Heard on Springer_Street_ > "screek"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 25 21:44:30 UTC 2010

Old heads here are no doubt (over)familiar with the stories that I've
told about my old Army buddy who, in unmonitored speech, pronounces,
e.g. "street" as [skrik]. But he refuses to acknowledge this feature
of his speech, because, if you try to bring it to his attention, so
that he monitors his speech, he says [strit] and claims that he never
uses any other pronunciation.

"Man, I don't say no *skreek*! I say *street*!"

It's as though he somehow is totally unaware of his unmonitored
speech. I know *consciously* that, though I *can* pronounce  10 as
[tEn], I *do* pronounce it as [tIn], so that, if anyone sad to me,

"Wilson, do you realize that you don't distinguish between 'ten' and
'tin' in your speech?"

Well, of course I realize that and it would never occur to me to deny
it. But David truly seems to be totally unconscious of the fact that
he says "skreek." Hence, he can never be persuaded otherwise.

IAC, 21-year-old, black male speaker:

I seen her walking down the _skreek_ - this was in _Holly, North
Carolina_ - wearing some boody shorts ..."

My friend is from Holly _Springs_, NC. This town is, no doubt, near
Holly. And it's also near Fuquay, itself near Fuquay Springs, and he
graduated from Fuquay-Varina High School - he raised a hog as his
senior thesis - in Fuquay Varina (sic), near Fuquay Springs.

IAC, I would have *killed* to be able to take this speaker aside and ask,

"Yo, bay-brother! Do you know that you say "skreek" instead of "street"?

and see whether he, too, would also answer:

"Man, I don't say no *skreek*! I say *street*!


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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