likely neither--it's the same "e" as in "the"-- a schwa.

I live in the small town where Stephen Foster went to school, and
Camptown, of racing fame, is a village just down the road. More
important, though, this rural, white community had an annual blackface
minstral at the local theater well into the 1950s. It was the biggest
entertainment event of the year. At least the biggest public
entertainment. And I distinctly remember that de Camptown Races was
always pronounced with a long "e". Whether that's the way it was in other
places and earlier times I can't say.


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