Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Curiosity of the unprofound

"When in Maine the harbor-master is the habba-masta, when in New York seabirds are seaboids, when as in the Negro vernacular, the tenth becomes the tent, certainly is certainy, and Paris is Parus, the curiosity of the unprofound, with regard to the acoustics of speech, may seem like that of the Esquimaux listening for the first time to a phonograph. Our completely fascinated interest in these matters is, however, not to be disguised and our desire to know what topics may occupy the attention of the fastidious, is genuine."

— Marianne Moore on "a recent tract of The Society for Pure English" in The Dial, 80 (May 1926), 448