Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jan 9 00:12:45 UTC 2008

My supercynical explanation:

  Just yesterday I was discussing the state of edutainment in this country with a friend of mine who, like me, began university teaching in the '70s.  Some years back he got tenure in Louisiana.  My contention was that freshmen writing had not gotten any worse over the decades, partly because that would be in violation of the known laws of science.  However, I have not taught freshmen _qua_ freshmen for a long time.

  My buddy's opinion was that the writing was (wait for it!...) much worse than it used to be.
  (Observe how I was the cockeyed optimist in this discussion.)

  I reminded him of the time a quarter-century gone when I had to explain to an entire class of university students the literal meaning of the word "lilt."  The closest any of them came to understanding it had been, "It's what flowers do."

  Anyway, his comeback was that in the old days he used to have to explain to his Louisiana freshman the meaning of "woodchuck" in Frost's poem, "After Apple-Picking." As many will appreciate, what Yankees call a "woodchuck," Southerners call a "groundhog."

  The punchline, and you're way ahead of me, is that in more recent years, they don't know what a "groundhog" is either. ("A kind of a hog?") The creatures are not common to Louisiana.  (Yeah, yeah, "Groundhog's Day."  Well, according to Prof. X, there's no mention of it in La. outside of pointy-headed news-junkie circles.  As for the movie, "Groundhog [sic] Day," that came out in 1993 - nearly a generation ago, by whippersnapper standards.

  So it's quite possible that a great many people who say "Jagwire" (and some who don't) don't know that there's also a Latin American animal called the "jaguar."  As for the car's hood ornament, isn't that a tiger or something?


  Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: Jagwire

At 10:43 AM -0600 1/8/08, Philip (Flip) Kromer wrote:
>Tony Kornheiser (Pardon the Interruption, Monday Night Football,
>ex-washpost) says 'Jagwire' or very close to it.

Are you sure he's not doing it self-consciously, with invisible
quotes? I've heard Tom Jackson (of ESPN) refer to the Jacksonville
team as the Jagwires, and probably other commentators, but I suspect
if Kornheiser does it he's not being authentic. (He often isn't.)
He is indeed from Long Island, where I certainly never heard
"Jagwire". (In those days, it would have been in reference to the
car or possibly the cat; the team hadn't been invented yet.)


> You can download the
>podcast version of PTI from iTunes; I know I heard him do it repeatedly last
>week, but don't recall which one. I'm sure you'll find multiple uses these
>past and next few weeks.
>He's not undereducated, and is Long Island, I think.
>On Jan 8, 2008 6:34 AM, Sam Clements wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>> Poster: Sam Clements
>> Subject: Jagwire
>> Of course I'm talking about Jaguar.
>> Since I'm not a linguist, is there an explanation for the =
>> mispronunciation of the word? I never encountered it until I worked =
>> with some people in Middle Ohio, who also happen to be undereducated(and =
>> coincidentally from Southern Ohio/Western Pennsylvania). Or am I =
>> reading too much into their family backgrounds?
>> Anyway, is this something as simple as saying "warsh" for wash, "tarred" =
>> for tired? =20
>> Sam Clements
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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