Heard on The Judges: localisms

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 22 17:35:19 UTC 2009

Twenty-year-old black youth from Houston:

"Yes, your honor. That's why I come out her (i.e. 'here')."

("Local" in the sense that, AFAIK, this shift of -air, -ear, -ere,
etc. to [-^r] is, so far, peculiar to BE and, again, AFAIK, it began
in Saint Louis about fifteen years ago and was spread around by such
Saint Louis hip-hoppers as Nelly, Li'l John, Chingy, et al. One of my
favorite songs has the eye-dialect title, I'm Hurr, I'm Thurr, I'm
Errwhurr. I assume that initial err- is influenced by "er(r)," the
standard spelling of onomatopoetic [^(r)].)

Forty-ish white woman from Brooklyn:

"Then he stood (i.e. 'stayed') in my house all day."


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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