Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Sep 9 11:25:26 UTC 2003

Although I have "long" (or geminate) /n/'s in both (in rapid speech,
in more careful speech, I have /dn/, with a strong coarticulated
nasal component on the /d/). Eventually a (near?) total assimilation
process takes whatever is left of the homorgancally produced /d/ and
merges it with the /n/.

This is not as class-bound as one would think in much of the Upper or
Low- and Highland Appalachian South, though it appears to be a bit
more stratified in Costal Southerns.

What leaps out at me is the obviously incorrect pronunciation of
"isn't," "wasn't," and "doesn't" without a /d/ (or "long" /n/). Heard
it, used at all my life; so did everybody around me for miles and
miles (and miles). Surprised D ain't come acrost it before.


An affectation in any movie David Mamet directs is that he has his
characters say "in it" for "isn't it" and "done it" for "doesn't it." He
does this regardless of a character's class or ethnicity of background.
Outside of a Mamet movie I have never heard any group use this, which is
why it leaps out at me in the films. Is this a usage peculiar to any
particular dialect?


Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic,
      Asian & African Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027
e-mail: preston at
phone: (517) 432-3099

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