rocks and stones

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Nov 19 11:09:50 UTC 2003

Hmmmm. I don't think my semantic split is idiosyncratic. Stones (in
general, not specialized uses like "precious stones") are smooth,
rounded, etc...; rocks are sharp, craggy, and uneven.


>At 2:12 PM -0500 11/18/03, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>>I've never heard that Eastern and urban people prefer 'stones' over
>>'rocks'.  What's bumpkin about rocks???
>That's why we effete types always, but always, order our single-malt
>scotch on the stones.   (Seriously, i was also going to say the Dolly
>Parton line was an allusion to the stones that people who live in
>glass houses shouldn't throw, but I was beaten to the catapult.)
>>At 07:45 AM 11/18/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>>>Never heard the song but my guess is that, rather than
>>>there being a cultural reason for the change, Dolly
>>>prefers the the sound of "stones" over "rocks".
>>>Certainly there must be an on-line discussion covering
>>>of every nuance of Dolly's life and music.
>>>--- Orin Hargraves <orinkh at CARR.ORG> wrote:
>>>>  Here's something that's been bugging me: Dolly
>>>>  Parton released a song in
>>>>  1980, "Shattered Image," with a recurring line,
>>>>  "shatter my image with the
>>>>  rocks you throw." It is recorded in a new version on
>>>>  her relatively recent
>>>>  (2002) album  "Halos and Horns," but the word
>>>>  "rocks" is systematically
>>>>  changed to "stones" throughout. What's that about?
>>>>  "Rocks" is certainly the
>>>>  word I would have chosen in the context, but
>>>>  somewhere along the line I got
>>>>  a notion that "stones" would be the choice for an E
>>>>  coast or urban speaker.
>>>>  She has always touted rather than tried to disguise
>>>>  her bumpkin origins, so
>>>>  I wonder what the vocab makeover was about. Any
>>>>  ideas or inside info?
>>>>  Orin Hargraves
>>>>  (at one time neither E coast nor urban)
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