Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 12:31:41 -0500 From: Mark Mandel Subject: Merzouri I asked: >Are you proposing that this SC dialect had an r-less schwa in >"turnips"? Is that plausible? Donald M. Lance replied: >>> There would have been several dialects in the Columbia SC area at that time. Yes, I am proposing (even claiming) that evidence in the spelling indicates that the "Cracker" had r-less speech. He said 'you' and 'your' the same way and the conventional eye-dialect spelling (at that time) of the vowel sound in these words, as well as in 'pertaters' and 'ternups', was -er-. No American would choose this spelling now, but over a century ago this spelling seems to have worked for the "litterati" who were writing these spoofs; it crops up in other stories in this genre. My Uncle Ed, who grew up in northern Florida and called himself a Cracker, had r-less speech, though he was much brighter than the hapless fellow in the story. Uncle Ed said 'you' and 'your' alike -- just like the -er- vowel nuclei in the other words. Spellings and verbal jibes in these stories written in the mid-19th century indicated that the "educated" people, often but not always outsiders, made fun of the dialects of bumpkins, which is part of the "humor" of this story. <<< I'm sorry, I didn't express my question -- or perhaps my doubt -- precisely enough. All the other examples of "er" from the text that you mention as evidence that it's intended to convey an r-less schwa are UNSTRESSED. But the first syllable of "turnip" (spelled as "ternup" in the text, IIRC) is stressed, unless we're talking about far different changes than I thought we were. And I have trouble imagining a vowel in that syllable that is any kind of match for an r-less schwa. Maybe a diphthong with a palatal glide at the end, such as is often transcribed "oi" ("da corner of Toity-toid an' Toid"), but not an r-less schwa. Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA :