The Hoosierist: Pronounced Flaw
A linguistic foible, an All-Star problem, and street names. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: Why do old-school Hoosiers say “warsh” instead of “wash”?
Madeleine S., Fishers
A: During his Southern Indiana childhood, The Hoosierist freely used this pseudo-word. He only dropped it when he moved to Indy and started getting weird looks at school. Which, according to Indiana University department of linguistics chair Robert Botne, is how lots of Hoosiers acquire-then-lose this phonetic foible. “It’s a dialect found in southern areas,” Botne says. “And because many Southerners moved into Indiana, they brought their dialect with them.” Travel up any dirt road in Mississippi, and you’ll likely encounter Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo types slinging unnecessary R’s like pirates. But you won’t find the same phenomenon in cities, where teachers single out and destroy this verbal oddity with a vigor usually reserved for outbreaks of head lice.
Q: Is there any chance Indy could host another NBA All-Star Game?
Larry O., Carmel
A: The last time this event graced Indianapolis was in 1985, when Larry Bird was a starter for the Celtics and the Hoosier Dome (where the festivities took place) was a state-of-the-art sports facility. Since then, we’ve hosted the Super Bowl and five Final Fours. So why won’t the NBA come back for a second date? As with most things involving big-league hoops, it comes down to cash. According to Greg Rakestraw, program director for 1070 The Fan, it’s almost impossible for the game’s host team to break even on the deal. The Pacers would be expected to do a lot of prep and support work. In return, they’d watch from the sidelines as most of the event’s revenue stream was siphoned off by the NBA. Which explains why the Blue and Gold aren’t clamoring for it.
Q: How can I get a street named after someone?
Cicely W., Indianapolis
A: The Metropolitan Development Commission, which handles street-naming issues, says stretches of blacktop can indeed be changed to honor individuals. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the honoree must have done something worth honoring—which probably rules out your Uncle Ned. One option might be to approach a private developer who’s working on a project filled with tiny, cul-de-sac–intensive roads and ask him to name one after your relative/friend. The name would then be reviewed by an Address Advisory Committee (a real thing). If the person you’re championing possesses a problematic name like Fornicatorius Kidstomper, you’re probably going to get kicked to the curb.
The portion of Indiana’s GDP that is manufactured goods
Which is the highest percentage of any state in the nation. Service economy, schmervice economy. Pass the arc welder!
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