In re St. Louis English

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 27 05:37:54 UTC 2013

After listening to the St. Louis video a couple of more times, I began ti
feel the the speakers were exaggerating for effect in their pronunciation
of "44" and "forest" as "farty-far" and "far-ist."

However, I've since heard St. Louis native Dr. G saying "New "Yark" and
"New Yarkers."

And then, there's the word, "shark," that I once used in place of "short"
for "car." I don't have the BE rule that changes final T to K and I read a
lot. So, I've always said, e.g. "come[t]" and never "come[k]." But, in the
case of "short" as a slang term, I learned it only from hearing it spoken
and there was no reason for me to use any pronunciation other than the one
that I heard and no reason to correct that pronunciation to "shart."

The pronuncistion that I heard and, hence, used was "shark."

So, I conclude that "farty-far' and "far-ist" are real, unexaggerated
examples of StL-speak.

After I moved to L.A., it took me some time to realize that The Beach Boys'
"short" was the same slang-word as the "shark" of StL BE. Like, I could see
some motive for calling a car a "shark." Cf. Chuck Berry and his reference
to "a car that'll eat up the road." A shark eats up the ocean, so to speak.
But, what connection is there between a car and a "short"?

It's not obvious me, semantically.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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