Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 13:02:19 CDT
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU
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
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.