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CHAT Etruscana

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.