Fwd: that costly "missing g"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 23 01:05:37 UTC 2012

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> Date: December 22, 2012 7:26:40 PM EST
> To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: that costly "missing g"
> --which wasn't a missing "g" at all, but an alveolar nasal where Pat Sajak insisted on a velar:
> http://gawker.com/5970566/pronunciation-nazi-pat-sajak-steals-thousands-of-dollars-from-wheel-of-fortune-contestant-over-dropped-g
> Of course, in a-swimmin' and other instances of a- prefixing, it's virtually inevitable (as I think Wolfram or someone else has observed) that for modern speakers, at least in the U.S. the -in' pronunciation /In/ sounds much more natural (they're a-huntin', a-fishin', a-ridin') than the "correct" -ing /IN/ (they're a-hunting, a-fishing, a-riding).  Maybe a dialectologist can offer an amicus curiae brief on Ms. Durette's behalf over the "g" that went a-missin?
> LH

P.S.  Checking our page on the a-prefixing phenomenon, http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/prefixing, I notice that all the examples from a variety of sources are of the a-verbin', not a-verbing, form.  Of course this might not have been the case back in the Six Swans A-Swimming Days, but still… (and she had just put the G up there on the board, as the clip shows, so it's not as if she was thinking of a *different* gerund.

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