Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who is droppin' the letter g and why?


  droppin' the letter   

Language and pronunciation have always fascinated me.  I constantly listen to speech patterns and to the various expressions people use.  I strongly believe that language mirrors society.  It is the harbinger of social trends.
In recent years, the dropping of the letter "g" has become increasingly common in the English-speaking world, particularly among politicians and broadcasters.  It has always been a popular staple of songs and song titles.  Singers, especially country singers, commonly g-drop.  Sometimes g-dropping is done for rhyming purposes in lyrics and in album titles.  For example, Paul Simon's There Goes Rhymin' Simon flows much better better than There goes Rhyming Simon.

G-dropping is rife among television hosts and politicians, especially American politicians.  It does not seem to be as prevalent in the speech of British and Canadian politicians.  Sarah Palin is notorious for g-dropping; however it is unfair to just single her out.  It's not just Palin's failin'.  John McCain does it and so do Bill Clinton and George W.  Bush.  G-dropping, however, goes beyond Republicans and Southerners.  President Barack Obama, a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, also has the habit.  Obama talks about "hard workin' American families."  Often, instead of "to" he says "ta"  as in "This is the time for Americans ta seek new opportunities and ta create jobs . . ."

In many cases, this g-dropping is no accident.  It is deliberate and calculated.  Politicians, especially conservative American politicians, want to sound folksy and down-home friendly.  They want to give the impression that they are one of the ordinary people, not some high falutin' snob with high brow tastes.  It's a definite sign of the times, a reflection of anti-intellectualism.  It's part of the long-time steadily increasing casualness of society in dress, manners and deportment.

As for television and radio broadcasters, especially sports announcers, they just want to sound like one of the boys.  Before commercials, they tend to say, "comin' up next."  I can't remember the last time I heard a sports announcer say, "coming up next."  On CNN, Anderson Cooper hosts a segment of his show called "Keeping Them Honest."  Cooper, however, refers to it as "Keepin' Them Honest." 

I also think that g-dropping is partly due to laziness.  It takes more effort and concentration to enunciate.  That is why I don't expect g-dropping to end any time soon.  It is no longer just the mark of Cockneys and country bumpkins.



I watched the All-Star Game last night.  The National League won 5-1.  It was the second consecutive All-Star victory for the NL.  It seems as if the era of American League dominance is over.

It was great to see Toronto Blue Jay slugger Jose Bautista in the All-Star Game.  Bautista leads the majors with 31 home runs at the break.  If he continues to hit homers at this pace, he'll surpass the 54 taters he hit last season.  Congratulation Joey Bats!  I just wish your team was in contention for a playoff spot.

- Joanne

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