Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Nov 24 17:31:57 UTC 2008

On Nov 23, 2008, at 2:42 PM, John Baker wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "cumberbund"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        My experience is the same as Neal's; I grew up in southern
> Kentucky, and my parents were from the same area.  Based on the list
> responses, it sounds like the "cumberbund" pronunciation among whites
> may be more common outside the South.

just to note that this discussion hasn't settled anything at all about
the social and geographical distribution of the variants.  we have a
small collection of reports from various speakers, with some attempts
to generalize from them about the distribution.  collecting such
reports is entertaining, but it's never really enlightening.

my guess is that there is some component of geographical/social
distribution here, but the associations might be weak, and that for
the most part the variable is "scattered".  scattered variation is, i
think, pretty common for items and constructions that are infrequent
(i've written elsewhere in these terms about the GoToGo construction
and the categorization of "ice plant" as count or mass): one or the
other variant spreads from person to person, but in a largely random
fashion -- so long as no variant picks up social meaning.

(by the way, one of my "cumberbund" speakers is from bethehem, pa.,
the son of parents who themselves grew up in the area.  i am a
"cummerbund" speaker from reading, pa. (not far from bethlehem and
also in the large "pennsylvania dutch" zone), the son of parents who
themselves grew up in the area.  i expect that careful searching would
turn up similar disparities.)


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