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December 05, 2013


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Toffee Talk - what a great name! Can you educate them in exchange for goodies? (I've offered my skills with wine lists but haven't been taken up on it ...)

We can probably say that 'tis has taken up a life of its own. Cliche, yes, but so is Santa Claus, presents, and everything else that is 'traditional' about this holiday in the US. 'Tis has become apart of the linguistic symbolism of the season. Acceptable (modern) usage of the term prevents 'tis from being used outside of the Christmas holiday.

However, that isn't 100% true either. You can vary 'Tis to Tis and Tis' and they are all considered equal (as non-elite variations of Christmas English).

The necessity of standardized (elite) variations of English are questionable here, in fact, maybe even detrimental in most cases. The usual rules and norms obviously do not apply. In fact, the question shouldn't be about regulating 'tis to the elite variety of American English. Instead, the question is: How do you set your Christmas culture far enough apart to build its own norms (and be catchy) and still be recognized as part of the Christmas culture? In this light all variation can be helpful, even if it abuses standardized variations of English.

An exception would obviously be places where elite variations of American English are expected at all times (such as, college newsletters, newspapers, academic journals, etc). In such places, standard English is a sign of validity, and thus non-standardized variation is always bad press even if it can set you apart.

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