As an English major, perhaps I'm way on the other side of the spectrum, but
never have I heard elements of the English language--syntax, usage,
pronunciation--butchered as enthusiastically as here in Utah.And
don't get me started on the complete and utter confusion abounding in
regards to the use of the apostrophe, and how the letter "s" should be
used in plurals and possessives.
@Mike in SandyNo doubt that, as an English major, you understand
that (a) the English language - just like all other languages - is constantly
evolving, and (b) that evolution is accelerating in the information age. So
instead of whining about how people, especially youth, have "butchered"
the language, maybe the onus is on us to adapt our archaic and obsolete form of
language. You may revile the shorthand used by today's youth in texts and
instant messages, but the bottom line is they are successfully communicating,
which (as you no doubt know) is the point of language.
I've lived all over the country and people use the same kinds of "bad
grammar" everywhere. Utah is no different.
RobinChange forces adoption and confusion forces adaptation. The
times are changing and possibly confusing. Your logic is unassailable.But if the bottom line is what one shoots for, congratulations to the teens,
because anything that comes easy is not worthwhile.
Is this for "rill"?
This is fun news!
You defend the indefensible.Mediocrity in many things is the accepted
norm.Maybe if Utah wasn't dead last in education
spending---another hot local topic---perhaps if would be different.
Mike in Sandy,I believe you meant "in regard to." :)
Most places have peculiar aspects to the local jargon. Mike in Sandy
I would be willing to bet you have never spent much time in the
upper midwest, especially around southeastern Michigan. If so you would know
they use what some refer to as the Michigan "S". Many of the locals tend
to drop the S from words which should have it and add them to one's which
shouldn't. For example "I work for Fords,.four twelve hour shift a
week."I'm glad this article shed a little light on the
"Utah T". I couldn't figure out why people would say Utahn's
drop their T's when in the middle of words. I could always hear it,
although it's more of a soft T. The part of speech I hear missing the most
in Utah is the g missing at the in of words, which I'm as guilty of as
Touche, Sir!"With regards to" or "in regard to".Nice
catch!Thank you...Somewhere, looking down from above, Mrs. Tracy frowns
upon my mistake, eagerly awaiting the chance to rap my knuckles with the
@Mike in Sandy - by your logic, we should expect the citizens of Washington,
D.C. to have the best grammar, since their educational spending is highest, per
pupil. Utah consistently gets around the best value per educational dollar
spent. Having lived in various parts of the country, I wholeheartedly agree
with "Me, Myself and I" above. If you really believe Utahns butcher the
language worse than people in other parts of the country, you need to get out of
the state much more.@Me, Myself, and I - my experience is that, with
regard to words ending in "ing," there are equal parts correct
pronunciation, dropping the g, and what I find strange - putting a hard g at the
end of the word.
I contract my law practice out to various firms, and have done business in 22
states.I know whereof I speak.
U peeple R ignernt.
Wasn't this subject already covered in the Deseret News by John Hollenhorst
in his article titled "BYU professor researches Utah linguistic quirk"?
@Mike in SandyIn your English classes did you learn about the
subjunctive case? Mrs. Tracy would circle the "wasn't"
in your statement "Maybe if Utah wasn't dead last in education
spending..." and write in big red letters: "weren't" to correct
your mistake. Hold out your hand so she can rap your knuckles
I think there's a fine line between "evolving" and
"butchering". When I see a nonstandard punctuation or hear a
nonstandard pronunciation, I normally don't say to myself, "Wow, that
guy's a real trendsetter." I normally say, "Wow, that guy
doesn't know what we learned in elementary school."Someone
commented about apostrophes. It's mindboggling to see plurals formed with
apostrophe + s. But recently I saw something even worse: "Include's
fries and drink".I don't think use of "to be like"
or "to be all" or "to be all like" in place of "to say"
is successful communication.Finally, the missing "t" seems
like a nonissue compared with Utahns' bizarre vowel sounds, e.g., long a
-> short e, long e -> short i. As in "Enjoy your-guys's
mill", or the regrettable mispronunciation of "Hail" in the hymn
"We'll Sing All Hail to Jesus' Name".
It is my observation that many of the people complaining about Utah grammar are
merely sublimating their hostility towards other parts of the culture; Otherwise
they would also be whining that words like "Los Angeles" are seldom
pronounced accurately (even in Los Angeles). "Layton" is
accurately pronounced however the locals choose to pronounce it.When
people say "only in Utah"; it provides a red flag to me indicating that
they either hate Utah or have never actually been anywhere else.
