fricative voicing / done

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 10 23:07:09 UTC 2006

Sigh! Those were the bad old days, dInIs. In grade school, I was taught by
white nuns of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society, better known as
"Maryknoll Missionaries," hence their abbreviation, as in "Sister Mary Jane,
MM." In high school, I was taught by white Jesuits (their students have
ranged from Voltaire to Castro), about whom nothing descriptive need be
said, such is their fame. Things were nothing like what Richard Gregory
implied in his once-famous joke, but white teachers had a definite
psychological edge over black teachers, when it came to the education of
black kids. WRT public schools in St. Louis, the city operated parallel
school sytems, one run by whites for whites and the other run by blacks for
blacks with the leftovers from ol' massa's table. As a consequence,
middle-class blacks - my father was a lawyer and my mother is a retired
psychiatric social worker who once headed the social-work department at the
Missouri State Hospital (does anybody else remember when "state hospital"
was a euphemism for "insane asylum"?) at St. Louis - sent their kids to
Catholic schools, these being the only private schools that accepted
colored, because the local cardinal would excommunicate any Catholic who
tried to stand in the schoohouse door.

Why John Paul II should not be made a saint: he de-cardinalized the
Archdiocese of Saint Louis for being too liberal and allowing the Jesuits
too much power, e.g. the Jesuits run what amounts to their own separate
school system in St. Louis, covering education from first grade through

Oh. Richard Gregory's joke. His was a family of mile-runners. They would
have held the Missouri State high-school mile championship for decades,
except that Missouri didn't allow the colored to hold even local
championships. Anyway, one of Gregory's younger brothers once held the
national high-school mile championship - though not the St. Louis city
championship or the Missouri state championship - and, as a consequence, he
was awarded a track scholarship to Notre Dame. According to Gregory, his
brother went to South Bend intending to spend most of his time partying with
the country girls in the colored part of town. Until he saw all those
statues of a dude hanging from a cross, dead.


On 5/10/06, Dennis R. Preston <preston at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at MSU.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: fricative voicing / done
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson,
> I'm amazed that you go around saying so many thing your  were taught.
> I was a childhood resister.
> dInIs
> >I've heard "roo[vz]" a lot, along with "hoo[fs]," but I still go (I know
> a
> >guy whose surname is "Stilgoe") with "roo[fs]" and "hoo[vz]," as I was
> >taught. BTW, is the vowel [u] as in "too" or
> >[U] as in "took"? I use [u] in both forms, again as I was taught, though
> >I've heard these words with [U] so often in so many diffrerent locales
> that
> >I have to monitor my pronunciation, lest I slip unconsciously to the Dark
> >Side. They're getting to be like "eether" vs. "eyether" or "eeconomic"
> vs.
> >"eckonomic." "Yuh pays yuh money and yuh takes yuh cherce."
> >
> >-Wilson
> >
> >On 5/10/06, Daniel Ezra Johnson <johnson4 at> wrote:
> >>
> >>---------------------- Information from the mail header
> >>-----------------------
> >>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >>Poster:       Daniel Ezra Johnson <johnson4 at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> >>Subject:      fricative voicing / done
> >>
> >>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >>they used to tell us (massachusetts, 80's, upper-middle-class area) that
> >>"done" meant cooked, so you were supposed to say "i'm finished" unless
> you
> >>meant that you were ready to be eaten at table.
> >>
> >>but my impression (erroneous, apparently, given some of the posts here)
> >>was that everybody actually did say "i'm done".
> >>
> >>it is interesting how as children we totally reject certain
> prescriptivist
> >>nugget, accept others as valid without following them, and follow
> others.
> >>
> >>and fascinating if there's a north-south divide (off-list i've heard an
> >>east-west one proposed, too) on hou[s]es. i don't think the voiceless
> form
> >>was too common in my neck of the words [stet that typo] but heard it at
> >>college from another new englander.
> >>
> >>my subjective evaluation of hou[s]es is as firmly non-standard but not
> >>firmly lower-class. although i suppose it would fit into a lower-class
> nyc
> >>stereotype, if not a boston one.
> >>
> >>but it's part of that subset of forms from "other dialects" that i find
> >>myself saying more and more anymore. can wi[f]es be far behind? did i
> ever
> >>say roo[v]s?
> >>
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> >>
> >
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> >The American Dialect Society -
> --
> It should be the chief aim of a university professor to exhibit
> himself [sic] in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man
> thinking, actively utilizing his small share of knowledge. Alfred
> North Whitehead
> Dennis R. Preston
> University Distinguished Professor
> Department of English
> Morrill Hall 15-C
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing, MI 48824-1036 USA
> Office: (517) 353-4736
> Fax: (517) 353-3755
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