|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, February 29, 2004, 19:43|
John Cowan wrote:
>>>If L1 speakers can teach other L1 speakers that "potatoe" is the correct
>>>spelling of "potato", nothing is too surprising.
>>From what I remember, it was one particular L1 speaker :)
> He wasn't alone, alas. My wife was also taught this spelling in the
> North Carolina schools in the 50s, and may well have passed it on to
> some of her students (before I stopped her). She describes being
> explicitly taught the mnemonic "pot a toe", so it can't be accidental.
I've even seen the spelling in a dictionary. Of course, the dictionary
I've seen it in is "An English-Dakota Dictionary" by John P. Williamson,
originally published in 1902 (reprinted in 1992), and not a more recent
English-English dictionary. :-) The Dakota translation for "potatoe" is
given as "mdo; bdo; blo", which shows the variation between three of the
main dialects (Santee, Yankton, and Teton). I borrowed the Lakota
version "blo" for Ludireo, which is how I came to notice this. I can
only guess that the spelling "potatoe" must have been more widespread in
the 19th century, and declined in the 20th.