Saturday, March 8, 2008

Belittling the Speaker

John Lawhorne, our man in Arcadia (the one who can’t remember to include who, what, when, where and why in a news report and who is proud to demonstrate he has no use for the inverted pyramid), has suddenly undertaken dialect quotes. Yesterday, instead of simply quoting a county commissioner who regularly uses standard, grammatical American word forms, Lawhorne turns linguist: “We’re gonna need the second trait for sure...,” Lawhorne reports Commissioner Ronald Neads as saying when told a new administrator is fair, frugal and honest.

Lawhorne is evidently stone deaf to how condescending his transcription sounds. He is essentially making fun of a man’s pronunciation – at least the pronunciation as Lawhorne heard it. There’s no particular context of humor or informality. The quote emerged at a meeting convened to hire a new administrator.

If Lawhorne wants to render gonna, he better be prepared to render hafta, wanna, woulda, yer and a bunch of others, as well. And he better be prepared to explain why he decided to belittle his sources in print.

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