Date: Wed, 17 Aug 1994 10:08:27 -0500 From: "Timothy C. Frazer" Subject: Re: you On Tue, 16 Aug 1994, Donald M. Lance wrote: > > 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. Bob Greene had a column on this phenomemom (chicago trib; dunno if it was syndicated) and cited it as another example of the decline of civility and civilization. If anyone saved it I'd like to get a copy. > > 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. My guess would be that this distinction is unusual. I think I hve the same vowel in both positions, as do most of the people I know. Do I just have a bad ear? Or is the tendency I describe a striclty inlandnorth/north midland thing? I know my students panic when they can't hear the difference between a schwa and anything slightly lower or low-bck (represented by an upside down "a", respectively, and a carrot in IPA). I have to skip over that cause I can't either. 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" > dialect. Yes, and I think it's useful precisely cause it does not represent a real ifference between standard and vernacular. That's a tough one to prove absolutely, though. Any suggestions out there? Tim Frazer