Sunday, February 28, 2010

rastling with the dialect

Bin more 'n a hunred year ago this guy with the uppity name — Maximilian Schele de Vere — put out this book — Americanisms: the English of the New world — in which he tells the rubes how us Amuricans talk.

Here's 2 bits out o' it:
Allow, to, is constantly used in the Middle and Southern States in the sense of affirming a statement. "I allow that's a good horse," in Southern parlance means, I assure you." Mother is perfectly ridiculous," a young South Carolina lady said; "she allowed she'd switch me if I didn't go home, and she picked up a bit of brush. I up with another, and told her to come on." (Putnam's Magazine, June, 1868.) It is frequently, also, used in a more vague sense, corresponding with the "guess" of the East and the "reckon" of the South, as in John Hay's recent lines:
But I come back here allowin'
To vote as I used to do.
-- (Banty Tim.)
Peert — frequently written peart, and in all probability a corruption of pert — is common in all parts of the Union. It is one of the good old words, used once upon a time by English writers, but now obsolete in England, while surviving vigorously in America. "You shall know them by their very gate; they walk so peartly about." (Burroughs, On Hosea, p. 115 : 1652.) "Fust rate, never felt pearter in my life. Tell ye what, that was a busting medicine." (Lippincott's Magazine, March, 1871, p. 246.) "He observed that the master was looking peartish, and hoped lie had gotten over the neuralgia and the rheumatism; he himself had been troubled with a dumb ager since last conference, but he had learnt to rastle (wrestle) and pray." (F. B. Harte, Luck of Roaring Camp, p. 166.) Perk, pronounced peerk, is probably but another corruption of the same root.
Bonus for Yankee speakers:
Pandowdy, a dish consisting of stewed apples, into which the crust covering them has been stirred, and "bearing," it has been said, "to apple-pie the relation of the vulgar to the well-bred," is, no doubt, the descendant of Halliwell's pandoudle. The word, like the dish, is known only in New England.

{the real dowdy stuff; source: Gourmet(!)}

See also: History and Legends Cobbler - Crisps - Crumble - Brown Betty - Buckle - Grunts - Slumps - Bird's Nest Pudding - Sonker -Pandowdy

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