Shew
Posted: 09 February 2018 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I recall in the 50s and 60s you could see in railway stations in the UK signs like, All tickets must be shewn, etc. I knew that shew and shewn were alternative spellings for show and shown but I don’t remember that form being used anywhere other than railway stations. Perhaps at ports and airports too, although I’m not sure of that. Anyone else remember this? Any sign of this form in the US?

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Posted: 09 February 2018 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Shew is, of course, an older spelling variant, but the OED (March 2017) has only a handful of citations of this form later than the early nineteenth century.

The British National Corpus (1980–93) has 29 hits for shew, but many of these are explicit uses of the older spelling variant or as representations in fiction of dialectal or archaic speech.

And no, you wouldn’t find this in the US, except perhaps in the aforementioned dialectal or archaic speech.

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Posted: 09 February 2018 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Were they pronounced the same as show and shown?

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Posted: 09 February 2018 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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H.P. Lovecraft, American, who wrote mostly in the 1920s and ‘30s, used shew a lot, even in stories set in his present-day, but I think he was being deliberately old-fashioned.

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Posted: 09 February 2018 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Collins English Dictionary indicates it is pronounced “show” rather than “shoe” or something else.

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Posted: 09 February 2018 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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AHD says the same.  And all this time I’ve been pronouncing it /ʃju/ in my head. At least I have Ed Sullivan on my side.

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Posted: 09 February 2018 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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HAH! I was thinking the same thing, Dr.

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Posted: 10 February 2018 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Funny! This past week at our weekly bible study, one woman always brings her AV (KJV) and our passage for the week uses “Shewbread” at the point where all other translations use “Bread of the Presence.” Wikipedia has this under “Showbread” for what it’s worth.

perhaps an instance of a proleptic diegogarcity.

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Posted: 11 February 2018 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I see the OE, scēawian, was a weak verb.  What happened to that?

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Posted: 11 February 2018 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The OED says this:

In Old English a weak verb of Class II. During the course of the Middle English period a strong conjugation developed alongside this (with a past participle in -en attested already from the 12th cent. and a past tense shew from the 15th cent.), probably by analogy with KNOW v. In the past tense this is obsolete except in Scots; but for the past participle shown is now the usual form; the older past participle showed is still occasionally found (outside regional and nonstandard use) in the active voice (chiefly with material object), although this is now deprecated in usage guides; in the passive it is obsolete except as a deliberate archaism.

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Posted: 12 February 2018 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This article: http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2011/01/shew.html claims that it was pronounced like ‘shoe’. I don’t know what the evidence for this is, but Shaw used the spelling, and given his passion for reform, it seems a bit odd if he used the standard pronunciation.

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Posted: 12 February 2018 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’m pretty sure that blog post (not “article,” which makes it sound official) is simply wrong, but I’ve e-mailed the author to ask if she has backup.  As for Shaw, he used the spelling because it was what he had grown up with and/or preferred; you can’t infer anything about pronunciation.

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Posted: 12 February 2018 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OK, I heard back from the author of the blog post, who says she was relying on the OED, which says:

The corresponding pronunciation with /ju:/ or /u:/ continued until at least c1700, as indicated by rhymes with e.g. view, true, and by the evidence of 17th-c. orthoepists.

The spelling continued into the 19th century.  That certainly seems conclusive, and I withdraw my earlier skepticism.

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