Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Across vs. acrosst

(Sorry about the sloppy formatting - it was my first time doing an in-post poll and I can't change it now since people have already voted.)

Without exception, every person who I have heard say "acrosst" with the T at the end has been from Utah, or was raised by people from Utah, or had strong Utah influences on their linguistic upbringing. This includes Ken Jennings, by the way, if I remember correctly (edit: apparently I don't). I can't figure this one out. It is as puzzling to me as crayon=crown was to some of you.

What is going on here? Why the final T sound? Am I the only one who has heard it pronounced that way?

Peripheral discussion: I have noticed that someone who says "acrosst" often says "drownded" (for "drowned") and "drawled" (for "drawed," which itself should be "drew"). Again, what is going on here?


Laura said...

I have heard people say across with a t sound at the end. I agree with you that those raised in Utah do say things a little differently.

Liz Johnson said...

Across. There is no T.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I've notice Utahs also say 'askterisk' instead of asterisk.

Jennifer said...

Yes, I think it is a Utah thing...and it really bugs me! :)

JosephJ said...

I can't speak for those who say things like that out of habit, but I can speak for those who goof. Somehow they blend "I crossed the street" with "I walked across the street." I do things like that all the time. Yesterday, Ian was saying, "I am feeling alonely," which I would put in the same category as acrossed. Drowned-ed is a perfect example. And the road I had driven recently I both "did drive" and "drove," which leaves plenty of room for goofs. And why is it that people are hanged and coats are hung?

Maybe another suspicious word for discussion should be "learnt." Though this may just be phonetic...

Jeanerbee said...

Here's a Utah-ism for you "used to could" as in "you used to could do that." And "choirpractor" for chiropractor. And "tending" for babysitting.

Lindsay said...

Man, Bridget. I am going to start being self-concious about everything I say now. Pretty soon I'm just going to give up on all correct pronunciations and start saying fork like my grandma does: "fark" :) (by the way she grew up in Utah County, and has many Utah-isms that she has so graciously passed onto me).

Jen and Reed said...

Amen! I can't stand when people miss pronounce words or add odd things on to them. Especially drawled...WHAT???!!!

Natchel said...

My sister says D's at the end of gown. Like.. night gowned. She puts other strange consonants on the end of words and I don't know where she got it! Night gowned...

Nancy said...

Ew, ew, ew! Do we even have to discuss this?


Britney said...

Natchel, in addition to adding D's to the ends of words, I've also noticed Utahns adding a hard "G" sound to the end of their verbs, i.e. goinG, talkinG, singinG.

Has anyone else noticed this??

Jennifer said...

Britney, I have a friend who grew up in Utah and overseas and she puts the hard G on the end of lots of words.

Linda said...

I can't help but put in my pet peeve. Some Utah folks, mostly young, I think...
say MOW 'uhn

OR SOMETHING akin to that..for
MOUNTAIN. It seems to me, they swallow the NT?

Can someone explain this better than I ?

Joseph, I think people are hung too. But its past time to stop that.

of course Southerners have to beware...I am WELL aware that I used to say Mirra, Yella, Winda,
and ohhhhl. But we are not talking abigh-oot Southerners raht nayh-ooh. And shouldn't start.

Kat Clark said...

Ok first off, cray-on! Ugh! I don't know why that bugs me so dang much. Sorry. Next, definitely no T on the end. That is just weird and it makes you sound stupid. I was raised in Utah and I don't say acrosst. Never, ever. I also hate when people from Utah say melk for milk, pellow for pillow, mou-ens for mountains and alls for all. As in, "alls I have to do is." Why?! AHHH!

JosephJ said...

So now I have to ask, since Britney brought it up:

Shouldn't "singing" be said "seeng-eeng"? I like "singin' in the rain" as much as the next guy, but still.

And what's with "talkeen" to people while "walkeen" down the street?

