"Pop-pop" revisited

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sat Jun 5 22:11:44 UTC 2004

Some of these facts are clearly dialectal and have, I think, to do
with the phonetic status of /a/. For me it is a lax vowel and cannot
occupy open syllable position. For my Milwaukee wife it appears to be
a tense vowel and can. She speaks, for example, of a 'ma and pa
store' with the vowel of 'hot'; for me it must be a 'maw and paw
store' with the vowel of 'caught.' (Canadians, many New Englanders,
and all the west of the US who lack the caught-cot distinction are
clearly beyond the pale - or below the pale-bucket line - in this
That phonetic fact, however, does not preclude distinctive uses of
the forms themselves of course. For me, paw-paw and maw-maw (with the
caught vowel, if you know what I mean) were grandparents.


>>...I have never heard 'Papa/Papaw' used as a title for a grandfather
>>(come to that,
>>I don't think I've actually ever heard anyone use 'Papa' for a father,
>Both of my parents called their respective fathers "Papa."  Maybe it
>was a Yiddish thing?  My generation called my mother's father Grandpa
>and my father's father ZAYdee.

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

More information about the Ads-l mailing list