Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 26 20:23:00 UTC 2010

Charlie writes:

"_years *ago* (probably c1970)_"

My word, Charlie! What are you?! A baby?! Are you shaving, yet?! Years
*ago* is c1950, *not* c1970! ;-)

But, seriously, folks, I agree with Charlie. There was not the
slightest hint of dyslexia in the speech of either my grandmother or
that of her daughter, my mother. OTOH, my father and my maternal
grandfather didn't have much to say. My assumption has been that they
couldn't get a word in edgewise. But, perhaps they had dyslexia.
Youneverknow. ;-)

Because the family split its time between Marshall and Saint Louis,
there was only one time when I personally experienced a drouth. You
turned on the faucets and got only a trickle of muddy water. However,
thanks to the technology of my grandparent's youth, our only problem
was having to boil water in order to bathe. (I use "to take a bath,"
but my most recent ancestors used "to bathe." An English friend from
Ipswich once told me that "to bathe" means "to go to the shore,"
whereas "to take a bath" is "to bath" [baT] and that crackers are
called "biscuits," whereas cookies are called "sweet biscuits.") We
had a well on the backporch that supplied cold, clear water and the
old family outhouse still existed.

But I can't recall that drouths were discussed in the family. I got my
pronunciation from H.V. Kaltenborn or Gabriel "Ah, there's good/sad
news tonight" Heatter with five minutes of the latest news, on KWKH in
Sreeepo or WFAA in Dallis, Maahsha not having its own station (nothing
ever happened there to report). I spent years wondering why the final
_th_ was pronounced simply as [t]. My WAG is that, though I lived in
places were "drouth" was standard, I heard the pronunciation used in
places where "drought" was standard.


On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 1:33 PM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      heighth/drouth
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson, both "heighth" and "drouth" were my pronunciations growing up in eastern Texas in the 1950s and 1960s.
> I remember years ago (probably c1970) I was discussing the point with Ed Finegan, who suggested (regarding "heighth") that a dyslexic spelling-pronunciation was involved. I assume he was joking. The "-th" nominalizations are historically normal ("depth," "tilth," etc.); what needs to be explained is their sporadic loss in other dialects.
> Charlie
> ---- Original message ----
>>Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 23:48:13 -0400
>>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>)
>>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.
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