Language lovers have long bewailed the sad state of pronunciation and
articulation in the United States. Both in sorrow and in anger, speakers
afflicted with sensitive ears wince at such mumblings as guvmint for government
and assessories for accessaories.
Indeed, everywhere we turn we are assaulted by a slew of slurrings. We
meet people who hafta, oughta or are gonna do something or who shoulda, woulda
or coulda done it. We hear how they love "drinkin outa bahls" (drinking out of
bottles) or how they've "jus been Nittly"(just been in Italy).
Here's a typically American exchange:
Translation: "Did you eat yet?" "No, did you?" "Let's go."
In a 1949 New Yorker article, John Davenport labeled this kind of
sublanguage with the delightfully appropriate name, "Slurvian." Taking
Davenport's lead, H. Alan Wycherley, in Word Study, distinguished between the
pure and impure uses of Slurvian. Impure Slurvian produces nonsense sounds,
such as those I have listed above. But Slurvian in its purest form
mispronounces English words into OTHER English words.
To help you to translate Slurvian into English and to perserve the growing
canon of American non-enunciation, I offer a grotesque glossary of pure
Ye Olde Glossary
American Slurvian Language
-from Anguished English by Richard Lederer
Antidote: A story. "I love your antidote about the time you made dinner for
Bar: To take temporarily. "May I bar your eraser?"
Calvary: A mobile army unit. "At the last minute, the wagon train was saved
by the calvary.
Dense: A tooth expert. "Yuck! I have a dense appointment today."
Forced: A large cluster of trees. "Only you can prevent forced fires."
Formally: earlier. "Today, she's a millionaire, but formally she tried to make
a living by being an English teacher.
Girl: An article of feminine underclothing. "She had to work hard to get her
Granite: conceded. "Too many people take the good life for granite."
Intensive: Part of an idiom, as in "for all intensive purposes,"rather than the
correct "for all intents and purposes."
Lays: The opposite of genmen. "Lays and genmen,..."
Less: Contraction of let us. "Less lean more about Slurvian."
Lining: Electrical flash of light. "We abandonded our picnic when we heard
the thunder and saw the lining."
Mayan: Possessive pronoun. "What's yours is mayan and what's mayan is
Mere: A relecting glass. "Mere, mere on the wall..."
Mill: Between the beginning and the end. "A table stood in the mill of the
Mince: Unit of time (60 sec.). "I'll be back in a few mince."
Money: Second day of the week. "I'll be back next Money."
Neck Store: Adjacent "I'm in love with the girl neck store."
Nigh: Opposite of day "She woke up screaming in the middle of the nigh."
Of: Have "I could of danced all night..."
Pain: Giving money "I'm tired of pain these high prices."
Pal: To locomote a craft on water. "It's your turn to pal the canoe."
Paramour: A modern grass cutting instrument "Less try out the new paramour on
Pitcher: An image or representation "As soon as we get the pitcher framed,
we'll hang it above the sofa."
Please: Officer(s) of the law. "My house was robbed, call the please."
Sunny: The first day of the week. "When Sunny comes, can Money be far
Then: A conjunction "I like Sunny better then Money."
Torment: A competition "Mabel and me have entered the bridge torment."
Whore: Inspiring terror "I love getting scared out of my pants by whore
Win: Movements of air "He was awakened in the mill of the nigh by flashes
of lining and gusts of win."
Winner: The cold season of the year "Many birds fly south for the winner."