a request

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Dec 19 22:48:12 UTC 2006


You start quotin Richard Pryor, I'ma start quotin Redd Foxx.

You got to wash you ass.
-Redd Foxx


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject:      Re: a request
>Boy, why donchu go see you a ahfuh-donnis? Thass a dInIs, ya know.
>-Richard Pryor
>On 12/19/06, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>>  Subject:      Re: a request
>>  In my own dialect, I find it impossible to pronounce the entire
>>final cluster of the word "fifth"--much less "twelfth"; the /f/
>>  More to the point (as elaborated by Jonathan), I can't do "desks"
>>or "wasps" either; I probably just avoid using plurals in those
>>  What I do for the plural of "dentist" may be idiosyncratic, but
>>the plural tends to be (yes!) /dInIs/, as if omitting the /-t/
>>makes it sound more plural.
>>  --Charlie
>>  ____________________________________________
>>  ---- Original message ----
>>  >Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 06:24:16 -0800
>>  >From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>>  >Subject: Re: a request
>>  >Amy, both things are happening. The dropping of the orthographic
>>"d" results in a nonstandard written form.
>>  >
>>  >  I too was in college before I was completely sure that there
>>was a "d" in "used to." Not only is it almost impossible to hear -
>>and not often articulated, at that; but in my English, there's
>>  >  / s / in "used to" (as there is in the noun "use") but / z / in
>>other kinds of "used."
>>  >
>>  >  The confusion you ask about seems like a long established
>>phenomenon to me.
>>  >
>>  >  More surprising to me when I started teaching freshman comp was
>>the translation of reduced final consonant clusters in speech into
>>systematically misspelled plurals.
>>  >  I've had a number of students who insisted that the plural of
>>nouns ending in -st was spelled -st, e.g., dentist/ dentist, list/
>>list, arrest/ arrest, etc.  At first I couldn't believe they
>>thought this. But when I asked them to pronounce singulars and
>>plurals they came out identically.
>>  >
>>  >  The problem was easy for them to fix - in writing. They just
>>memorized the rule. But many of them seemed to think the rule was
>>weird and unwarranted. And of course, they kept right on reducing
>>the clusters in speech.
>>  >
>>  >  That was thirty years ago.
>>  >
>>  >  JL
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>-Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

It should be the chief aim of a university professor to exhibit
himself in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man [sic]
thinking, actively utilizing his small share of knowledge. Alfred
North Whitehead

There are many different religions in this world, but if you look at
them carefully, you'll see that they all have one thing in common:
They were invented by a giant, superintelligent slug named Dennis.
Homer Simpson

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15-C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
Phone: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755
preston at msu.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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