Alison Murie sagehen7470 at ATT.NET
Thu May 27 02:22:23 UTC 2010

On May 26, 2010, at 4:23 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: heighth/drouth
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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.
> -Wilson
> 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.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
I too said drouth &     quite possibly heighth (I'm a little uncertain
about this: it tickles my prescriptivist button, but also sounds
pretty good, to me).  Drouth was standard among the Nebraskans I grew
up with in the drouth years of the 30s.

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