"Regional speech may be fading, but..."

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 23 00:43:30 UTC 2008

At 7:10 PM -0400 6/22/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 1:57 PM, Benjamin Zimmer
><bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>>  Subject:      Re: "Regional speech may be fading, but..."
>>  On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 1:23 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>  On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 4:47 PM, Laurence Horn
>>><laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>>  >
>>>  > Other than that dubious starting premise, this is a sorta fun piece
>>>  > on the "Dutchified" English of Lancaster, PA and environs in today's
>>>  > Times, with a lot of nice (if not particularly novel) data:
>>>  >
>>>  WRT the
>>>  "here nah"
>>>  cited in the article, my wife, from Kingston in the Wyoming Valley of
>>>  the Susquehanna River, tells me that she and her children friends used
>>>  to sing, to the tune of Boola-Boola, the following jingle:
>>>  Heyna! Heyna!
>>>  Heyna! Heyna!
>>>  We're from Plymout'
>>>  Pennsylvania!
>>>  According to a local publication entitled "The [Wyoming] Valley,"
>>>  _heyna_ is used by speakers of the Valley dialect to form tag
>>>  questions:
>>>  "The state of Wyoming was founded by people from The Valley, heyna?"
>>  Wilson also directed our attention to the "Heynabonics" video on
>>  YouTube last year. More on "heyna" in NE PA here:
>>  http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005129.html
>>  --Ben Zimmer
>Very interesting stuff in the above URL, Ben. I wonder why it is,
>though, that we (*not* including you, Ben, of course) amateurs always
>tend to assume that certain "localisms," e.g. "hiya," "half-holiday,"
>and "hollor"[sic], known from Maine to California, are peculiar only
>to our own area of the country.
I think it's the spatial analogue of what arnold calls the recency
effect.  (For more confirmation, just pick up any of those books on
"Maine Lingo" or "Minnesota Chatter" or whatever.  Some of them
essentially pick out random U.S. colloquialisms as examples of the
local dialect.)


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