Comments about ‘Utahns who drop the T in words like 'mountain' not so unusual, Y study says’

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Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9 2013 6:00 a.m. MST

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Layton, 00

To Cat

If it is strictly organic, why did you follow the contemporary, nailed-down, inorganic rules in your unmistakeably well-crafted response?

Because language needs order. I'd say that it does need to be nailed down, now and again, before and after growth. Not saying it won't adopt or adapt, just that all this "Everything can be right" nonsense makes me roll my eyes.

There is wrong and write.

Weston Jurney
West Jordan, UT

In my work I speak with people all over the country. Sometimes they meet stereotypes. A lot of Minnesotans sound like the caricatures on "A Prairie Home Companion." I've spoken to a couple of women in Tennessee who sounded for all the world like Dolly Parton. And a lot of ladies in Indiana sound like David Letterman's mother.

OTOH, sometimes people ask me where I am. They usually seem surprised when I tell them.

That said, do you know how you determine your inseam size in Utah? You maysure your layg.

West Haven, UT

Years ago my language teacher told me a story about "Dave Martin" who manufactures garage doors in Salt Lake City. In the 80's he would sign off on his tv commercials with the phrase "Tell them Dave Martin sent you.". He tried to carefully enunciate his last name making sure the "t" in the middle of Martin was clearly pronounced. He was contacted by a linguist who taught him to pronounce his name with a soft, comfortable "t"; not a hard "t".
This story taught me that language should fit into a comfortable range. Saying "Mountain" or "Martin" with hard "t" may be fine or proper for an English Lord. However, it takes more effort, and is less "comfortable", than just using a soft "t" instead.
So, whenever I hear my Frontrunner engineer say "Welcome to Layton station." with a hard "t" in the middle of Layton, I know he means well. However, he could probably tone it down a bit, just like the lesson taught to Mr. Martin so many years ago. Come to think of it, one of my Frontrunner engineers does have an English accent; maybe she's exempt from the comfortable "t" rule.

Salt Lake City, UT

[There is wrong and write.]

Right? Not sure if you're trying to be ironic, but this actually brings up an important point.

Too many people on this board don't seem to understand that written and oral communication are two separate things.

Several comments on here have complained about 's' use. Some were complaints about written forms ('s) some were oral forms (the Minnesota/Michigan use). Nobody can tell if you're adding an apostrophe to a non-possessive 's' when you're speaking. Same with when you say "Should of" or "Should've".

The "English" you learned in you "English Composition" classes was just that, for PROFESSIONAL written communication. It's a standard form used in formal circumstances, and has little to do with day-to-day communication. Historically, English wasn't even considered good enough for written communication, and Latin and French were used instead.

However, Standard usage does change too. You can use "May I" instead of "Can I", but it doesn't make you educated, and will probably just make people laugh at you, as most educated people use "Can I".

Language does change and your grade-school teacher is a poor authority.

Bountiful, UT

Um gunna git miself up ta laytun reeeeal soon.

Cedar Hills, UT

@Mike in Sandy - in addition to having lived in several regions of the United State, I also travel all over the country in my work. However, my work requires me to interact with the common folk, not legal professionals. If you're comparing common folk in Utah to legal professionals across the country, I would certainly expect you to find a great disparity. I can assure you that common people in many parts of the country certainly butcher our language far worse than you'll generally find here in Utah. Common Utahns are not even close to the worst language offenders.

Spencerport, NY

Wow, I thought *everybody* dropped the "t" in "mountain." As a former Californian, I can attest to the fact that a lot of ugly language trickles its way across the country via TV--usually through woman (and I am a woman!). Pet peeve of the day: Girls/women who say "Think you" instead of "Thank you." The language has become too nasal and whiny!

Sacramento, CA

And since the subject, one dear to my heart, has come up, let me state that, in spite of the height to which the particular writer has risen, there is still no way that "alright" will ever be a correct or real word. It is a two-word phrase, "all right". Personally, it has the same effect on my grammarian's eyes as fingernails on a chalkboard do on my ears. I absolutely had to use this occasion to mention this. It may not be my only complaint, only my biggest one. Thank you, to every teacher who had anything to do with teaching me grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, and all the rest, who held my feet to the fire, and insisted, no matter which subject they taught, in seeing the correct use of language on my paper. That includes my ninth grade English teacher, when I did papers in French, who expected no less than the same things from me as she did when others did the same work in English. Mrs. Madison, you were the greatest!


