antibiotic = 'effective medicine' (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 16 14:26:49 UTC 2012

On Dec 16, 2012, at 4:10 AM, W Brewer wrote:

> LH: <<<Erect Cantor?>>>
> WB: Uh-oh, looks like I pulled a bayhner. No, I had no intention of dissing
> the current Speaker of the House; that would be a hate crime. (Ithyphallic
> equestrian would be stretching it.)
> LH: <<<aha, John Boehner, the *Speaker* of the House>>>
> WB: Well, anyway, he used to be House Majority Leader, 2006-2007. All these
> musical chairs gets confusing.
> LH: <<<ethnically correct front (even if no longer rounded) vowel.>>>
> WB: If Johnbo were really up front, he be a beaner.
Ah, but "Beaner" with [i] would come from the unrounding of [y], which would have arisen from Bü(h)ner* or Bue(h)ner.  Compare "shtick", from the Yiddish unrounding of ü in a closed syllable.  In "geese" or "feet", where the [i] really does come from unrounding, but only as a result of the Great Vowel Shift:

go:si > goe:s [fronting via umlaut] > ge:s [unrounding] > gi:s [Vowel Shift]

And for Boehner, it's too late for the vowel shift (and perhaps for other things; we'll see). So he's more of a bane-er than a beaner.


*There was an outfielder for the Yankees and Mariners with that name a couple of decades back, Jay Buhner, but he opted for [byu:n at r].

The American Dialect Society -

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