Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 13:02:19 CDT


Subject: Re: Pronounciation of Oxymoron -Reply

Remember that what's REAL is idiolect, not dialect, the latter being a

construct hypothesized by linguists or school teachers or politicians

or whoever. Phonotactic rules are real, thus in idiolect. And idiolects

vary. Forces such as analogy certainly do influence idiolect, but only to

the extent and in the ways in which the language-acquirer's idiolectal

phonotactics allow. It shoud not be surprising that some people might use

some of the "metathesized" forms like 'relator', 'nucular,' nuculus',

'jewlery', and others that aren't hovering above my keyboard at the moment --

but not use all of them, and behave differently when tired, drunk, irritated,

feeling cool, being facetious, burdened by linguistic anxiety, whatever.

Larry asked about empirical evidence for my claim that people who nuculate also

relatate. That's a really good thing to investigate; one might even find

some interesting statistical tendencies in individual behaviors. When I,

so filled with confidence, posted my insight, I had in memory the behavior

of a vast sample of 1.0 native speakers: a former Chair of the English

Department at the U of MO. When I noted his 'relator' he said he was aware

that he said 'nucular' (and maybe 'nuculus') but he'd never noticed 'relator'.

He also says 'jewlery'. One needs larger samples, of course, to make

heavy claims.

We tend to use the term "metathesis" for these forms as if we are somehow

subconcsiously aware of the form in which these forms exist out there in

the ether, alongside phlogyston, and then screw them up when we speak.