that costly "missing g"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 23 01:14:17 UTC 2012

On Dec 22, 2012, at 7:59 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> On 12/22/2012 7:26 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> ....
>> --which wasn't a missing "g" at all, but an alveolar nasal where Pat Sajak insisted on a velar:
>> 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?
> --
> Who says /IN/ alone is correct? (Not I, although I think I would prefer
> /IN/ here my modern self.)
> Even if I personally considered /In/ or /@n/ absolutely wrong and
> atrocious, I would not consider it acceptable to fault the contestant
> for it if any respectable standard authority sanctions it.
> And indeed MW3 (as respectable and standard as any in such a matter
> IMHO) under "-ing" shows various pronunciations with /n/ as well as /N/,
> with even-handed discussion.
> But then that thing's not called the idiot box for nothing.
> There is a current item on Languagelog.
So I see, but only citing the Gawker story, which refers to Ms. Durette's "failure to enunciate", which isn't quite the right diagnosis…


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