Date: Mon, 15 Aug 1994 10:06:00 EDT

From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: you

In-Reply-To: The letter of Wednesday, 10 August 1994 7:39pm ET

The article of mine Tom Clark refers to is Dennis Preston, 1986, The Li'l

Abner syndrome. American Speech 60,4:328-336. Those who might want to pursue

this issue further might have a look at my 'Ritin' fowklower daun 'rong:

folklorists failures in phonology. Journal of American Folklore 95,377:304-26

(1982) and a following discussion between E. Fine and me in the same journal

(1983) 96,381:321-30 (Fine, In defense of literary dialect) and 330-39

(Preston, Mowr bad spellun').

That eye-dialect may differ for speakers of different dialects seems, to me, t

o be a minor issue. I doubt if 'wuz' spellers really have different vowels in

mind when they employ it. I still buy into the idea that such spellings simply

belittle the caricatured speaker, usually in the direction of illiteracy

and/or lack of intelligence. That is one of the reasons I so vigorously oppose

the use of such 'respellings' in discourse, folklore, ethnography and other

fields which represent the actual speech of respondents. If the pronunciation

is important, I believe a phonetic transcription (of appropriate 'narrowness')

is the only reasonable solution.

Belletristic practice is another matter, and I have nothing to contribute to

what writers who want to make a certain impression on readers should (or

should not) do.

Dennis Preston