I think the "g" of the "ng" fame gets highly underrated. To me "hanger" and "anger" ought to rhyme. "han-ger"

Bridget, perhaps you could ask folks about "ring finger" and see if the "g" is just a ghost letter...

Shannan said...

Holy Cow - you just identified one of the chief arguments my husband and I have!!
I was raised in Utah and too often say "acrost". My Seattle raised husband always points it out to me and it ALWAYS bothers him!! He says, "Why do you say it that way?" and I shrug and say, "I have no idea why".

Now I know and don't know if I can ever stop it. Maybe my Oregon raised children will never say it.

I just read through the comments and I shamefully slip up sometimes and say "used to could". OMGOSH - that peeves my husband more than anything!! I didn't know that there were others!! I'm blaming it all on my Utah roots.

Bridget said...

Joe, I think you're right about some of the "acrosst" instances (mistaking it for "crossed"). But surely not all of them.

Also, I was going to mention the hard g thing, and its walk-een, sing-een cousin. It's interesting that you hear both of those in the same region.

Sharalea said...

I have spent the past almost-5 years living in Western Kentucky & have heard plenty of extra "t" as in the example "Acrosst" also "twice't", etc. Very common to hear in that area of the south.

Also sometimes the last "st" is left off...I heard while we were moving our furniture someone say "let's put this agin' the wall" (against).

I have to say I used to be an English language snob. I would notice things, write them down in a notebook, and ponder how such proper English could get twisted into *THAT*.

(Other ex: "relator" for realtor, "nucular" for nuclear, etc)

As a student of languages, I was further interested in the discrepancies between accents, dialects, local phrases, etc (studied differences in spanish and portuguese dialetcs as well)--

And after I finished an English Language class thru -the BYU- (Modern American Usage), I changed my viewpoint from ANNOYED by what I thought was "wrong" into FASCINATED by how people spoke in different areas of the country, different social circles, different education levels, etc.

Point is, if person A can understand person B, then it works.

Language is amazing. I love noticing and pointing out the differences, and enjoying them!

Bridget said...

Sharalea, you express very well my sentiments. I've tried to phrase these quizzes carefully - not how things should be pronounced, but how they ARE pronounced, by you.

That said, I will admit that I am an occasional pronunciation snob and I think "acrosst" is one of those times. It has bothered me since childhood.

Mikael said...

I hate utah accents! totally annoying. I think they are meaning to say "acrossed"... who knows. Kinda like I hate when people say Fred MeyerSSSSSSSSSSS... there is no S!!!!!! Or, the Doctorsssssssss grrrrrrrr.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

This is off topic but Mikael's comment reminded me of it. I read about this man who is an 'apostrophe Nazi' if that's the right way to phrase it. He hates misplaced or left-out apostrophes so much that he actually carries in his car a box of markers so that when he sees an error in a sign he can fix it. He blots out unnecessary apostrophes or adds them where necessary. And get this, he can mimic whatever font the sign uses so his work isn't obvious. Now why didn't I think of that? For 20 years I have driven past a local farm with a sign advertising EGG'S for sale & every single time someone in the car is sure to mention how annoying that is. Just recently they removed the sign (had a big chicken dinner?) so the problem is solved.

Nancy said...

Ooh, ooh! Another Utah-ism I just thought of (might be more widespread than Utah):

Height pronounced as "heighth" so that it, what, fits in with width and breadth?

I stick a hard G in my -ing words but I only started doing that when I learned how to read. I was overcorrecting myself by the time I was 5.

In the -ing ending, the "ng" letters are used to represent a nasal-velor sound, so similar-ish to how a "G" would sound if you forced it out your nose. So it shouldn't have a hard "G" but shouldn't be a plain, old -een, either. Although, I often do put the hard "G" in there.

Hanger and anger rhyme in my world.

Oh, and another thing...often and soften. I grew up saying often with a "t," which is apparently "wrong." But we shorten it to "oft" in songs and things and say it with a t.

