23 April 2008

everything's...segmented differently in texas?

i've been watching a lot of hockey on the versus recently (probably to the detriment of my academics, but it's the playoffs!)  as a result, i've seen the same eight commercials dozens and dozens of times over the past couple weeks.  mostly they're unremarkable, but one stuck out.  it's an ad by the Texas tourism board or something, and what caught my attention the first time i saw it is their tagline, which is displayed proudly at the end of the spot:

i meant to write on "split another" last fall, but never got around to it, after i realized that there's already been quite a bit done on it (which i somehow can't find now via quick google search; odd).  the fact of the matter is that i didn't have anything too exciting to say.  my ideolect has split another—i say "a whole 'nother" without exception, so when i saw the Texas ad, it seemed wrong to me.  i wonder how many Texans actually say "a whole other."  my bet is that it's very few, and the only reason we got "whole other" in the tagline is because an editor at some point in the creative process nixed a spelling with nother.

so why prefer nother at all?  this may be just due to the influence of orthography getting the best of me, but it seems that if you take it upon yourself to reconstruct the unmodified phrase by removing whole, the results are better with nother.
a whole other --> *a other --> ?an other
a whole 'nother --> a 'nother --> another
when you get to the intermediate stage a other, allomorphy kicks in and you get an other, but does it get to go on to fully become another afterwards?  it seems to me that a 'nother is more likely to reform into a single word.  like i said, i realize this is relying on the spelling somewhat, but i have a feeling that unless i'm totally artificially imposing it there is some difference in the prosody of an other vs. a 'nother.

regardless of whether this little reconstruction exercise was sound or not, i still think that Texas should have stuck with 'nother.

1 comment:

The Ridger, FCD said...

All I can say is, I'm from Tennessee and when I say it I say "a whole other". I also an "an entirely other", "a really other", and just "that is other", emphasizing "other". "Nother" just doesn't work for me unless I'm poking fun.