@ Counter Intelligence;You are absolutely correct. Wherever you go,
in the U.S. or elsewhere, you''ll find lots of local dialects, in
English as well as other languages. Spanish (or Portuguese), depending on the
country you live in, can be quite varied, and within larger single countries,
specific regions have unique dialects as well, where they may say words
differently, or use different words, etc.I have learned from
experiences, as well as schooling (I am a Social Studies / Spanish Teacher) that
language truly is a fluid and changing thing (like Brave Sir Robin stated), and
people who like to nail it down as a hard and solid thing are trying to assign
inorganic characteristics to an organic thing. Language is alive, it evolves,
changes, morphs, etc. Also, having taught history, if you study linguistics you
will find many of the "incorrect" things that people say have a basis in
history.For example, "ain't" is something that has been
said for centuries, going back to the 1600s and King Charles II (England), yet
many consider it "vulgar" or "incorrect." I personally think
that such distinctions are simply another way for people to imagine themselves
better than others.
I grew up in inner-city Chicago, in a neighborhood of mostly Italian immigrants,
and most folks I knew pronounced words like "center" as
"cenner." Wilt Chamberlain was a dominant cenner for the Warriors,
76ers, and Lakers.
Is this the same as saying and writing "could of" instead of "could
have" or "could've"? I see "could of" on these posts
all the time!
To CatIf it is strictly organic, why did you follow the
contemporary, nailed-down, inorganic rules in your unmistakeably well-crafted
response?Because language needs order. I'd say that it does
need to be nailed down, now and again, before and after growth. Not saying it
won't adopt or adapt, just that all this "Everything can be right"
nonsense makes me roll my eyes.There is wrong and write.
In my work I speak with people all over the country. Sometimes they meet
stereotypes. A lot of Minnesotans sound like the caricatures on "A Prairie
Home Companion." I've spoken to a couple of women in Tennessee who
sounded for all the world like Dolly Parton. And a lot of ladies in Indiana
sound like David Letterman's mother. OTOH, sometimes people ask
me where I am. They usually seem surprised when I tell them.That
said, do you know how you determine your inseam size in Utah? You maysure your
Years ago my language teacher told me a story about "Dave Martin" who
manufactures garage doors in Salt Lake City. In the 80's he would sign off
on his tv commercials with the phrase "Tell them Dave Martin sent you.".
He tried to carefully enunciate his last name making sure the "t" in the
middle of Martin was clearly pronounced. He was contacted by a linguist who
taught him to pronounce his name with a soft, comfortable "t"; not a
hard "t".This story taught me that language should fit into a
comfortable range. Saying "Mountain" or "Martin" with hard
"t" may be fine or proper for an English Lord. However, it takes more
effort, and is less "comfortable", than just using a soft "t"
instead.So, whenever I hear my Frontrunner engineer say "Welcome to
Layton station." with a hard "t" in the middle of Layton, I know he
means well. However, he could probably tone it down a bit, just like the lesson
taught to Mr. Martin so many years ago. Come to think of it, one of my
Frontrunner engineers does have an English accent; maybe she's exempt from
the comfortable "t" rule.
SillyRabbit:[There is wrong and write.]Right? Not sure if
you're trying to be ironic, but this actually brings up an important
point.Too many people on this board don't seem to understand
that written and oral communication are two separate things. Several
comments on here have complained about 's' use. Some were complaints
about written forms ('s) some were oral forms (the Minnesota/Michigan use).
Nobody can tell if you're adding an apostrophe to a non-possessive
's' when you're speaking. Same with when you say "Should
of" or "Should've".The "English" you
learned in you "English Composition" classes was just that, for
PROFESSIONAL written communication. It's a standard form used in formal
circumstances, and has little to do with day-to-day communication. Historically,
English wasn't even considered good enough for written communication, and
Latin and French were used instead.However, Standard usage does
change too. You can use "May I" instead of "Can I", but it
doesn't make you educated, and will probably just make people laugh at you,
as most educated people use "Can I".Language does change and
your grade-school teacher is a poor authority.
Um gunna git miself up ta laytun reeeeal soon.
@Mike in Sandy - in addition to having lived in several regions of the United
State, I also travel all over the country in my work. However, my work requires
me to interact with the common folk, not legal professionals. If you're
comparing common folk in Utah to legal professionals across the country, I would
certainly expect you to find a great disparity. I can assure you that common
people in many parts of the country certainly butcher our language far worse
than you'll generally find here in Utah. Common Utahns are not even close
to the worst language offenders.
Wow, I thought *everybody* dropped the "t" in "mountain." As a
former Californian, I can attest to the fact that a lot of ugly language
trickles its way across the country via TV--usually through woman (and I am a
woman!). Pet peeve of the day: Girls/women who say "Think you" instead
of "Thank you." The language has become too nasal and whiny!
