Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 14:37:32 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: folk/folklore
What fun to hear that some students got a kick out of (rather than from)
phonology for a change.
But, to the point. No, us people (whoever we are, sounds like maybe we are
the evil scientists) think that folk learn a lot of words as words
(regardless of 'laws'). I am, for example, an 'aw' (as in 'caught')
pronouncer of most 'o' words before 'g' ('hog,' 'log,' 'dog,' 'frog,'
etc...), but a little introspection will show me that I have a bunch of
exceptions ('cog,' 'togs,' 'bog'). In every case, the non-'aw'
pronunciations are later-learned.
I meant to suggest that word-level analyses may often mask a deeper rule;
when the words are th only way to go, have at them.
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu
Unsure now of what I say in these words, I read all seventeen pages of this
exchange to my linguistics class this morning. Everyone got a big kick out
of Dennis' dissertation on phonology.
My astute student (the one who asked the question) wanted me to reply to
Dennis' systematic phonology. She says that systematic phonology does not
explain why she pronounces the words differently. She asks, "Don't these
people ever think that you learn words from other people? You learn what
you hear. I heard "folks" [foks] and learned it that way. I heard
somebody else say [folkd[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ns] and [folklor]. That's why I say these words
I tend to agree, fan of things like sound laws though I am. I learned
[foks] from other [foks]; I learned [folkd[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ns] and [folklore] from people
who did not do these things but who had some kind of tourist or academic or
preservationist interest in these things. People who are genuine
(unconscious) folkdancers do not say things like "Why don't y'all come over
and folkdance with us tonight? We'll spend some time sharing some
folklore. We might even kill a pig and salt it up for the winter in the
ways of the folk."
The point, I guess, is that sound laws may not be consistent when borrowing
from other dialects (or languages) occurs.
With an extended audience,
Professor of English
Director of Research and Graduate Student Services
Milledgeville, GA 31061
wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]mail.gac.peachnet.edu