This tag is for questions related to mutually intelligible variations within a language.

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12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “chaperon” versus “chaperone” a US versus British English thing?

I've noticed that "chaperone" can also be spelt "chaperon", without the "e" at the end. Is this a case of American English simplifying a British English word, or something else? The original French ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

“available (availability)” vs. “valid (validity)” for “having sufficient power or efficacy” in AmEng vernacular

Per Random House Webster's College Dictionary, Ed. 1991, available suitable or ready for use; of use or service; at hand: I used whatever tools were available. readily obtainable; ...
3
votes
5answers
322 views

Ambiguous meaning of NAmEng sense of “skill” in Harrap's English-French Dictionary

Harrap's New Shorter English-French/French-English Dictionary, Ed. 1982, states, skill n 1. habileté f, adresse f, dextérité f; technical skill, habileté, aptitude f, technique; ...
1
vote
3answers
87 views

“crash” vs. “wreck” for [road/air] accident in AmEng

What's the difference between those terms in relation to a road or air accident? crash verb (Aeronautics) to cause (an aircraft) to hit land or water violently resulting in severe damage ...
5
votes
2answers
213 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

…if somebody would've just did it

(This would never have happened) "...if somebody would've just did it." (Just heard on 'Undercover Boss' (US TV)) I know this is 'wrong'. And I realise that it is 'colloquial' (belonging to common ...
8
votes
3answers
558 views

“jam,” “jelly,” and “jello” in AmEng vernacular

What exactly is the fruit preserve called "jam" in the U.S.? Is it what is referred to in France as "confiture"? If so, then what would be the French for, what is called "jelly" in the U.S. ("jam" ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

“woodsy” vs. “woody” for “covered with trees/wooded” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those terms? Context would be a quaint little village nestled into a hillside covered with trees, sort of like this one. WOODY: 4. Abounding in trees; wooded. ...
4
votes
4answers
118 views

Collective “linens” vs. “linen” in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference in using the uncountable noun linen either in the plural or in the singular to refer to articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear? How did originally ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

“black ice” vs. “glare ice” vs. “glaze” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those varieties of ice forming on paved surfaces during the cold season? black ice sometimes called clear ice: a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms on ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

“slick” vs. “slippery” for a road, sidewalk, etc. in NAmEng vernacular

What's the difference between these terms? slippery : tending or liable to cause slipping or sliding, as ice, oil, or a wet surface: a slippery road. Random House Kennerman Webster's College ...
3
votes
0answers
72 views

Do Old English dialects correspond well with modern English ones?

I came across this article the other day. At the bottom there's a family tree of English dialects, both extant and extinct ones. It makes it out that southern English dialects came from Wessax ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

The rain/snow/storm “let up”

What does "let up" denote in "the rain/storm has let up so we can go out/drive back home"? With a context lacking clarity, should it be understood as, "the [hard] rain/storm has lessened up to a ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Is there a dictionary with phonemic transcription for different dialects? [duplicate]

Sometimes I am not sure how a Northerner says "Winter is coming". I searched on the Internet but nothing showed up. I wonder if you know there is a dictionary (online or offline) that simply contains ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

Incorrect grammar vs dialect (when/whenever)

My good friend is from Pittsburgh and frequently uses the word whenever to mean the word when. I am aware this is a regional dialect and really wish to respect that, but it is causing numerous ...
7
votes
3answers
294 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
2
votes
2answers
76 views

Why is the past tense of text, as used by some people, pronounced “text-ted” and not just “tested”?

Why is the past tense of text, as used by some people, pronounced text-Ted and not just tested? One wouldn't say risk-ked for risked, or ask-ked for asked?
0
votes
1answer
71 views

“I was already gone” and “I had already gone”

Could you please explain the difference between I was gone and I had gone in the following sentence: When Tom got home I was already gone When Tom got home I had already gone
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Is posh English an accent/dialect or a style/manner of talking?

When mentioning posh English, everybody thinks about the way royal people talk. Is it a specific dialect/accent or the style of talking of posh people? For example, one characteristic of posh English ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Is the expression 'of an evening', 'of a morning', 'of a Saturday', good English or dialect?

People will say: He usually comes round here about 8 o'clock of an evening, or 10 o'clock of a morning, or of a Saturday afternoon. Is this standard English? I tend to associate it with Londoners.
6
votes
1answer
181 views

Does anywhere else add an 'L' to words ending in a vowel sound?

When I was six I moved from Manchester (northwestern England) to Bath (southwestern England). I was baffled to hear my school mates describe the 'aerials' they lived in. Fast forward many years ...
1
vote
4answers
168 views

Why are American and British English almost identical? [closed]

This might seem to be a dumb question; however, I think it's rather strange that the two dialects are so similar considering the huge geographical distance between Great Britain and America. In the ...
3
votes
3answers
281 views

Not fully pronounced oʊ (ō) sound in some words

Words like so, no, vocabulary, and don’t all contain the long o sound inside them. But I regularly hear native English speakers pronouncing the [oʊ] sound in these words (and some others containing ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Why the does 'tu' get pronounced 'tyu' in British English?

Despite being a native Brit, I've always found it an oddity that words like "tutor", "tube", "tumour", and "duty" are pronounced as "tyutor", "tyube", "tyumour", and "duty" in British English. For me, ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Is the 'au' phoneme on the decline?

I live in the midwest, grew up in Chicago. Here, altho there is usually a clear distinction between au like in 'auditorium' and o like in 'on', the 2 are often used interchangeably in ordinary ...
41
votes
16answers
7k views

Is “act like a mensch” too localized for ELU readers (U.S. and/or British English)?

