Wednesday, February 01, 2006

dialect variation & Missour-uh

I was curious enough about this situation to actually write an expert in dialects; this was a couple of years ago, and I hope I remembered it right. I wanted to know what the deal was with Missour-ee vs. Missour-ah. Who says which? Why? Turns out that in the early days of the state it was settled by groups of people from the Midland states (including Maryland...people who had moved west through CincinNATT-uh)...and those were the ones who said Missour-ah. The others said Missour-ee. Neither version had any special meaning, they were just names for the state, and since it was rural, the people in different parts of it didn't have that much contact with each other, or with television, so they both survived for a while.

But times are a lot different now; geography is less important in determining which one you'd choose. Everyone has heard them both and chooses which to use based more on their idea of how they want to sound: more local, more folksy (Missour-ah), or more worldly, more in touch with the media (Missour-ee)...and that's how dialect goes these days. There aren't many people who haven't heard them both; at least, there aren't many around here!



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