Ancient.....

... I'm continually amazed at how quickly the world spins by..... it seems like just yesterday I sat here and peered out into the woods outside the blogroom and marveled at the blooms, naked trunks, and scaly bark..... and now?..... it is completely green.... almost overnight, the trees have sprouted leaves...... even the sunflowers that The Missus planted a few days ago are already three inches tall..... one of them even has the 'shell' of the seed from which it sprung clinging to one of its leaves...... amazing.... that shell is gripping that green little leaf like there is no tomorrow......

.... in other news, I was playing around with some dialogue today and stumbled up on something that I found incredibly interesting..... around here, in the foothills of Appalachia, I often hear people use the word "hit" instead of "it" when speaking..... I had always just assumed that it was merely a product of the basic hillbilly accent..... but as I was digging through the dictionary today, I happened upon this little nugget from Webster.com..... check this out....

"Our Living Language : "I told Anse it likely won't be no need." This quotation from William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying demonstrates a use of it that occurs in some vernacular varieties of American speech. It is used instead of Standard English there when there functions as a so-called existential—that is, when there indicates the mere existence of something rather than a physical location, as in It was nothing I could do. Existential it is hardly a recent innovation—it appears in Middle English; in Elizabethan English, as in Marlowe's Edward II: "Cousin, it is no dealing with him now"; and in modern American literature as well. Although most British and American varieties no longer have this historical feature, it still occurs in some Southern-based dialects and in African American Vernacular English. Use of existential it may actually be increasing in some places, such as Smith Island, Maryland, a historically isolated community. While older Smith Islanders sometimes use existential it rather than there, younger islanders almost always do. · In some American vernacular dialects, particularly in the South (including the Appalachian and Ozark mountains), speakers may pronounce it as hit in stressed positions, especially at the beginning of a sentence, as in Hit's cold out here! This pronunciation is called a relic dialect feature because it represents the retention of an older English form. In fact, hit is the original form of the third person singular neuter pronoun and thus can be traced to the beginnings of the Old English period (c. 449-1100). Early in the history of English, speakers began to drop the h from hit, particularly in unaccented positions, as in I saw it yesterday. Gradually, h also came to be lost in accented positions, although hit persisted in socially prestigious speech well into the Elizabethan period. Some relatively isolated dialects in Great Britain and the United States have retained h, since linguistic innovations such as the dropping of h are often slow to reach isolated areas. But even in such places, h tends to be retained only in accented words. Thus, we might hear Hit's the one I want side by side with I took it back to the store. Nowadays, hit is fading even in the most isolated dialect communities and occurs primarily among older speakers. · This loss of h reflects a longstanding tendency among speakers of English to omit h's in unaccented words, particularly pronouns, such as 'er and 'im for her and him, as in I told 'er to meet me outside. This kind of h-loss is widespread in casual speech today, even though it is not reflected in spelling."

... emphasis mine, of course, but wow!..... all this time I have assumed that my Grandparents were just speaking with an accent..... but actually, it is just an ancient (and correct) form of English......

.... that's just plain cool.....

by Eric on April 26, 2008 | Bullshit (10) | TrackBack (0) | Blogging
Bullshit So Far

yep, ain't you never heard some Marine say, " Hit don't make no gotdam difference."

Used to be a pretty common sayin' among us USAf enlisted swine

Bullshitted by GUYK on April 26, 2008 04:52 PM

That was an awesome little essay. I love language dialects. Scribal Terror had a good one today, too.

I remember being a bit taken with the folks in Andy Griffith's Mt.Airy home:

"I'm on up t'the store. Y'ant me t'keery y'up?"


Bullshitted by Joan of Argghh! on April 26, 2008 05:13 PM

Have you noticed that "human" is being pronounced more like "uman" these days? And what about "herb"? It used to be herb, then it became erb, and now it's back to herb. What's up with that? Can't we just leave those "H's" alone?! *Heavy sigh...*

Bullshitted by DogsDontPurr on April 26, 2008 09:58 PM

Well. Hain't it the truth!

Bullshitted by Jerry on April 26, 2008 10:40 PM

i'm an H'er. Drives me crazy to hear somebody say "umble"..."Oh but he's so umble" Umble? The ell did you just say?

Bullshitted by Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper on April 26, 2008 11:33 PM

Now I can't wait for the next opportunity to tell someone that he/she is full of sit.

Bullshitted by Jim - PRS on April 27, 2008 12:58 AM

Heck, with all the influence the Scots had in settling the area, I reckon this is just another sign of their frugal nature. Don't throw anything away as hit might be useful someday.

Bullshitted by joated on April 27, 2008 09:48 AM

The study of linguistics is very interesting. I like the way the Okies drop their L's as in "I tode you it's code here."

In NM, my Hispanic students no longer spoke Spanish, but their language was full of oddities that they could not explain like: "Get down from the bus" or "Get off the car" (instead of out) or my favorite, "What day are we today?" Meaning what day is it.

Bullshitted by Lou on April 28, 2008 09:47 AM

Actually that last one was ususally, "What are we today?"

Bullshitted by Lou on April 28, 2008 09:48 AM

My brother once let a streetwalker hop in his car. When he realized how nasty she was, she must have sensed his unease, because she said "Don't worry. Hit's clain." Faulkner wudda been proud. Hell, Anse Bundren wudda been proud.

Bullshitted by Velociman on April 29, 2008 07:25 PM