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May 20, 2009


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Just a li'l observation: I'm not a linguist, but I assume that when you mention 'flapping' you are referring to the use of the glottal stop. I've never heard it called flapping before, though.

I expect Lewis Carroll would have suggested that it be spelled li'l', with one apostrophe for the elided "tt" and another for the missing final "e" (which was silent anyway, but so what?). (See http://q-pheevr.livejournal.com/40264.html for a discussion of his ca'n't and sha'n't and wo'n't.)

@Chris: My understanding is that a glottal stop involves the back of the throat, while "flapping" (that's the word used in the sources I read) involves the tongue against the hard palate. But maybe a real linguist would like to clarify.

Flapping is (for Americans) the "t" sound in "butter," etc. -- such that "latter" sounds like "ladder." Glottal stop is the sound in the middle of "Oh-oh!"

>hood ornament

Well, there are heavy-metal umlauts, why not hood-ornament apostrophes? There's also a band these days named "The Academy Is ...", complete with gratuitous ellipsis. Ever will there be uses for punctuation marks that have only a vague relation to the marks' putative purpose. Ya knø?

Very interesting, I had never heard of this. Sounds like eye candy for words.

Charles Schulz, not Schultz.

Are you sure it's supposed to be eye dialect? The OED has an entry for lil as a colloquial contraction of little, and the pronunciation matches the spelling. Most of their citations are spelled lil, but some, especially more recent ones, are spelled li'l.

@Jonathon: Some sources give "lil" as an alternate spelling of "li'l," but "li'l" is the preferred American spelling. No sources give a spelling with terminal apostrophe. The "li'l" spelling goes back at least to 1898: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/li%27l

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