10.03.2005

Add the g!

It bugs me when Northerners don't add a "g" to the ends of words. Like "I'm doin' it," or "tryin' it," or "he's sayin' that..." or "the doorbell was ringin' but I didn't answer it."

It's not like people are in too much of a hurry to add the "g," they're just not being conscientious. (Or "bein' conscientious"? Maybe the missing g there is just a Southern thing).

What also seems to indicate a lack of attention is when people are talking about a past event, but they use present tense. Here's a hypothetical conversation between humans A and B:

A: I went to the store, and the lady says to me, "Is that all?" and I say, "Yeah."

B: Well I went to the gas station, and the guy's lookin' at me, like I'm crazy, because I don't have my credit card with me.

Hello! Use past tense! Sometimes people will describe an awful situation on a call-in radio talk show, and I can't help but keep track of how many times they're using the present tense to describe the past. Here's another fictitious example:

"I got home, and I walked in, and there's this guy standing there, holding a gun. It was scary. Luckily, I had my cell phone, so I call my husband and he runs in with a gun, and there's a big shoot-out, and then my husband says, 'I'm gonna kill you!' And then he kills the guy and there's blood everywhere."

You'd think that she wouldn't want to re-live such an awful experience, but by keeping it in present tense, she is. Keep it in the past, and we'll all be able to appreciate what you're saying (or sayin').

I wonder how this type of speech--the lack of a "g" and present tense for past--can be described. Is it from a lack of education and/or reading? Is it a regional thing, colloquial, or does it result from laziness?

3 comments:

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

10 03 05

Hello Metrolingua:
I ponder this issue from time to time; I think it could be a bastardization of some Scotch Irish or even Cockney accents. I have noticed that they cut off the NG quite often. One accent that you might like is the Long-Giland accent. There all the NGs are overly pronounced!! :) Have a nice day:)

mj said...

I'm just curious--are you British? You seem to know those accents well. What and where is Long-Giland?

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

10 07 05

Hello Metrolingua:
No I am not British, it is just that I have had British friends at different points in my life. I also spell certain things with a Continental bend, because as a child, I was sickly. So I read a lot of English literature, such as Tolkien, CS Lewis, I forget the name of the Secret Garden, but you get the picture. Pretty soo, I was spelling programme, colour, favourite, theatre simply from reading. Where is Long Giland you ask? Tee hee hee it is Long Island, NY. I have heard them REALLY over pronounce the NG sound. That is all :)