This question was motivated by an interesting comment that was made at http://academia.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/123681?noredirect=1 Part of Answer: I don't think that particular research ...
1
vote
2answers
231 views

Why can't I pronounce the ŋ sound? (native English speaker)

I was wondering why it is that I'm unable to pronounce this sound. Apparently, the reason why I pronounce the words "seen" and "sing" the exact same way (as well as "long" and "lawn", "dean" and ...
5
votes
3answers
566 views

Colors = Crayons?

I always considered the word "colors" as synonymous with the word "crayons," e.g. "the teacher asked her students to take out their colors" would mean "the teacher asked her students to take out their ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Lost Out of Sky - Local Usage (India) or Typo

I was reading a news story about a jet crash in the UK from a site hosted in India, and I believe the author may also be from there. In it, I saw the sentence: The jet which appeared to have lost ...
0
votes
2answers
169 views

Using “done” instead of “did”

How does it work the use of the past participle done instead of the past tense did? Where is this form used? Only in southern U.S.? How often?
4
votes
3answers
465 views

How to use the word “finna” correctly?

I've heard both "I'm finna go to the store" and "He finna go to the store." Do we prefer with "is, am, are", or without? Is it a regional / dialectic difference, or are they interchangeable?
2
votes
2answers
192 views

Is this meaning of “scurrilous” only known/understood to speakers of American English?

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the word "scurrilous", meaning "given to the use of coarse or vulgar language". I shared this word with two other people, but they had taken it to mean "scandalous". ...
-1
votes
2answers
190 views

What is the UK-English Equivalent for “band-aid?” [closed]

What is the UK-English equivalent for "band-aid?" That is, the bandage one puts over cuts and the like?
4
votes
3answers
205 views

What word(s) do children of English native speakers use for “kid”/“child”/etc

I'm looking for (a) word(s) that is/are perceived to be child's language by adults, not words used by adults to describe children. What would be fine though are words used by adults when they are ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

How to pronounce “digne” and “na”?

I looked up unproduced in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)¹ and it gave an example quotation from the 1965 edition of John Ireland's 1490 compendium The Meroure of Wyssdome ("The Mirror of ...
4
votes
2answers
196 views

Word/term meaning “conversion from one dialect to another”?

Is there a word in linguistics that means conversion from one dialect to another dialect? In most sources in which I've looked¹, the word "translation" only means conversion of one language to ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

I’m looking for a word or phrase which clearly describes this: a number of dialects of the same language are spoken across a geographical area

and, although slightly different from one another, as one crosses them all, from the westernmost to the easternmost of them (or vice-versa) , one will observe that they differ from one region to the ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Does anyone still use “skyrocket” in the original sense?

In US English, I can't recall having heard this word used to describe a reaction-drive pyrotechnic or vehicle in many years. Almost invariably, the word as used describes a rapid or exponential ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Is tapping common in English?

From Bruce Hayes' Introductory Phonology, I am presented with the following phonological rule called tapping: /t/ -> [ɾ] / [+vowel] ___ [+vowel -stress] That is, /t/ has an allophonic realization as ...
5
votes
3answers
201 views

Using 'tedious' to mean 'annoying'

Some of my British friends use the word 'tedious' to mean 'annoying.' A recent example: The museums in Oslo aren't open on Mondays. That's a bit tedious. I'm a native American English speaker ...
2
votes
3answers
577 views

Is 'surface street' specific to southern California?

In Los Angeles, California, the US, the phrase surface street is in common use. It refers to an ordinary city street, as opposed to a controlled-access freeway. Presumably the word surface comes ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

American versus British collective nouns with plural verbs

"The group are all here." The British seem more inclined to use a plural verb ("are") in sentences like this than Americans are. At some time in the past it struck me that there are some singular ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What does “wil(d)in'” mean?

In Rihanna's song "FourFiveSeconds", this line is sung in the chorus: Now I'm four, five seconds from wilin'... I searched on Google for the definition of "wilin'" and got this: wildin' ...
9
votes
3answers
531 views

How do I identify a British idiom from an American one?

I live outside the US and the UK. I just started reading a book titled "Speak English like an American". The book teaches numerous idioms but I don't know if these idioms are usable outside the the ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Pittsburgh English - dropping the “to be” before a verb [duplicate]

This is a region dialect issue, while discussing local idiosyncrasies the question came up is the following sentence grammatically correct with or without the "to be" "The clothes on the line need to ...
4
votes
3answers
408 views

What AmE dialect has “et” as the past tense of “eat”?

In several books and TV shows, there have been characters who say "et" instead of "ate" (As in, "I et dinner yesterday at 6:00"). I looked it up on Wiktionary, which defines it but doesn't say where ...
0
votes
0answers
78 views

Is “more easy” correct is some dialects?

French here, learnt British English at school, now the Internet blurred my knowledge so I tend to mix British and American writing... :-) (was about to write I learned English...) I often see (and ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

How did different accents originate in English? [closed]

I want to know the New Zealand and Australian dialects in English. Please tell me what you know.
4
votes
5answers
305 views

Is “He should be consequenced” an error?

I've been watching The Sopranos recently; a very useful vehicle for picking up American pronunciation and mob slang. In series one, episode seven, Tony Soprano and his wife Carmela are in the school ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

What dialect or accent is Woishington?

My mother uses the pronunciation woish or worsh for wash, feesh for fish, and deleecious for delicious. What accent or dialect is this considered? She has lived her entire life in central Illinois. ...