Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 27 03:21:05 UTC 2010

That's funny! You have the opposite of the problem that I have. I'm
*positive* that _heighth_ is the proper pronunciation, but i can't
swear that I ever really heard _drouth_ with a -th.


On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 10:22 PM, Alison Murie <sagehen7470 at att.net> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Alison Murie <sagehen7470 at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: heighth/drouth
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On May 26, 2010, at 4:23 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
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>> 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.
> AM
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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