Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 19 20:57:15 UTC 2008

At 12:14 PM -0800 11/19/08, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>On Nov 19, 2008, at 11:30 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>Subject:      Re: "cumberbund"
>>arnold, if you can find a random black person or a random Southerner
>>of any race who doesn't say "cumberbund," I'll kiss your ass on the
>>courthouse lawn and give you 45 minutes to draw a crowd. "Matlock" is
>>set in the South, right? And Andy Griffith is from the South, right?
>>You remind me of that GI from Darien, CT, who was stunned to hear a
>>Southerner say, "Git _you_ a tray!"
>i didn't say i was stunned by it, nor did i deprecate it.  having
>noticed it (not for the first time, let me add) i went to see what the
>dictionaries had to say about it.  and was a bit surprised that so few
>of them had it.  perhaps i should have exclaimed more loudly, instead
>of just reporting what i found flatly.
>in addition, as i've said here many times before, i can't possibly be
>expected to know the social and regional distributions of all variants
>in english.  it's really rude to piss on me for not knowing some facts
>that you know.
>i think, but i'm not sure, that neither "cummerbund" nor "cumberbund"
>is in DARE, but perhaps someone who is  closer to a copy of the
>dictionary than i am right now could check.
>it now looks like "cumberbund" might be sufficiently widespread that
>it should be listed as a variant in more dictionaries.
>it's clear that a fair number of people think that the word *is*
>"cumberbund".  so we have yet another situation where different people
>take different variants to be the *right* one and are somewhat
>surprised when they come across the other variant (as Mark Velasco was
>in this case).  if both variants are sufficiently widespread, then
>they should just be treated as alternatives (and the history is no
>longer relevant, though of course it might be interesting in its own
And the isogloss between the two varieties is, of course, the Cumberbund Gap.


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