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 Post subject: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:16 pm 
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Why do Americans say "doody"? Just curious ...

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:43 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Why do Americans say "doody"? Just curious ...

Voicing our Ts in certain instances - a lot of them, actually - is just how it is. I would have to leave the why of it to the philologists, but I've noticed that there seem to be rules to it: there are instances where it just isn't done, and these patterns seem to be consistent; you might find it hard to believe, but I think the rules are in some way euphony-driven, for there's no practical reason for the practice. I don't know if voicing Ts is a recent thing in the UK, but I've encountered it in British TV dramas - and while not as common as in the US, neither would I call the instances isolated - so I would hesitate to lay the practice entirely on the Yank doorstep.

Now as to the word itself (in case you weren't simply asking about the vagaries of American pronunciation), "doody", which is a word for poo - and in my experience usually applied to that emitted by dogs - is a spelling that reflects our pronunciation of "duty" (see above), which comes from the phrase "do one's duty": a euphemism for taking a crap. From there, the word is often further shortened from "doody" to "doo". I'm far and away more likely to use "doo", and again, I apply it pretty much exclusively to that left by dogs. "Doody" isn't in my personal working vocabulary; although it's not unusual, still it strikes me as quaint.

Does that help?

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:00 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Does that help?

Partly, yes. The other meaning of "doody" is, as far as I know, not known here in the UK, though interestingly, "doo-doo" is, as in, "We're in deep doo-doo here".

But it was the pronunciation of the word "duty" that I was thinking of. I have been, of course, glued the television for quite a lot of today ... can't think why ... and the word "doody" has come up quite a bit, much more from one side than the other, it has to be said. But every time someone says it, I sort of have to do a mental translation - my initial reaction is always that it must be some new word with which I'm not familiar. It seems to go beyond just an accent, and almost to be a different word.

I wonder if there are other words like that ...

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:13 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
... It seems to go beyond just an accent, and almost to be a different word.

I wonder if there are other words like that ...
That's exactly what I was thinking (except I was going to use 'transcend' )

It's not just the second d, it's the 'doo'. Maybe it's because there are two unusual (to Brit ears) pronunciations in one word.


Last edited by david_h on Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:15 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Does that help?

Partly, yes. The other meaning of "doody" is, as far as I know, not known here in the UK, though interestingly, "doo-doo" is, as in, "We're in deep doo-doo here".

Bingo. I'd forgotten "doo-doo". It's part of the same family of euphemisms, for obvious reasons.

benhall.1 wrote:
I wonder if there are other words like that ...

Better, butter, batter, hitter, pitter-patter, sitting, flitting, fitting, biting, sighting, fighting, debtor, tutor, cutie, booty, duty - and the list goes on. Note that we would voice the T in "brighter", but not in "brightening"; there the T is often reduced to a glottal stop. "Dentist" and words like it are an interesting case: frequently the T is elided altogether, such that in extremely lax cases "dentist" sounds like "Dennis". There was one case where a woman was actually referring to her brother Dennis, but I thought she meant a dentist, for some reason. It can be insidious. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:18 pm 
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Yes, from those examples, which to me don't stand out in the same way, it's the vowel as much as the d. You don't say 'cooty' do you?


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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:22 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Yes, from those examples, which to me don't stand out in the same way, it's the vowel as much as the d.

I think the vowel has little to do with it; I think it's more to do with position in a sequence. We would voice the T in "fatter", but not in "fattening", which again gets the glottal stop.

david_h wrote:
You don't say 'cooty' do you?

Do you mean as "coody"? Yes, absolutely.

Bear in mind that some Americans are more fastidious with their Ts, but we're talking about relaxed colloquial speech, here.

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:24 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
david_h wrote:
Yes, from those examples, which to me don't stand out in the same way, it's the vowel as much as the d.

I think the vowel has little to do with it; I think it's more to do with position in a sequence. We would voice the T in "fatter", but not in "fattening", which again gets the glottal stop.


Ahem. And the rest of my post?


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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:24 pm 
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See above. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:26 pm 
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Yes, I think you're ignoring what both David and I were saying, Nano: that the 'u' sound is at least, if not more, alien to us than the 't' sound. It's the difference between "you" and "oo". And, as David pointed out, you wouldn't say "coody" for "cutie". I can't for the life of me why not, though ... :-?

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:35 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Yes, I think you're ignoring what both David and I were saying, Nano: that the 'u' sound is at least, if not more, alien to us than the 't' sound.

I'm not ignoring it; up to now your issues weren't presented to me in a way that made it as obvious to me as it is to you. Lost in translation, as they say.

benhall.1 wrote:
It's the difference between "you" and "oo". And, as David pointed out, you wouldn't say "coody" for "cutie". I can't for the life of me why not, though ... :-?

I would pronounce "cootie" as "koody", and "cutie" as "kyoody". Simple stuff. I still don't see what you're confused about.

More on the rules: In coining words that mean making something appear cute, I would voice the T in "cutefy" ("KYOOdefy"), but exercise the glottal stop in "encuten" ("enKYOO'-n").

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:45 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Do you mean as "coody"? Yes, absolutely.
I never noticed. In all your other examples I find voiced t unremarkable, just part of the accent. For me 'doody' always stands out, and I think 'dooty' would as well. I suspect it's used more in public life than here.

[crossing with Ben]


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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:52 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Do you mean as "coody"? Yes, absolutely.
I never noticed. In all your other examples I find voiced t unremarkable, just part of the accent. For me 'doody' always stands out, and I think 'dooty' would as well. I suspect it's used more in public life than here.

