I say "Lusitan-i-ay"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 14 16:47:14 UTC 2006

I think I'll switch to "Buffalo-Eye-Ay."  That could raise historical questions of irregular phonetic "shift" for future scholars ([o:::] > [ai 'ei:::] after [@l]).



Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
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Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: I say "Lusitan-i-ay"

At 7:42 AM -0800 12/14/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>But nobody ever accused Matthew Arnold (the "Lusitani-ay" guy of the
>original post) of being
>a nonstandard or eccentric rhymer.
> Also, Larry, shouldn't that be "Buffalo-oh-oh"? Anyway that's how
>I heard it.
> JL

Maybe so--I was probably thinking of the bit about how "The Ee-Rye-Ee
was risin'". "Buffalo-Eye-Ay" wouldn't represent the same
disingenuous orthographic pronunciation as "Ee-Rye-Ee" or
"Californ-Eye-Ay" anyway. "Ameri-Kay" is also frequent, especially
in a lot of Irish immigration songs.


> Laurence Horn wrote:
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>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Laurence Horn
>Subject: Re: I say "Lusitan-i-ay"
>>Unless "lackaday" and "Canada" were both pronounced with final /i/
>>or /I/, like "holiday" in some dialects and "Sunday" (etc.) in most?
>I think the Sunday rhyme--with [ey] (or, for Tom Z's benefit, "long
>a")--is far more likely; there are all those other songs with such
>pronunciations as "Lusitan-i-ay", "Californ-Eye-Ay", and even "Til we
>get to Buffalo-Eye-Ay", so "Cana-DAY" seems plausible enough as a
>kind of disingenuous musical orthographic pronunciation if not an
>actual one.
>>---- Original message ----
>>>Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 14:58:46 -0800
>>>From: Jonathan Lighter
>>>Subject: Re: I say "Lusitan-i-ay"
>>>Here's a nearly parallel case from the mid 18th C.
>>> Lucy Terry Prince (1730-1821) is known as "America's first black
>>>poet"; she was of the generation just preceding the better known
>>>Phyllis Wheatley (1753-84). Her only known poem, written when she
>>>was fifteen or sixteen (and praised by a recent critic for its
>>>"radical use of direct speech") memorializes the victims of an
>>>Indian raid near Deerfield, Mass., in 1746. It comprises four
>>>eight-line rhyming stanzas. The final stanza is as follows:
>>> And had not her petticoats stopped her,
>>> The awful creatures had not catched her,
>>> Nor tommy hawked her on the head,
>>> And left her on the ground for dead.
>>> Young Samuel Allen, Oh lackaday!
>>> Was taken and carried to Canada.
>>> Though "stopped / catched" (most likely /kaCt/) prevents the
>>>argument from being quite airtight, surely /e/ is the pronunciation
>>> JL
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