Monday, June 06, 2011

Annals of g-droppin'


On the homepage:

"He who warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms by ringing those bells, and makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

From the "today's paper" section:

"He who warned the British that they weren't gonna be taking away our arms by ringing those bells, and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

Can't say for sure what happened without access to the wire.* A quick search finds both versions of the quote, under the same byline, with the g-dropped version much more prevalent. (The commie-infested N&O and the extraplanetary WashTimes could have both fixed it on their own; weirder things have happened.) But it's a useful lesson in the perils of tryin' to reproduce dialect all the same. Have a listen for yourself at how well the g-dropped version represents Palin's comments. I hear "ringin" and "ridin" along with the ones marked in the text, though the "ng" is pretty clear on "warning." And if the first "gonna" is a "gonna," so are the two in the last clause.

It's worth puttin' the question to the AP (and/or your own political writers). What exactly are you trying to show about Palin's speech, and how consistent can you credibly claim to be about it -- either within a single sentence of hers or among candidates who may have those or other speech features despite their necktie-wearin' formality?

Political figures aren't the same thing as Real People, in many ways, so I'm somewhat less concerned about the social or class biases that dialect-marking in news accounts often implies. But that doesn't mean "no concerns at all." And given Palin's well-publicized delight in taking her persecution complex public, it really seems self-destructive to hand her something that looks so much like a double standard on a silver platter.

Besides, if the point is to show that Palin is dumb as a bag of hammers, g-droppin' is both irrelevant (the sentence itself takes care of that, regardless of whether you agree with her reading of history) and insufficient. I'm not sure Palin-speak can be captured with anything short of the full-on Walt Kelly treatment shown above.

* Would anyone at the AP like to check in?

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home