Date: Sun, 14 Aug 1994 15:57:12 -0700
From: THOMAS L CLARK tlc[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]NEVADA.EDU
Subject: Re: eye dialect
On Mon, 8 Aug 1994 mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU wrote:
Question: When you encounter "what" in a text spelled "whut"--
is that eye dialect or does that have some sort of phonetic reality?
To me the "u" simply represents a schwa and hence its eye dialect. But
is that just my perspective?
Dennis Preston wrote the best article I saw on Eye/Literary dialect in
American Speech (tell us when, Dinnis). But I was brought up short a
couple of weeks ago when telling a group of British-taught ESL teachers
that "wuz" was simply a phonetic rendering of "was," and eye dialect
because both are pronunced the same. One teacher raised her eyebrows and
said both words, one with schwa and the other low-back. I was nonplussed
until I realized I should have regionally restricted my statement.
tlc[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]nevada.edu