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"[He] dropped his Gs"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 111000, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. 111000 New Member

    German
    Hello,

    I watched the presidential debate and I'm now looking through reactions of the press. In the LA Times article "The presidential debate: an evening of improv" (which I cannot link diretcly because this is my first post) I came across the following sentences:

    What does "dropping his Gs" mean? Does it simply refer to the pronunciation of words ending with a "g", which is omitted (as described in the thread "Dropping H and G") or is it an idiom and if so what does it mean?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    "Dropping his G's" means pronouncing a terminal -ng as -n.

    For example, runnin' instead of running, or hidin' instead of hiding.

    It is very common many varieties of AE and BE.

    You hear this in just about every pop song ever written.
     
  3. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    So why did the author write about it? Do they normally pronounce G?

    Tom
     
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Every part of a debate is dissected and analyzed, including occasionally minor details of each speaker's diction.
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    In the article (link here), the two men are being compared:
    I imagine (though an AmE speaker would need to confirm this;)) that "dropping one's Gs" is one indicator of 'folksiness'.

    PS Welcome to the forums, 111000:)
     
  6. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Interesting. I didn't know "dropping one's Gs" was a kind of set phrase. Of course, people do it in the UK, but I've never heard it specifically referred to in the way that "dropping one's Hs" is.

    I hope that makes sense!
     
  7. vicky1027 Senior Member

    usa english
    Although I'm not familiar with the term, I have to assume the writer means getting his "jabs" in at the other opponent.

    By "jabs" I mean...put downs...literary punches...for example, McCain said numerous times that Sen. Obama "doesn't understand..."

    Which makes him "inexperienced" and not ready for the job.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  8. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Why would you think that? I thought it had been agreed that it meant literally dropping the "g"s at the end of "ing" words.
     
  9. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    The brilliant Language Log cites studies that show that there is an inverse relationship between "social class" and the pronunciation of the "g" in "-ing." Within each class, too, people are likelier to pronounce the "g" in more formal contexts and likelier to drop it in more casual contexts.

    Dropping the "g" could then help a candidate sound more relaxed as well as less pretentious or "upper class."

    Welcome to the forum, 111000.
     
  10. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Interestin'. Interesting too, to compare that with the erstwhile English upper class tendency to drop Gs, as in the cliché "Huntin', shootin', and fishin'". Possibly an aping of "lower class" speech?
     
  11. vicky1027 Senior Member

    usa english
    Maybe you're right!:confused: I just found the article somewhat hard to comprehend. I guess I couldn't imagine why anyone would care whether or not he dropped the g's at the end of a word! Sorry!:(
     
  12. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Please don't apologise! All opinions welcome:)
     
  13. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    It is important because diction plays a part in how voters see the candidates. Sounding more relaxed or, as Loob said, folksy, could be advantageous for either candidate.
     
  14. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Biblio's link says that this was a more conservative pattern, and that the pronunciation with the velar nasal /ŋ/ (written "ng") was
     
  15. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    You could not imagine why anyone would be interested in affectations of folksiness in the speech patterns of the debaters?

    McCain, who was the son of a admiral, went to Annapolis, where in addition to being taught to be an officer he was also explicitly taught to be a gentleman. If he affects the speech patterns of someone of a background substantially different from his actual background, people will notice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  16. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Oh, I didn't realise Biblio's link dealt with BE as well. I didn't look at it.
     
  17. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    Robert James Lee Hawke, aka "Bob" Hawke was once Prime Minister of Australia.

    He was a Rhodes Scholar, and attended Oxford University.

    When it suited his purpose, Bob Hawke "broadened" his accent, to show that he was a true Labor man, the friend of the working-class, and so on. There are many examples of politicians adjusting their register to their audience.
     

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