Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Have You Noticed Innythin?

I first noticed it a few years back on Arrested Development:

Portia DiRossi pronounced the word, anything, "innythin." It was an obvious pronunciation, carefully enunciated in that way good actors and orators carefully enunciate, so that it seems as natural as any other word they might say or pronounce, but with just enough force to stress, "This is how I pronounce this word; this is my word." It was that jarring to my ear.

As a writer, I take careful note of such things when I notice them. I love to write dialect and regardless of what everyone else tells you, reading well-written dialect makes an otherwise mundane story or character come to life. Mark Twain, anyone?

So I assumed this was an Aussie thing - or a hottie thing, but that didn't make much sense because I've known a lotta hotties and they don't really have a common dialect so much as a common vocabulary or like... whatever. Right?

Then I heard it again - maybe it was from another character on Arrested Development (I know Jason Bateman pronounced it that way sometimes) - and again. I heard it on different shows from different characters who had very disparate lives, backgrounds, living conditions, and settings. So I started really paying attention and this is what I've noticed:

It's only being pronounced that way by television actors!

I know this because what inspired this very post tonight was that a character on House (a show I don't normally watch) said it. And I've been paying pretty close attention since I first heard it tumble from Ms. DiRossi's beautiful lips. No one in real life says "innythin." I've lived in the South my entire life and we have a heavy dialect and no one says "innythin." I live near a very popular river, amidst many marinas and cabins and so forth, and the place is overrun with people from all walks of life and all areas of the country and none of them say "innythin."

So wtf is going on here? Did L.A. just get together and decide to see if anyone was paying attention or would say innythin? Does innywin know?

Say it with me, people: "ANY-THING."

That is all.

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