Lexicon mystery: could someone explain the modern (as far as I know, it’s a modern development) habit of people dropping the letter “t” in certain words?
The first time I remember hearing this was in The White Stripes song, “The Hardest Button to Button.” Most of the time, when Jack White sings this phrase within the song, he drops the “t” out of the word “button,” so we get “buh in.” Thus, “the hardest buh in to buh in.”
Regina Spektor does this, too. In her song, “Fidelity,” she sings the word “better,” dropping the “t,” rendering it “beh uh.” As in, “All my friends say that, of course, it’s gonna get beh uh, gonna get beh uh…”
When I was in Pennsylvania a while back I was asked in a Dunkin Donuts if I wanted my iced tea “swee-ened or unswee-ened,” thus the removal of “t” from a description of tea, which must be some sort of linguistic irony that would make the King (of “King’s English” fame) get all flustered (if he were a real person and not just the name of a book published in 1906).
Recently, I heard a guest on NPR drop the “t” from the word “certain” to give us “cer in.” NPR. Where I thought, maybe, language was safe from such absurd frivolity.
What is this???? Is it regional? Did it start in pop music?
Who can I blame for this? Do you know someone who does this? Do you?
Truthfully, I don’t really care. I’ve just noticed it and find it amusing/puzzling/intriguing. I haven’t heard anyone address it.
These are the times that try men’s souls (and women’s, probably more with the women’s souls being tried, to be accurate).
If someone would just explain to me this horrifying language travesty, I’d feel so much beh uh. You know?