University Radio Show, tape 2
DATE: 7 May 1957
OCCASION: University Radio Show
Play the full recording:
William Faulkner: I've had no trouble yet when I have been in New England. I would have to listen to it and get into the habit of—of remembering to use their own terms, their own diction, but there was no difficulty about understanding what they meant.
Edward Stephenson: Some of—some of us were talking about Thomas Wolfe this morning, and we were under the impression—though I don't know that anyone has studied it closely—that he's very good at handling New England dialect and New York dialect as well as his native southern, so perhaps you could.
Joseph Blotner: Well, you have dealt with English speech in—in some of your short stories and French speech in A Fable, it seems to me.
Edward Stephenson: I don't mean to be nitpicking. I'm really asking these questions for my own information. But another time you have Wash say "whupped" for the—for "whipped." Wouldn't the colonel have said "whupped" too? And if so, why did you give Wash the spelling—?
William Faulkner: Probably not. The colonel wouldn't have said "whupped." He—by—by nature, he might've—have said "whupped," but he had associated with gentle folk and other plantation owners long enough to have said "whipped" without knowing he was changing his speech. But Wash would still have said "whupped," just like the Negro would say "whupped."
Atcheson Hench: Mr. Faulkner, what is a "gout"? A "gout" of mud, [or a ] [...]?
William Faulkner: Or—or a gob
Atcheson Hench: I see. A blob or something of that sort.
William Faulkner: [That's right. A blob], yes.
Atcheson Hench: Is that used a great deal in Mississippi? It must be, of course.
William Faulkner: I've—I've heard that in England.
Atcheson Hench: Have you?
William Faulkner: Mmhmm.
Robert Davis: I wondered, Mr. Faulkner, when the Reverend Shegog talks about the "whelming flood," just what that meant.
William Faulkner: The overwhelming.
Robert Davis: "Overwhelming flood."
Joseph Blotner: I think that's one of the most interesting passages from the point of view of what happens to speech under the stress of strong emotion. At the beginning of his sermon he speaks very properly and with elegant enunciation [and diction].
Atcheson Hench: Then when he warms up.
Joseph Blotner: And at the end, there's an immense difference, I think.
Robert Davis: I think "recollection" becomes "ricklickshun." Is that right Mr. Faulkner?
William Faulkner: Yes.
Robert Davis: And "brethren and sisteren" becomes "breddren en sistuhn."
William Faulkner: That's right.
Edward Stephenson: Here's one good pronunciation I'd like to commend Mr. Faulkner for. The old colored woman says, "Stop right whar you is. You ain't never crossed dese steps whilst the Cunnel's here and you ain't ghy' do hit now." And it's spelled G-H-Y-apostrophe. And I've heard that very often. Of course, it's a reduced form of "gwine."
William Faulkner: That's right
Edward Stephenson: "You ain't ghyn do it now."
Atcheson Hench: We've enjoyed being with you for the past fifteen minutes for this chat. There is much more on the subject that we could say, but our time has run out on us again. Joining us around the table today were Mr. Ed Stephenson, Mr. Joseph Blotner, and Mr. Robert Davis, and our special guest for the program was Mr. William Faulkner. This is Atcheson Hench thanking you for joining our discussion and inviting you to listen again next week at this time for another chat on some interesting aspect of the language we speak.
Atcheson Hench: [Well,] the operation's over.
Edward Stephenson: [It's a wonder] we didn't get in another one I'd like to ask you about.
Atcheson Hench: I had a good one I—[laughter] [...] [a real one.]
Joseph Blotner: We're off the air, fellows.
Atcheson Hench: The Bible one. I meant to ask you, has Bible language had much to do with them. And it's down here at the bottom, and I didn't see it.
Edward Stephenson: That would have been a good question. Shame on you.
Joseph Blotner: Well how about it? Why don't you ask it?
William Faulkner: We'll save that for next week then.
Edward Stephenson: You have Wash say, "Sho, Kernel." Now what would the colonel have said? ["Shore."] He wouldn't have said ["sure"].
William Faulkner: No, he would have said "shur." There would be a little "r."
Edward Stephenson: Yeah, a little "r" on the end of it.
William Faulkner: And with Wash there wouldn't be one.
Edward Stephenson: Well I thought that was your point. "Sho" is without the [...] and the Colonel would have said "shore."
Joseph Blotner: One of the most interesting words I found, I think, is "sholly." When—I notice peace officers very often seem to say that in the books.
Atcheson Hench: What is the answer to that question? Does the Bible English have much influence on [...] I suppose that it did.
William Faulkner: Yes. It's the only—only reading a lot of them do. And it's the only speech delivered by one—[introductory announcer] individual.
Atcheson Hench: [introductory music] He's going to play it over for us. You don't have time, I'm sure.
Joseph Blotner: No, I don't know that we'd be interested in hearing it—would you?
Atcheson Hench: No, you don't care for it.
Edward Stephenson: I want to hear.
Atcheson Hench: Mr. Faulkner, I—
[end of recording]