Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 14:33:46 -0500
From: Mark Mandel Mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DRAGONSYS.COM
"Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU writes:
Just what does 'er' spell?
The story ends with the Cracker telling another potential
customer, threatening him with a well worn knife, "Pertaters end
ternups, Mabin--but don't yer say aiggs, Mabin! Ef yer do, I'll
sample yer gizzard!"
The puzzle. Not too hard. This was South Carolina, where r-
lessness and r-fulness overlapped, If the spelling is accurate,
the fellow had the same vowel in the first and last syllables of
'potatoes' and the first syllable of 'turnips' as well as in 'you'
and 'your'. So, what was it? Not what present-day literal-minded
Americans assume, but a schwa-like sound that the British
represent with 'er' and some 19th-century American writers also
represented with 'er'. The words that provide the clinching
evidence are the two instances of 'you', which I really doubt were
pronounced as "spelled."
Are you proposing that this SC dialect had an r-less schwa in
"turnips"? Is that plausible?
Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]dragonsys.com
Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com/
Personal home page: http://world.std.com/~mam/