In re St. Louis English

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Sat Apr 27 14:49:51 UTC 2013

Wilson, have you heard the pronunciations "K-Mark" and ""Walmark" from BE speakers?  It's not only them, if so--my wife's N WV/SW PA relatives have <k>-ful forms in both these words, but no others.  I can see how this could operate as a lexical one-off; there is a store called Pathmark, after all.  Just wondering.

Paul Johnston
On Apr 27, 2013, at 1:37 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      In re St. Louis English
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> 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.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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
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