I just realized the other day that I don't say the "t" in soften. Wouldn't that be weird? But often pronounced without the "t" sounds weird to me, too.

Anyway, one day I'm going to go back to school and do more linguistics. It's amazingly addictive, isn't it?

Nancy said...

And, Bridget, I agree with you...I can happily wonder about most things but hearing "acrosst" seriously makes me cringe.

My dance coach used it all the time...

"Go acrosst the stage!"

"Put your arm acrosst his back!"

Stop saying that!

Linda said...

So, with all my annoyance (interest?)
in Mou- en ( thankyou, Kat),
I said it to myself last night enough to know that I say "mount-nnnn" but even MY "T" is very soft . very. Not at all by my front teeth, but in the back of my mouth.

And I READ out loud-
Mount-uhn. Clearly a sharp T.
So my reading is much more concise than my regular speaking...

and I do say " USED TO COULD "

hanger-anger rhymes here, Joseph...
does it not in Boston?

Lisa Lou said...

I get comments a lot on the hard "g" and hard "t" - miTTen, buTTon. I've tried to swallow the "tt" in those words so they don't sound so "British" but then I feel like I'm choking on the words. I don't think my mouth can not make those sounds. If you've grown up speaking a certain way, it's really hard to change it! Even though I annoy myself!

Susanne said...

Loved this from Sharalea -- "Language is amazing. I love noticing and pointing out the differences, and enjoying them!"

Me, too!

Mikael --- I wonder if "I'm going to the doctor's" is short for going to the "doctor's office" thus the needed "s." I've pondered that one before myself. :-)

Suzanne -- Oh, "egg's" would annoy me, too! LOL @ the big chicken dinner. That made me laugh.

"Hanger and anger rhyme in my world." -- Mine, too!

I use and hear "might could" and "used to could" sounds normal for where I live -- which isn't Utah!

Oh, back to the post. I say across with NO "t" on the end.

I enjoyed this post, Bridget. Thank you.

Ken said...

Saw the link to my blog...had to defend my good name. I lived in Utah for over a decade, but please note I never said "acrost" once. (I can provide witnesses and affidavits.)

Other things I never said:
"may-zure" and "trea-zure"

Thanks for letting me set the record straight.

Ken Jennings

Bridget said...

Huh. I could have sworn I heard you say it. I remember feeling so sad that this particular Utahism had gotten you, too.

Sorry for unintentionally defaming you and thanks for stopping by to defend yourself!

Liz Johnson said...

Um Ken Jennings? Hi. We are big fans. Glad you came across (no 't') Bridget's blog.

Bridget, you are mega famous.

Kevin Walker said...

I've trained my wife to say it the right way, but it took some work. I still tease my mother about saying traysure, maysure, laysure, playsure, etc. She also calls our first president "Warshington" and the place where I live, "Valencha."

Hello Michiko! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have heard "acrosst" quite often from native New Mexicans and native Oregonians. I have not heard it in Texas or California.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed the acrossed while doing crosswords with others at work. Also my teacher, who is very articulate, says, "acrosst/acrossed." Niether of these are actual words though. I'm sure it comes from the mentality of "I have crossed the street, so now I am acrossed the street

Anonymous said...

To the "apostrophe nazi" comment, that guy could spend the rest of his life tracking down all of the Macdonalds, which are all missing apostrophes. Awzum

Anonymous said...

These are words that I've heard mispronounced since moving to Seattle (makes me cringe to hear them pronounced this way):

processes= as if it were of Greek origin (e.g axes, nemeses, analyses)

It's funny because people in Seattle think they are intellectually superior to everyone else. Also, i no longer use Merriam-Webster since they believe some of the above pronunciations are okay; I'm convinced they may have a regional office here.

Sheyna said...

I hear "acrosst" quite a bit, all from native Minnesotans. I thought it was a Midwest thing. (I'm from CA, where we mispronounce other words, but not "across".)


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