Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Wed Sep 10 17:34:01 UTC 2003

On Wed, 10 Sep 2003, Dennis R. Preston wrote:

#We did this before, but I remind y'all that these examples below
#cannot be eye-dialect (in the strict sense). "Eye-dialect" refers to
#spellings which do NOT reflect pronunciation, e.g., "sez" for "says."
#Nearly everyone says "sez," so the eye-dialect respelling is one
#which has nothing to do with phonetic reality; it is used to mark the
#speaker as boorish, nonstandard, ignorant, etc.... (I provided
#quantitative evidence for these evaluations in an article in AS some
#years ago (The Li'l Abner syndrome. American Speech 60,4:328-36).

Not to disagree with your intention, but with the way you've expressed
it: "sez" certainly does reflect pronunciation, and better than the
standard spelling "says" does -- i.e., hewing more closely to the
regularities of English spelling, in a way that a poorly educated native
speaker might produce. Would you say that THAT is what defines

-- Mark A. Mandel

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