[Lexicog] Re: Plough mud

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 26 03:48:13 UTC 2010

I clearly remember the *spelling* "drouth" as standard in the East
Texas and even the Saint Louis of my youth. Indeed, I still find it
surprising that you never see _drouth_, anymore, because it used to
be, IME, much more common than _drought_. That is, the spelling,
"drouth," was once the cat's meow. But the only pronunciation that I
can recall is the standard one. OTOH, in East Texas, _height_, though
so spelled, was always pronounced as though spelled "highth," with a
final thorn. Most people there pronounced _deaf_ as is usual, but
"deef" was surprisingly common. E.g., though *we* always used "deaf"
in our household, *many* very close relatives and family friends used
"deef," a phenomenon almost as startling as seeing these same people
drinking coffee and tea from the saucer after pouring it from the cup.


On Tue, May 25, 2010 at 2:48 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Fwd: [Lexicog]  Re: Plough mud
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Aloha from Maui
> Benjamin Barrett
> Seattle, WA
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: rtroike at email.arizona.edu
>> Date: May 25, 2010 7:07:22 AM HST
>> To: lexicographylist at yahoogroups.com
>> Subject: [Lexicog]  Re: Plough mud
>> Reply-To: lexicographylist at yahoogroups.com
>> David,
>> Charleston is very much a speech island of its own, with a long
>> history. The "gh" in English orthography, which is so troublesome
>> to modern speakers, was there intentionally to represent the former
>> phoneme /x/ (voiceless velar fricative), still found in Scots "loch"
>> for "lake", and still used in cognate German words: Eng right, Ger
>> richt, etc. The fricative was either absorbed into the vowel or not
>> distinguished by children from /f/, which is acoustically very =20
>> similar,
>> hence "laugh" (Ger lauchen) or occasionally /th/, as in Southern US
>> "drouth" =3D "drought". Which pronunciations become "standard" and =
> which
>> remain "regional" is often a matter of historical accident (cf. leaf
>> and deaf [Noah Webster preferred /dEf/), wreath and death (Scots /=20
>> diyth/).
>> You can now search for terms in the Dictionary of American Regional
>> English (DARE) at:
>> http://dare.wisc.edu/?q=3Dsearch/node
>> I did a search for "plough mud" and "plow mud" but nothing came up, so
>> they must have missed that. It's not in my OED either. That is =20
>> something
>> they can include in a supplement.
>> Rudy
>> Rudy Troike
>> Univ. of Arizona
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