Fascinating. My grandmother was from Lakeshore. People there said rocheer for right here. "The pencil is rocheer." I learned the Cajun dialect does the same. What is the connection???


Knew somebody who said, wau ter rather than wadder.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

@kargirl, what is your definition of a "real" word? There's no question that prescriptive grammarians prefer the spelling "all right" over "alright", so if the definition of a "real" word is "whatever the high school English teacher prescribed" then you're set; you need never think for yourself again. If, however, you were to come up with linguistic criteria for a "real" word, you might consider that in conversational American speech, "all right" has only a single stress and undergoes considerable phonetic assimilation between the 'l' and 'r' (contrast with "all wrong" which has two stresses and typically less phonetic assimilation at the shared word boundary). You might also consider how tightly bound "all" and "right" are syntactically--you can't insert anything in between them (for example, "all quite right") and retain the same meaning. Speaking of meaning, the semantics of "all right" are not simply the sum of the semantics of "all" and "right", although English speakers can see the connection.

In spite of all that, I'm going to continue to follow the prescribed (snobby?) practice of writing "all right" as two words. But I don't fault those who choose the more linguistically defensible spelling.

Provo, UT

Mike in Sandy - you attack two disparate points in your initial post - language usage and orthography. The large majority of people have been illiterate through history, but were still able to speak and communicate well.

In fact, many cultures have maintained "oral literature," since they had not yet developed writing. The Iliad and Beowulf were both recited by various performers for centuries before being written. The poetry in either case, along with various formulae, served to stimulate the memory of the reciter.

The article is about pronunciation, therefore observations on orthography are irrelevant.

As to spoken English, you should grab a copy of Shaw's "Pygmalian" or even watch "My Fair Lady" to hear the statements of a true language pedant. Henry Higgins wonders why the English don't teach their children to speak correctly, lamenting the presence of dialects, using Norwegian and Greek as models of consistency. As one travels either country, one finds dialects. In German - a truly scholarly country - a native of Hamburg can barely follow conversation in a Munich tavern because of dialect difference.

Turning a medial “T” to a lenis occlusive is normal. Compare Latin Pater, Spanish padre & French.

Walnut Creek, CA

Never noticed much of an accent in Utah when I lived there. The only weird thing about Utah pronunciation I ever noticed was how some of the old fogies there changed OR sounds to AR. Never heard that anywhere else. Barders and Carners and Farks, oh my.

Ridgefield, WA

My friend would tease me when I went to Utah to visit my cousins (I left there to live in California when I was 8) because I would come back with an accent. Only thing is she would call me "an Alabama grandma".

I have lived in Washington state for 37 years and have chuckled at the words mentioned in the previous comments and realized that there are several that I still pronounce like a Utahn ("layg" for "leg" is an example).

Lastly, there is an ex-governor from Wasila, Alaska that also pronounces "real" as "rill". Just saying.

Reasonable Person
Layton, UT

The headline! Oh, the humanity!
"Utahns who drop the T in words like 'mountain' not so unusual, Y study says"

Should be:
"Utahns who drop the T in words like 'mountain' ARE not so unusual, Y study says"

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Who gives a flip? :)

I was born and raised in Utah but I've lived in California, Texas, and Tennessee. I've traveled extensively in the South and I love the regional dialects. If I drop the T in mountain or kitten it doesn't matter. It's part of who I am and where I come from.

I have an accaintance from Idaho who tries to speak "proper" English. She does it so well that many people ask if she is from England. But while her speech is beautiful she comes across as a pompous twit and has very few friends.

My point is that speaking "proper" English doesn't make you better than someone else. So get your noses out of the air and rap Mrs. Tracy on the knuckles for giving you the impression that it would.

Raeann Peck
Salt Lake City, UT

The one that gets me is "axe", as in "I will axe him that question".

Wally West

On my way to Ogden, do I pass through Layton or Layuhn??

Henderson, NV

I enjoy wearing high "hills".

I'm goin' "up to" the grocery store.

Do you want that in a "sack"?

He doesn't hunt anymore, but he "used to could".

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