The Taco Bell doll

The One Big Happy from June 6th:

— in which Joe eggcornishly re-shapes the name Tinkerbell (otherwise unfamiliar to him) into a name he knows well, that of the fast-food restaurant Taco Bell. The words tinker and taco share the consonant skeleton /t … k …/, but are not otherwise particularly close phonologically. But the following bell presumably facilitates the reanalysis.

Here, as elsewhere, Joe is portrayed as a speaker of a notably  non-standard dialect (with features of AAVE, in particular). In ths strip, he uses perfective done (+ a PST verb form), in I done hid her Taco Bell doll. From the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project: English in North America section on perfective done:

Perfective done is a characteristic feature of African American (Vernacular) English (AAE), as has been documented since at least the 1970s (Labov 1972, Schneider 1983, Green 2002, among others).

This construction is also used by Southern speakers who are not African American, in at least Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina (Feagin 1979). However, perfective done in the speech of white Southerners may have slightly different properties than in AAE

Details in the entry.

Otherwise, Joe’s speech is represented with bits of eye dialect — non-standard spellings for variants that are in fact common in the informal spoken language, spellings used to mark the speech as belonging to a non-standard variety: ‘cuz for ’cause (for because), flyin’ for flying, an’ for and.

4 Responses to “The Taco Bell doll”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    What goes do sol la mi fa do fa sol burp! – The Tacobell Canon!

  2. Bigmacbear Says:

    I recall sitting in the hot tub at the Everett Y and mentioning that the music being played at the time was a dance remix of the Pachelbel Canon in D (proving that anything can be made into a dance remix). Dude sitting across from me thought it was the “Taco Bell Canon in D.”

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