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Aug 15, 2001
This week's theme
Words about words

This week's words
eye dialect

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eye dialect

(eye-DY-uh-lekt) Pronunciation

noun: Unusual or nonstandard spelling to represent an uneducated or youthful speaker or to convey dialectal or colloquial speech.
Examples: wuz for was, enuff (enough), warez (wares), peepul (people), Strine (Australian).

[First used in print by George Phillip Krapp (1872-1934) in The English Language in America to denote spellings in which "the convention violated is one of the eyes, not of the ear."]

"It's known as eye dialect, 'sur'.
"The student celebrating her graduation with the words 'Yahoo I'm threw' printed on her mortar-board cap ('Must be joking', May 17) and a critic's strong disdain for the student's fracturing of the King's English ('Graduate should have checked 'dictshunary',' May 20), was a cute cryptic pun cast in a form known as eye dialect. Examples of eye dialect cuz for cousin, sez for says, threw for through. Perhaps, if the word 'threw' had been shielded within quotations marks, the student's intent would have been understood more readily. But, this would have robbed it of its spunk."
Richard Harris; Readers' Views; The Cincinnati Enquirer; Jun 3, 1998.


If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much. -Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former first lady (1929-1994)

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