Across-acrossed
doodlebug
Is it just my ear?

I have observed that many, well educated americans, especially from the mid-west and southern states used the term "acrossed" instead of "across".

What is this all about?

Lewis Joplin II
Why do they say it? Why not? It's a dialect. I'm not an expert on language but "they" say people in the mountains were isolated for a time and retained the speech of their ancestors.

ACROST: (prep., variant of across) -- "Smoky Mountain Voices: A Lexicon of Southern Appalachian Speech Based on the Research of Horace Kephart," edited by Harold J. Farwell Jr., and J. Karl Nicholas (University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., 1993).

AdSumADS
Also, I understand that it's largely used in past-tense constructions like "went accrossed" and wouldn't appear as "going accrossed," which makes it quite like more common "back-formation" dialect forms than if used indiscriminately or always simply substituted for the paradigm, "across." It's not part of the Standard American Media English, however.

Frank Pierce
My grandmother would say in writing, "I came acrost something interesting." Not with the spelling "acrossed." I agree with AdSumAds. Think of it as a past participle of a compound verb formation - to come across.
Lewis Joplin II
All I know is after living among city folk, I love to go home to the mountains and listen to people talk. It's music to my ears. Of course, TV is ruining the younger generation.

While we're on the subject of dialect, how did one accent become better than another? Contrast these two incidents.

A. I am in the U.S. but the local university station has a radio announcer with a British accent. She often mangles the pronounciations of local place names, etc.

B. A state agency did a radio public service advertisement using a mountain (hillbilly) accent. Everyone was up in arms saying that gave the area a negative image.

Neither is "standard English" and B. is more like the people here talk.

Frank Pierce
H.L. Mencken in "The American Language" concluded that the accent used in the middle latitudes of the US was the best "standard" American accent because it was more in keeping with phonetic/diacritical markings used in accepted American dictionaries. Further, it was, at that time, the accent being used by most NBC Red and Blue network announcers, akin to BBC in the minds of most educated Americans.

It's interesting to note that British BBC and American standard radio and TV accents are moving closer together. The old Oxford accent is almost a thing of the past on BBC. They blame the overwhelming and ubiquitous American presence in movies and other media sources.

And of course, NPR/PBS is slipping into usages like "in future" rather than "in the future" and other British idioms.

dtilque
>>I'm not an expert on language but "they" say people in the mountains were isolated for a time and retained the speech of their ancestors.<<

This is a commonly repeated but mistaken idea. In other words, an urban legend, or better, a linguistic legend.

The language of mountain people retains some features of earlier language that other dialect have lost, but in other ways, the mountain dialects have changed too. This use of "acrost" is an example of one of those changes.

Over all, those dialects are not especially closer to earlier language than other dialects.

>>B. A state agency did a radio public service advertisement using a mountain (hillbilly) accent. Everyone was up in arms saying that gave the area a negative image.<<

The problem here is that the people expect public service announcements to be in standard English. Pretty much everyone can understand it (from watching TV) even if they don't speak it.

Furthermore, by putting the announcement in local dialect, they are saying that only those who speak that dialect have the problem that the announcement is trying to alleviate, which is almost certainly not true.

The state agency no doubt thought it was communicating better by using the dialect, but I guess they learned better.

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