Sunday, September 30, 2018

Give them hell, Harrison

No, they don't. OK, they do plump pretty well, but that's not how the slogan goes. If you remember something more in line with what the company says:
... or the ad at Wikipedia:
... you too might wonder what's going through the minds down at the remaining Sunday fishwrap that says "Detroit" in the nameplate.*

This is not a call for carefree g-droppin', but surely some balance of attention to what's said and what's being represented is in order. Here's a coincidental example from a midweek piece on the centenary of the Rouge River plant:
Bet he didn't. Like many of us, he probably contracted "must have," with the writer -- and any remaining editors -- never having heard the explanation that you're not "changing" a quote when you assume that the speaker got it right before the contraction. (Since this is an academic the paper quotes regularly on labor issues, it doesn't look like a class thing.) 

The AP, as is often the case, combines a good basic rule ("do not use substandard spellings such as 'gonna' or 'wanna' in attempts to convey regional dialects or substandard pronunciations") with just enough leeway to let writers trip themselves (" ... except to help a desired touch or to convey an emphasis by the speaker"; it's not the AP's fault if the "desired touch" is desired more often among people who don't look or talk like reporters). There's nothing substandard about "must've," though. And if the "emphasis of the speaker" is borne out by written practice -- well, give them hell, Harrison.

* Having a native speaker of Detroitish in the next room, I did ask. "Plump when you cook 'em" was what she remembered as well.

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Blogger Nick said...

And let's not even talk about the tiny inelegance of the upside-down apostrophe in _’em_.

10:23 AM, October 01, 2018  
Blogger fev said...

Wish we could, but the sheer amount of underbrush that has to be moved first ...

11:53 PM, October 07, 2018  

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