Heard in the documentary Bridegroom, a character saying she had to call 911 for an ambliance (rather than ambulance) a number of times during her son’s childhood. The substitution has been reported in child language, as part of a more general shift

C/jul/ > C/li/

(facilitating ease of production) also affecting, for instance, ridiculous (> ridiclious). And it’s moderately common in adult speech (as in Bridegroom), presumably as a holdover from the child form.

Three examples, two from American speech, one from British vernacular writing:

Quick! Somebody call an ambliance!!

Title speaks for itself. The other day, a girl said “ambliance” instead of “ambulance”. It was hilariously sad. Or sadly hilarious. Anyway, it was funny. (link to a blog)

I had a HS teacher who said amBLiance (link to a message board)

Air ambliance: Has just landed in the car park reet next to the one I’m on. Some geet daft **** has flipped his car onto its roof and were stuck when I drove past. Even the po-lice hadert got there yet so it’s look like I had an near miss. (link to an unofficial Cambridge United (football) website)

On the film:

Bridegroom (full title: Bridegroom: A Love Story, Unequaled) is a 2013 American documentary film about the relationship between two young gay men, produced and directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Bridegroom premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2013, and attracted further press coverage because its premiere screening at the festival was introduced by former President Bill Clinton.

Bridegroom chronicles the story of Shane Bitney Crone and his same-sex partner Thomas Lee “Tom” Bridegroom, who died in a tragic accident. After Bridegroom’s death, Crone found himself cut off and deprived of any legal protection. [The men considered themselves engaged to be married and were waiting for same-sex marriage to become legal in California.] The film tells the story of their 6-year-long relationship, and the struggles Crone faced after Bridegroom’s death, including the family not allowing Crone to attend the funeral of his life partner.

In the poster, Tom on the left, Shane on the right. Both grew up in small towns (Tom in Indiana, Shane in Montana), knew they were gay from an early age and moved to Los Angeles (where they met) as soon as they were able. Tom was athletic, popular, and long in the closet; Shane was flamboyant and bullied mercilessly through childhood. (The ambliance occurrence is from Shane’s mother.)

The film is moving, and sad, and also an angry statement in defense of recognizing and protecting same-sex relationships.


3 Responses to “ambliance”

  1. Adham Smart Says:

    The writing on that Cambridge United site is amazing! Is it a representation of a Cambridge dialect?

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      If I understand these things correctly, it’s a (speaker-created) representation of (young men’s) vernacular speech in surrounding areas, probably to the west. But here I’d have to defer to people with local knowledge. In any case, ths looks like the way mates message to one another. Great stuff. (I have some sexual texts as well.)

  2. rehana Says:

    It’s like nucular in reverse.

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