[crossing with Ben]

Ah, now I see! You're right; we don't palatalize our U the way you do in "duty", "new", or "tube". You might hear it in isolated cases, but it's uncommon in my experience. For most US speakers, pronunciation would be "doody", "noo", and "toob". Why are "cute" or "mute" different? Beats me; I have a theory, though, that over time Yanks found it too awkward to palatalize U-sounds after coronal consonants, and for this reason we came to drop that practice. We totally differentiate between "coot" and "cute", between "moot" and "mute", between "boot" and "butte", and between "poo" and "pew"; but notice that those initial consonants aren't coronal (n, d, t, s, z, sh, j, l, and others involving the tip of the tongue), and palatalization after non-coronal consonants is a lot easier to execute. Or so it is for me. For example, a Yank is going to pronounce "loot" and "lute" exactly the same: "loot". And L is what? - a coronal consonant. "Lyoot" and "nyoo" don't even register as such unless I'm listening for palatalization; otherwise, it's just a facet of UK pronunciation that to me is functionally quite interchangeable with US pronunciation and nothing more, so that's why I missed it in the opening question, "Why do Americans say 'doody'?".* That wording isn't clear enough for a Yank to have gotten that it might even have been about vowels, so I deduced (pron. "dedoost" in 'Merkin :wink: ) that the question must be about voiced consonants which, to me, was the more obvious topic. That, and dog waste.

I haven't dug into it, but I think you'll find a pretty regular pattern, here: Follow the coronal consonants. Right Pond pronunciation of "dew" and "tune" often come off to the Left Pond ear as "Jew" and "chewn"; predictably, Yanks pronounce them "doo" and "toon". Likewise with "nuance", "lunar", "super", and "stupid": fronted by coronal consonants all, in Yanklish they are rendered "noo-awnce", "looner", "sooper", and "stoopid" (we use that last spelling to emphasize stupidity, BTW). Again, quite predictable if you use the coronal consonant model, so I think I may well be onto something, here - but I'm sure linguists will already have gotten there well ahead of me. If there's an exception to this principle, I can't think of one; nor, offhand, does it seem to apply anywhere else in American English.

So, then - am I right in surmising that Ben's original question wasn't about the voiced T, but about the unpalatalized U? Or was it both after all?



* Five punctuation marks in a coherent row: That's got to be some kind of record. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:49 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I wonder if there are other words like that ...

Better, butter, batter, hitter, pitter-patter, sitting, flitting, fitting, biting, sighting, fighting, debtor, tutor, cutie, booty, duty - and the list goes on. Note that we would voice the T in "brighter", but not in "brightening"; there the T is often reduced to a glottal stop. "Dentist" and words like it are an interesting case: frequently the T is elided altogether, such that in extremely lax cases "dentist" sounds like "Dennis". There was one case where a woman was actually referring to her brother Dennis, but I thought she meant a dentist, for some reason. It can be insidious. :wink:


Oh, I don't say the T in "brighter." It's definitely "brider." But you're right about "brighten" (frighten, heighten, etc.) But I do put two Ts in "dentist."


Nanohedron wrote:
david_h wrote:
Yes, from those examples, which to me don't stand out in the same way, it's the vowel as much as the d.

I think the vowel has little to do with it; I think it's more to do with position in a sequence. We would voice the T in "fatter", but not in "fattening", which again gets the glottal stop.

david_h wrote:
You don't say 'cooty' do you?

Do you mean as "coody"? Yes, absolutely.

Bear in mind that some Americans are more fastidious with their Ts, but we're talking about relaxed colloquial speech, here.

Again, nope, I don't, when it comes to "fatter." As in, I pronounce "batter" and "badder" the same way.

I mean, I could train myself to say "dooty" or even "dyooty," but I have a feeling most people would feel I was trying to be pretentious...

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 Post subject: Re: Doody
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 1:46 am 
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Gosh, there's a lot of detail to pick up on in your reply, Nano! :o

Nanohedron wrote:
a Yank is going to pronounce "loot" and "lute" exactly the same: "loot".

So are almost all Brits. Very, very few people would pronounce "lute" as "lyoot". It's a class thing here. The only people, in my experience, that I have ever heard here in the UK pronouncing "lute" as "lyoot" have been members of the aristocracy, and even then, most of them have modified their pronunciation of such words to appear more human* ("hyooman").

Nanohedron wrote:
Right Pond pronunciation of "dew" and "tune" often come off to the Left Pond ear as "Jew" and "chewn".

I can see that. It doesn't sound like that to us.

Nanohedron wrote:
Likewise with "nuance", "lunar", "super", and "stupid"

Well, that's difficult, isn't it? Ours would be "nyoo-once" (hard 'o' in that second syllable), "loo-nuh" (not "lyoonar), "soo-puh" and "styoopid". In other words, neither "lunar" nor "super" has the "yoo" sound, except that "super" does in the mouths of aristocrats, as with "lute". But lunar is "loo-nuh" for everybody, as far as I know.


Nanohedron wrote:
So, then - am I right in surmising that Ben's original question wasn't about the voiced T, but about the unpalatalized U? Or was it both after all?

It was about both.

Nanohedron wrote:
* Five punctuation marks in a coherent row: That's got to be some kind of record. :wink:

I count four, excluding the asterisk, which I'm not sure counts as a punctuation mark. :)



* To disguise their true reptilian nature, obvs.

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