Not quite, but quite close

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sat Feb 11 01:45:19 UTC 2006


As a side note, concerning "well I swahn,"  I heard my white mother say that
in Danville Virginia in the 1950's, and her ancient mother chided her for
cussin'

Sam Clements
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
To: <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 6:30 PM
Subject: Re: Not quite, but quite close


>I was commenting on the [w]. The pronunciation that I consider to be
> "standard," i.e. the way that I pronounce it, in BE is like [gOIn].
> The [i] in my original post is a slip. As for "gwine," I have heard it
> as [gwain], but I've heard it most often with the long vowel for which
> I have no symbol, but which, in eye-dialect, is usually represented as
> "ah."
>
> I once had occasion to chat for a few minutes with someone who, to my
> ear, actually did use the stereotypical [a] and who also used the
> stereotypical, "Wah, ah swahn!" I know that she was from Georgia, but
> her phenotype was such that I couldn't tell whether she was black or
> white on the basis of our very brief, one-on-one interaction.
>
> BTW, if anybody is interested, it's possible to go to the iTunes store
> and listen to songs by Memphis Minnie, who is a representative "gwine"
> user. Or you can go to Towerrecords.com, etc. and do the same thing.
>
> -Wilson
>
>
>
> On 2/10/06, Alice Faber <faber at haskins.yale.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail
>> header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
>> Organization: Haskins Laboratories
>> Subject:      Re: Not quite, but quite close
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> Funny, I read Wilson's post as a comment on the diphthong in "going"
>> having an unexpected nucleus /OI/ rather than /aI/, not the non-standard
>> /w/ onset. I'm more familiar with this alternation in British than
>> American dialectology (Labov's LINE/LOIN stuff), but it does occur
>> elsewhere. Of course, as the spelling "gwine" *is* stereotypical, it
>> doesn't tell us anything about what the actual vowel nucleus was in
>> these interviews.
>>
>> Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> > A quick search of the WPA Slave Narratives here:
>> >
>> >   http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/mesnquery.html
>> >
>> >   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.
>> >
>> >   JL
>> >
>> > 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 [ΓΌ] 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
>>
>>
>> --
>> ==============================================================================
>> Alice Faber                                    faber at haskins.yale.edu
>> Haskins Laboratories                           tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>> New Haven, CT 06511 USA                        fax (203) 865-8963
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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