Date: Tue, 16 Aug 1994 23:53:01 CDT


Subject: Re: you

As an extension to Dennis Preston's reaction to popular/"scientific" use of

eye dialect....

It seems to me that in the past decade there has been a considerable increase

in the use of "bad grammar" and four-letter words in quotations in newspaper

articles. We who've been (mis)quoted by reporters are well aware of where many

of the quotes come. The news people would argue that they're attempting to

be more accurate, but stereotyping seems to me to have a higher priority than

accuracy in these quotes.

I'm a 'was' rather than 'wuz' speaker, so my reaction to this particular item

of eye dialect is different from that of 'wuz' speakers. I mean that I use

the low vowel in stressed 'was' but of course use a schwa when the word is

in an unstressed position. From my own reaction, I suspect that some

writers who use 'wuz' in eye dialect are indirectly commenting on their own

"correct" pronuncation, the one taught by Miss Fidditch. Cross-dialectal

messiness notwithstanding, the use of 'wuz' is one of the most useful eye

dialect items that a writer can use to suggest dialect but not "heavy"