Aikman's Texan English

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Sep 26 13:50:42 UTC 2007

From:    Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> At 10:01 AM -0400 9/25/07, Dennis Preston wrote:


>> and I also suspect a nonsystematic error for the double "had";

> Can we be sure it's an error, and not simply a variant?

This leads into a much wider issue, particularly sticky for those of us
who analyze language quantitatively: How can we be sure *anything* is an
error? It always semi-bothers me (including in my own stuff) when
"obvious errors in production were ignored". Who's to say that that
long-u in boot that sure sounded like a short-a wasn't simply the one
time the speaker fronted and lowered long-u extremely--but that it's
still part of the speaker's system, despite being a clear outlier?

*I* don't have an answer, that's for sure. Anything been published on
this issue that any of you know of?

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

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