"Tin Ear Award of the Week":

From headsup: the blog (thanks to Language Log for the pointer):

Today's lesson: If something looks or sounds like nonsense, back up a second and see if the fault is on your end. This one appears to have slipped by in the urge to get in the latest and newest on Those Missing Boy Scouts:

"We think it's most likely that they realized it was late and they bedded down for the night," said Charity Sharp, of the Cruso Volunteer Fire Department in southern Haywood County. "They were prepared. They knew what they were hacking into. The scout leader is familiar with the area and knew what kind of terrain they were hacking."

Bet she didn't.... [A]s a near-30-year resident of the fair state in question, HEADSUP-L is inclined to suggest that Ms. Sharp said "hiking." ... If you're going to be the Foremost Newspaper of your state, you need to know how its people talk.

Tony Tutins (mail):
And vice versa. Renting a car at the Raleigh-Durham airport, I was surprised when the clerk recorded our local address as the Tirehill Motel, because I had told her it was the Tarheel Motel.
9.26.2007 8:34pm
Good luck:
recorded our local address as the Tirehill Motel

Isn't that the deep south (which I know Raleigh is not part of) pronunciation of "Tarheel" anyway?
9.26.2007 8:41pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
I was talking about local high schools with a fellow teacher in Raleigh last year and she told me "I went to Hell". It took me a few seconds to figure out that she was an alumna of Hale High School. Of course, around here those are both two-syllable words, pronounced more or less HAY-ull.
9.26.2007 9:37pm
Actually, the Scouts had previously placed keystroke loggers on the terrain in question; Ms. Sharp was quite correct.
9.26.2007 9:40pm
markm (mail):
The article has been re-written now, with the "hacking" sentence omitted from the quotation. (Without ellipses.) "Hiking" is used elsewhere in the article.

Does the editor read the Volokh Conspiracy? Or did others point out the error?
9.26.2007 9:48pm
Well, this was North Carolina; I'm sure "hacking" was a phonetic spelling.
9.26.2007 10:11pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
So I guess in the triathalon, there's swimming, running and backing, huh?
9.27.2007 12:13am
I'm not familiar with terrain in Haywood County. But I have been to a few places where hacking one's way in with a machete was the only way to get there.
9.27.2007 1:30am
kehrsam (mail):
I am familiar with Haywood County and if they were trying to go through a thick patch of rhododendron and mountain laurel (a "heath hell") a machete is no damn good. Honestly, when I read the story the first time, though, I thought they were talking about machetes, too. Then I realized it was just some effete Raleigh-type who hadn't bothered to learn how people talked (we don't "speak") in the mountains.
9.27.2007 10:46am
Is it true that Rolla, MO is named after the Raleigh, NC? I stayed at a motel in Rolla once, and think I someone told me that, but I suspected it was apocryphal.
9.27.2007 11:00am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Deez. That's the story. Some illiterate mountaineer in far-off Missouri was homesick.

I recall a friend in the Army whose wife--MA from Mercer--was an absolute sweetheart. Talking with her was like having a mint julep poured into my ear. But I never had a clue what she was saying.

She once accused me of being "wowupped". Turns out that means "warped", but I had to ask her husband later on when she wasn't around. Great couple.
9.27.2007 11:20am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Speaking of mountain laurel....I could use some help.
Stephen Vincent Benet wrote a novella or long short called, I believe, "Judgement of the Mountains", which, like Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down" presumed we were occupied by the Axis--Germans in Benet's case, Japanese in Steinbeck's--and what happened.
We were not, as I have said before, guaranteed to win that thing. Not as far as people during the war thought. Hindsight makes it all but inevitable.

Anyway, Benet had his mountain folk going out into the laurel--from which they would fight the Germans.

Anybody heard of that story? I'd like to find it again but I'm having no luck. Did I get the title wrong? Can't even find it by googling Benet.

Thanks in advance.
9.27.2007 11:24am
Don't know the story, but it sounds as if we wouldn't have to bother with cryptologists.
9.27.2007 11:28am
RAubrey: Perhaps it's spelled "judgment".
9.27.2007 11:51am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Good luck: I said "Tar" in my Midwestern voice, which she heard as T-i-r-e. Understanding "hill" as h-e-e-l seemed less probable to me, but that's what she wrote down.

Bostonian is equally incomprehensible -- I once overheard a fellow announce he was going to New Yuck, which I think overstates the case against the home of the Yankees.
9.27.2007 12:16pm
Orielbean (mail):
I looked as well Richard, no dice. Phillip Dick wrote a similar version called The Man in the High Castle that had us occupied by the Japanese.
9.27.2007 12:28pm
MDJD2B (mail):
<i>I was talking about local high schools with a fellow teacher in Raleigh last year and she told me "I went to Hell". It took me a few seconds to figure out that she was an alumna of Hale High School.</i>

When I was doing a residency in Dallas, a patient told me she had her prenatal care at the "I Street Clinic." I had never heard ofthis, but a few minutes later realized that this Hispanic woman was referring to the Hall Street Clinic. The Mexical pronunciation of H-A-L-L IS"EYE."
9.27.2007 2:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Thanks, all.

I had a friend quizzed by the Salvadoran cops in 1986. They wanted to know--trying to trip him up as if he had false ID--where "lasaya" university was, he having a tee shirt from there. He hadn't a clue and was getting nervous.
He was an alum of LaSalle. Little more tense than most cases of this type.
9.27.2007 3:21pm
So how SHOULD one pronounce 'Tarheel" to avoid confusion? Much of my wife's family lives in the Raleigh (Rolla?)-Durham area. But they are all from Ohio. So they pronounce things down there the RIGHT way.
9.27.2007 4:47pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
I'd forgotten this one: Last summer there was a 75-year-old part-time carpenter doing repairs on my school. Since he had the same first name as one of our summer students, I asked him his last name, so we wouldn't mix up their phone calls. He told me it was Rat. Surprised, I said "You mean R-A-T?" He was annoyed: "No! W-R-I-G-H-T!" I have seldom been so embarrassed.
9.27.2007 5:06pm
In East Tennessee where I live, you need to pronounce your salad dressing preference carefully to the waiter, because "franch" and "ranch" sound so similar.

A local shop once posted the sign, "We sale Sunday papers." Made perfect sense to the ear if not to the eye.
9.28.2007 7:54pm