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

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0answers
45 views

In which regions of the UK do children “knock on” for their friends?

As someone who has lived most of his life south of a line drawn from The Severn to The Wash - the great linguistic and cultural divide in England - I was not familiar with the expression knocking on. ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

Kiwi (New Zealand) Pronunciation of “Moscow”

So I was watching some Flight of the Conchords just a moment ago (classic), and they're from New Zealand. In one of their songs, they said "Moscow". I'd assumed that Kiwis would say it "Mos-co" (like ...
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0answers
62 views

Is day-ta more common in the South or the North of the US?

So I've read that dah-ta is more common in the US than in other places, but is day-ta or dah-ta more common to hear in the South? I haven't been able to find that out for sure.
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Word for when a writer uses alternate spelling and grammar to immitate a dialect

What is the word for when a writer spells words of a character's dialogue differently for a character in order to express an accent or dialect? I think it starts with a 'd'.
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2answers
52 views

Term for “Hereditary by Nurture” [closed]

In the nature vs. nurture debate, there's a category oft forgotten: hereditary by nurture. This is a strict subset of nurture - the extreme case of it - where, from the time of birth, the environment ...
3
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1answer
72 views

Are some accents/dialects incorrect [closed]

I may not be incorrect in my knowledge about speech, but Dialects or accents that drop sounds from words, syllables from words, or just completely change the sound from words are they correct? I see ...
0
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1answer
118 views

Is “take a bath” or “bathe” used to mean “take a shower” in some English dialects?

By analogy with Portuguese tomar banho [de chuveiro/ducha], which along with tomar uma ducha/chuveirada (Br.)/duche (Port.) means, take a shower, are there any parts of the English speaking world in ...
2
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0answers
49 views

Use of “what” vs “that”? [duplicate]

There is a song titled "Better Not Wake the Baby" by a band called The Decemberists. One of the lines in the song is as follows: Drown yourself in crocodile tears, Curse the god what made ...
0
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2answers
164 views

What are the South African words for crisps and French Fries?

Consider Exhibit A. Consider Exhibit B. In England, A is referred to as 'Chips' and B is referred to as 'Crisps'. In the United States A is referred to as 'French Fries' and B is referred to ...
5
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4answers
469 views

“exhibition” vs. “exposition” vs. “exhibit” in AmEng

What's the difference between those words with regard to a public showing, as of goods or works of art? Can these be used interchangeably? Both "exhibit" and "exposition" are marked as Americanisms ...
1
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2answers
70 views

The usage of Porch vs. Patio [duplicate]

I'm a student originally from the West Coast but currently studying in New England. I came across an interesting question concerning dialectology and the use of Patio vs. Porch. I have observed other ...
12
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1answer
178 views

What accents pronounce “quarter” as “korter”? Which other words can drop /w/ before /ɔr/ like this?

Many people drop the "w" from words like "dwarf," changing the pronunciation from /dwɔrf/ to /dɔrf/. This has led to the re-spelling "dorf" being used in some informal contexts, e.g. "Dorf Fort." My ...
1
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0answers
15 views

“been a watching”, “been a playing” - why? [duplicate]

I first encountered adding an "a" before a verb in songs in phrases such as "I've been a-playing". At first I thought that songwriters add it when they need one more syllable to make a verse sound ...
35
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4answers
2k views

Why do I pronounce “horrible” so harrhibly?

With Friends Like These A few months ago, a couple good friends brought up a topic they know I disdain, and kept prodding me for my opinion on it. They wouldn't let up, until finally I proclaimed ...
3
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1answer
49 views

Is there any dialect of English that uses “positive ever” to mean “once”?

One of the most interesting things for me is to learn that some construction that seems completely ungrammatical to me is completely okay for speakers of some other dialect of English. For example, ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

What is Mother Gothel's Accent?

What is the accent of Mother Gothel in the movie Tangled? In an interview with the voice actor (see here), she has a pretty neutral American accent (GenAm + father-bother + caught/cot, from what I ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

You'll have had your tea

Okay, so I've become aware of the phrase "you'll have had your tea", which is something of a cliché of a Scottish dialect. I'm not actually sure if it's currently in common usage or not. But I have ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

“flat,” “stone,” “dead,” “dirt,” “plumb,” and “right” as indicators of directness, completeness, or general intensity [closed]

What's the difference between those words? Can they be used just about interchangeably as adverbs indicating completeness or totality? Please, compare: Looking back over my years of wildlife ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

“Poor as Job's cat”

In which part(s) of the U.S. can one still hear the colorful simile, (as) poor as Job's cat? poor as Job - Poverty-stricken, indigent, destitute. The allusion is to the extreme poverty which ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Usage of the verb “squinch” in AmEng

Collins American English Dictionary says: squinch (skwɪntʃ) (US) transitive verb to squint (the eyes); squinched up her eyes in disgust. M-W 2. a. to pucker ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

In what varieties of English can “does not qualify” mean “disqualifies”? [closed]

Are there any (nonstandard?) varieties (dialects/registers/styles) of English where "does not X" can mean "does the opposite of X", either in general, or specifically for the transitive verb qualify, ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Is “agone” still a current dialectal expression?

Agone is defined in dictionaries as an archaic form of "gone" (TFD) but according to Etymonline the term is still used as a dialectal variant: Ago: ago (adj.) early 14c., shortened form ...
2
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2answers
82 views

Proper usage of “does” in “Where does it come from?”

When inquiring after the immediate origin of a thing (i.e., where I purchased this gallon of milk), my wife will frequently say, "Where does it come from?". This always sounds odd to me—I'd say "Where ...
12
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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
94 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; ...
1
vote
5answers
367 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; ...
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vote
3answers
117 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
265 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
80 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
622 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
113 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. ...
3
votes
5answers
203 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
253 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
96 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
391 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
95 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
49 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
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3answers
83 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
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3answers
690 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
99 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?
1
vote
1answer
164 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
249 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
193 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
187 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
384 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
288 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
43 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 ...
43
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
372 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
602 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 ...