the thin line between error and mere variation II

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Jun 30 02:55:58 UTC 2004

Here's a case that may not be strictly germane to this discussion, but
others may find it interesting, regardless.

There are people who, in their unmonitored speech, always mispronounce a
given (class of) word. However, when this mispronunciation is called to
their attention, they deny that said mispronunciation is part of their
idiolect and "demonstrate" this by giving the word in question its
standard pronunciation. Then they go right back to their idiosyncratic
pronunciation. E.g.

A. I'm goin' up the skreek. You want anything?
B. Do you know that you always say "skreek" instead of "street"?
A. (Annoyed) What the hell are you talkin' about? I don't say "skreek"!
I say "street"!
B. Oh. Okay. My bad.
A. Like I said, I'm goin' up the skreek. You want anything?

-Wilson  Gray

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