And since the subject, one dear to my heart, has come up, let me state that, in
spite of the height to which the particular writer has risen, there is still no
way that "alright" will ever be a correct or real word. It is a two-word
phrase, "all right". Personally, it has the same effect on my
grammarian's eyes as fingernails on a chalkboard do on my ears. I
absolutely had to use this occasion to mention this. It may not be my only
complaint, only my biggest one. Thank you, to every teacher who had anything to
do with teaching me grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, and all the rest,
who held my feet to the fire, and insisted, no matter which subject they taught,
in seeing the correct use of language on my paper. That includes my ninth grade
English teacher, when I did papers in French, who expected no less than the same
things from me as she did when others did the same work in English. Mrs.
Madison, you were the greatest!
Fascinating. My grandmother was from Lakeshore. People there said rocheer for
right here. "The pencil is rocheer." I learned the Cajun dialect does
the same. What is the connection???
Knew somebody who said, wau ter rather than wadder.
@kargirl, what is your definition of a "real" word? There's no
question that prescriptive grammarians prefer the spelling "all right"
over "alright", so if the definition of a "real" word is
"whatever the high school English teacher prescribed" then you're
set; you need never think for yourself again. If, however, you were to come up
with linguistic criteria for a "real" word, you might consider that in
conversational American speech, "all right" has only a single stress and
undergoes considerable phonetic assimilation between the 'l' and
'r' (contrast with "all wrong" which has two stresses and
typically less phonetic assimilation at the shared word boundary). You might
also consider how tightly bound "all" and "right" are
syntactically--you can't insert anything in between them (for example,
"all quite right") and retain the same meaning. Speaking of meaning, the
semantics of "all right" are not simply the sum of the semantics of
"all" and "right", although English speakers can see the
connection.In spite of all that, I'm going to continue to
follow the prescribed (snobby?) practice of writing "all right" as two
words. But I don't fault those who choose the more linguistically
Mike in Sandy - you attack two disparate points in your initial post - language
usage and orthography. The large majority of people have been illiterate through
history, but were still able to speak and communicate well. In fact,
many cultures have maintained "oral literature," since they had not yet
developed writing. The Iliad and Beowulf were both recited by various performers
for centuries before being written. The poetry in either case, along with
various formulae, served to stimulate the memory of the reciter. The
article is about pronunciation, therefore observations on orthography are
irrelevant. As to spoken English, you should grab a copy of
Shaw's "Pygmalian" or even watch "My Fair Lady" to hear the
statements of a true language pedant. Henry Higgins wonders why the English
don't teach their children to speak correctly, lamenting the presence of
dialects, using Norwegian and Greek as models of consistency. As one travels
either country, one finds dialects. In German - a truly scholarly country - a
native of Hamburg can barely follow conversation in a Munich tavern because of
dialect difference. Turning a medial “T” to a lenis
occlusive is normal. Compare Latin Pater, Spanish padre & French.
Never noticed much of an accent in Utah when I lived there. The only weird thing
about Utah pronunciation I ever noticed was how some of the old fogies there
changed OR sounds to AR. Never heard that anywhere else. Barders and Carners and
Farks, oh my.
My friend would tease me when I went to Utah to visit my cousins (I left there
to live in California when I was 8) because I would come back with an accent.
Only thing is she would call me "an Alabama grandma". I
have lived in Washington state for 37 years and have chuckled at the words
mentioned in the previous comments and realized that there are several that I
still pronounce like a Utahn ("layg" for "leg" is an
example).Lastly, there is an ex-governor from Wasila, Alaska that
also pronounces "real" as "rill". Just saying.
The headline! Oh, the humanity!"Utahns who drop the T in words like
'mountain' not so unusual, Y study says"Should be:"Utahns who drop the T in words like 'mountain' ARE not so
unusual, Y study says"
Who gives a flip? :) I was born and raised in Utah but I've
lived in California, Texas, and Tennessee. I've traveled extensively in
the South and I love the regional dialects. If I drop the T in mountain or
kitten it doesn't matter. It's part of who I am and where I come
from. I have an accaintance from Idaho who tries to speak
"proper" English. She does it so well that many people ask if she is
from England. But while her speech is beautiful she comes across as a pompous
twit and has very few friends.My point is that speaking
"proper" English doesn't make you better than someone else. So get
your noses out of the air and rap Mrs. Tracy on the knuckles for giving you the
impression that it would.
The one that gets me is "axe", as in "I will axe him that
On my way to Ogden, do I pass through Layton or Layuhn??
I enjoy wearing high "hills". I'm goin' "up
to" the grocery store.Do you want that in a "sack"?He doesn't hunt anymore, but he "used to could".