dialect in the comics

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 5 21:36:43 UTC 2010

On Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 11:53 AM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:

> on my blog:
> http://arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/dialect-in-the-comics/

I'm on sixes and sevens WRT to the representation in eye-dialect.
Certainly, _day-ed_ is a *vast* improvement over the traditional
_daid_, for people totally unfamiliar with the native pronunciation.
[Yes, I *see* the way that it's spelled. But it's *still* not
pronounced in the same way as "Dade"!] However, *I* prefer the
spelling, _day-id_. ;-)

Spelling, despite the fact that it's about as meaningful WRT phonetic
representation as ideograms, has an incredible grip on the mind.
Thanks to Li'l Abner, Dan'l Flannel, et al., for a very long time, I
was under the impression that white Southerners said "dade" instead of
"day-id." This, despite the fact that I grew up listening to Lum &
Abner, Judy Canova, Eddy "The Tennessee Plowboy" Arnold, Roy Acuff - I
not only listened to his song, "Night Train to Memphis," but I also
saw the movie - and the Whole Grand Ol' Opry gang.


It might could be people who rhyme dead and made. In a world in which
99.44% of black speakers pronounce _Negro_ as [nI.groU], I've known
one person, a native of Minnesota, who used [ni.groU] and one person,
a native of Virginia, who used [nE.gr@].
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

Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

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

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