Listen now (29 mins) | What a Broadway musical can teach us about the way we use language.
I saw Music Man as a kid, and you have brought back memories and explanations of sequences ("what do you talk" and "peck a little" [if I remember correctly]).
Your linguistic wizardry was too much for me, and it extracted 50 bucks from beneath my mattress!
I've always thought that expressions like "read a little" or "play a little" were a shortening or stand in for "for a little while." That seems to match up with the "pick a little" lyric.
It's interesting how "little bit," "little," and "bit" became almost interchangeable references to time, and also to various verbs or other adjectives.
Regarding how people really speak, I find reading transcripts and comparing that experience with having listened to the original audio fascinating as the transcript shows just how goofy speech actually is. I do not hear the fragmentation, rambling asides, unfinished thoughts, etc, as much as when I read them. I can generally follow the meaning in speech far better than I can its text. The text provides a very interesting record of what would otherwise be considered near unintelligible, at least to me.
The next step after reducing to the initials "WTF" is to read them off in one of those encoded alphabets: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
This was a fantastic episode, and now I'm listening to the new Broadway cast recording of The Music Man 😁 thanks!