Not quite, but quite close

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 10 14:39:43 UTC 2006

A quick search of the WPA Slave Narratives here:

  reveals 100 interviews featuring the spelling "gwine."  The interviews were carried out in most of the Southern states, but the majority of the "gwines" seem to be from South Carolina and Arkansas.

  Yeah, yeah, the spelling may have been influenced by literary stereotypes, but the continued exisence of [gwOin] as documented by Wilson (and maybe DARE - I haven't had a chance to look) strongly suggests that at least some of the former slaves really did say "gwine" or something like it.


Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Not quite, but quite close

A black woman on this morning's Springer:

"We _[gwOin]_ through the same thing."

This woman also pronounced the second syllable of "confuse" as though
it was the second syllable of French "confuse." I.e. she pronounced
[yu] as front rounded [ü] or as German umlaut "ue." I've also heard
many, many, many instances of [Cyu] > [Cru], e.g. [k at nfyuz] >
[k at nfruz], in BE.

This is quite interesting, given Portuguese "frasco" vs. Italian
"fiasco." Although there's no reason to doubt that Late Latin (or
Proto-Romance, etc.) /ClV/ went directly to Portuguese [CrV], /ClV/ >
/CyV] > [CrV] is now seen as a possibility.

-Wilson Gray

The American Dialect Society -

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