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Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 6:54:43 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hello!

What does "ter" stand for in the last sentence below (highlighted in bold)?

“Pooh!” gasped Scarlctt, speaking with difficulty. “I never fainted in my life.”

“Well, ‘twouldn’ do no hahm ef you wuz ter faint now an’ den,” advised Mammy.


And I guess "wuz" is for was (were). I don't expect correct grammar here, but still I need to know what that "ter" is for to figure out the meaning better.

Many thanks!
Kirill
P.S. This is of course again from "Gone With The Wind"
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 6:58:49 AM

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I don't know this dialect particularly, but

"Well, it would not do any harm if you were to faint now and then."

It sort of sounds like "West Country" (Devon/Cornwall) - but that would have a couple of other forms:

“Well, ‘wouldn’ do no haam ef'n you wuz ter faint na' 'n’ theyn.” - or something like that.

But I think this is an American dialect isn't it?

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 7:00:02 AM

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Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Oh, sorry - I figured it out I think from the following portion. It's her way to say "to"

... if you were to faint now and then.

Right?
Sorry.

Cross-posted. Thank you, Drago!
thar
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 9:09:00 AM

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Going from the name, presumably "Mammy" is a black slave/servant?
So this would just be strong Southern "Negro" dialect.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 11:48:38 AM
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Kirill -

It helps if you say these kinds of sentences out loud. In speech, most people don't say "to" with round vowel sounds. In many dialects it's pronounced sometimes as a single consonant "I'm going t'bed now." "I want t'eat before we leave."

In others it sounds like "tuh" "I'm going tuh tell her tomorrow." "I'd like tuh go with you."

Thus, we get the idea that in this American dialect that's how it sounds. Exactly as it does in some English ones: "I'm going ter get 'im for that!" "He's determined ter marry her."
Orson Burleigh
Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:07:33 PM

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Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I don't know this dialect particularly, but

"Well, it would not do any harm if you were to faint now and then."

It sort of sounds like "West Country" (Devon/Cornwall) - but that would have a couple of other forms:

“Well, ‘wouldn’ do no haam ef'n you wuz ter faint na' 'n’ theyn.” - or something like that.

But I think this is an American dialect isn't it?


Drago, you are correct on the rendering of to as 'ter' and probably on "West Country" contributions to southern U.S. accents. This is Margaret Mitchell's version of the accent of a black house servant in 1861. In Miss Mitchell's 'Gone With the Wind,' Mammy was the oldest and most relied upon female servant at Tara, the fictional O'Hara family's plantation.

Many of the folks who make a study of the development of American English accents note that, while East Anglia and Southeastern England produced the larger portion of the earliest (early 17th century) English settlers in both the New England and Virginia colonies, there was also a significant "West Country" contribution in Virginia and in lowland regions of the later southern colonies. When black slaves were brought in the version of English that they developed is said to have included identifiably "West Country" elements. Your astute observation tends to support assertions of "West Country" influence.
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