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I grew up speaking British English. The words I learnt were occasionally marked off in papers, despite their being English words. Are words like betwixt, trebble, learnt acceptable in papers for English classes for professors in America, specifically Texas?

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No. Say any of those words anywhere in the United States or its possessions, you will be set upon and beaten. The penalty for whilst is death. (I kid, but no, no-one will have a clue what you're saying.) –  Malvolio Apr 12 '11 at 16:53
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

"Betwixt" is archaic and highly marked for American English, but not technically wrong.

"Learnt" is non-standard, but intelligible and probably not a problem.

I've never heard or seen the word "trebble", and would mark it as an error in any piece of formal writing.

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@EricR, aha! That word is normally spelled "treble", but most American English speakers would use "triple", and might not even recognize "treble". –  JSBձոգչ Aug 5 '10 at 22:10
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I've lived in the US all my life, and never heard of "trebble." I've rarely if ever heard of "treble" used in the non-musical sense. –  Pops Aug 5 '10 at 23:59
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In the US, I've most frequently seen "treble" used in legal settings as in "treble damages," though I think I've seen "triple damages" more frequently (I know I looked up "treble" the first time I read the phrase "treble damages" to make sure it meant what I thought). –  Isaac Aug 6 '10 at 1:17
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treble clef.... –  Armstrongest Aug 6 '10 at 18:08
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@Isaac: If you own a sound system, or just a set of speakers, or if you have ever run across an equalizer on your mobile phone, PC or TV set, look closer: if there's a control labeled "bass", chances are that there's also a control labeled "treble". –  RegDwigнt Sep 21 '10 at 14:34
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I've never heard an American use betwixt, trebble (or aught, naught, or nought), or learnt, although:

"betwixt and between" as a figure of speech would be "acceptable".

"larnt" is an Appalachian dialect word that would cost you points in a school paper.

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"naught" is frequently used in the U.S. in mathematical contexts in relation to subscripts: x-sub-0, x-sub-1, etc., are often read as "x-naught," "x-one," etc. This leads inevitably to jokes centering around y-sub-0/why-not. –  Isaac Aug 12 '10 at 5:45
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@Isaac: In Britain we would normally spell the synonym for zero "nought" (leaving "naught" as an archaic / dialect word for "nothing"). And the "y-nought"/"y-not" joke wouldn't work, because we pronounce the vowels differently :) –  psmears Feb 5 '11 at 10:51
    
@psmears - How are the vowels different? I realise that Scottish pronunciation is a bit different, but I would have thought of them as identical. –  neil Mar 12 '11 at 0:20
    
@neil: OK, when I say "in Britain" that is of course shorthand for "in certain parts of the southern part of England", i.e. the accent/dialect that has for some reason come to be regarded as "standard British English" - no slur intended on friends north of the border or elsewhere! Anyway - this question has a nice discussion; in terms of nohat's answer there my not is "lot-cloth" and my nought is "thought-north-force". Since Scottish pronunciation is interesting you might want to add your list of merged lexical sets to nohat's answer! :) –  psmears Mar 12 '11 at 14:28
    
@psmears - indeed, the problem is I consider lot-cloth-thought-north to be one and force completely different. Although it is difficult to analyse what sounds you are making. –  neil Mar 12 '11 at 21:29
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I'm American, and the only place I've ever seen treble used was on computer speakers and car stereos (as in bass and treble).

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"Treble" (in British English at least) can mean the same as "triple", as well as high in (musical) pitch, as in the opposite of "bass" (see also the Wiktionary entry).

"Learnt" (again, British English) is an alternative past form of "learned" (Wiktionary again).

"Betwixt" is a great word, but is somewhat archaic (Wiktionary, one more time). Despite that, either "twixt" or "betwixt" was used in the film Serenity.

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Treble is also used in crochet to describe a triple crochet stitch. –  KitFox Jul 25 '12 at 14:05
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My $.02 USD:

Betwixt: not commonly used nationwide; I've heard it (and used it) in New England.

Trebble: We don't double up the b. It's spelled 'treble' and it is still in use.

In American English, we don't substitute the -ed ending on verbs with a t.

Learnt = learned Spelt = spelled

and so on.

Without wanting to speak ill of Texas... it's Texas. They have their own dialect of English down there.

As a bit of anecdotal evidence, my nickname is "Lin" (short for Linda). My Texas friends manage to take the letters Lin and somehow stretch two syllables out of them. "Le-in" it becomes. Why? I have NO idea.

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Treble might be more acceptable if the US played darts more often. In BE, the 3x multiplier ring of a dart board is called the treble ring of which the highest scoring segment is the treble twenty. http://www.pdc.tv/staticFiles/b6/b3/0,,10180~177078,00.pdf

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