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

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4
votes
2answers
656 views

Differing pronunciations of “divisive”

I've always pronounced it dɪˈvaɪsɪv (rhymes with incisive). Today at his press conference, President Obama pronounced it dɪˈvɪsɪv (rhymes with dismissive). I've heard the latter pronunciation off ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is "early mark" used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn't have information ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Regional word for paperboard that school children use in projects?

I'm talking about large paperboard that school children create their projects on. They might draw or paste things on them, usually to present some sort of information. You may see them carrying them ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

Resources describing Somerset English [closed]

Can anyone suggest any good resources describing the grammar of traditional Somerset English (not accented standard English)? The Wikipedia article for the West Country dialects provides a good ...
4
votes
2answers
256 views

Usage of hain't

According to Dictionary.com, ain't has two meanings: Nonstandard except in some dialects. am not; are not; is not. Nonstandard. have not; has not; do not; does not; did not. When I ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

History and usage of “dooryard”

I have been interested in the expression "dooryard stop" recently. This is an expression that is used to describe a short visit in someone's dooryard (driveway) that often means not staying long ...
2
votes
0answers
379 views

How is “World English” difficult for native speakers of English? [closed]

There is a newly used term, World English (WE). It is nobody's mother tongue. It is spoken across the world, for example, at check-in desks, airports, international trade fairs, world cup football ...
1
vote
3answers
238 views

What dialect is “I be doing this”?

In which part of the world do people use sentences like "I be doing this" (missing out the 'will' after the 'I')? Sounds like some of the 'street-ghetto' to me. What is it exactly?
6
votes
4answers
652 views

Was your fender “stove-in” after your car was hit by that truck?

Is stove-in — smashed inward — an archaic expression? Is it a regional expression? I was speaking with someone from my hometown (Salem, MA), and he used the word during our conversation. Made me ...
5
votes
6answers
507 views

How do you refer to a hyponym that is the same word as the hypernym?

What word (or how do you phrase things) do you use when the ostensible word for the class is the same as the word for a subset of the class? For example, in the United States, there are many brands ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Modern-day equivalent of “dog my cats”

As you know, somewhere in The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim expresses his certainty that he's noticed that a noise came from the garden of Miss Watson by saying (my emphasis) "Say, who is ...
4
votes
2answers
543 views

Pronunciation of Bank, Tank, etc.: Bay-nk, Ray-nk or Baen-k or Raen-k?

What is the standard US pronunciation for words such as the following: Bank Rank At least in my dialect of US English (Inland Northern), the following seem like close transcriptions: Bank: ...
10
votes
4answers
938 views

Pronouncing the “N” as separate syllable at the end of words like “known” and “pattern”

Over time, I have heard people pronounce the "n" on words like "known" (NO-en) and "pattern" (PAT-r-en), as though it were a separate syllable. The instances of my hearing such have been rare ones, ...
12
votes
4answers
625 views

When quoting speakers of another English dialect than your own, should you spell things their way?

I realize (or realise?) I may be splitting hairs here, but I find this question interesting, and I’ve never heard or seen it discussed before. I was about to post a quote from Rich Hickey outside my ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Do “hull” and “full” rhyme?— rules for “short U” sounds before L

I grew up speaking a variety of American English that merges the "short U" sounds before L. The "short U" sounds are the vowels in the words STRUT and FOOT. For me, before an L sound, all words have ...
9
votes
5answers
529 views

OED Appeals: Origin of “bimble”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: bimble verb earlier than 1983 The word bimble, meaning ‘to move at a leisurely pace’, ...
2
votes
2answers
857 views

Pronunciation of “catch”

I was curious about the different pronunciations of the word catch; more specifically, the difference between /kætʃ/ and /kɛtʃ/. The Oxford dictionary lists both pronunciations as correct; is this ...
6
votes
4answers
478 views

Origin of “Erry” (every)

I have noticed a trend in some rap music where erry replaces the word every (see 1:35 of "The Motto" by Drake). Can anyone shed light on the origins of this pronunciation? I thought it might trace to ...
-1
votes
1answer
185 views

Does and online repository exist for texts written in African American English / 'Ebonics'? [closed]

I wonder whether I can find a work of literature in AAE somewhere? I mean not citations of conversations or songs etc, but a full-fledged story or novel or technical text.
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Hwat, hwere, and hwy?

In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? Example from Youtube. Notice his pronunciation of whisky.
6
votes
1answer
233 views

Who says /ˈjumə/ for “humor”?

What dialect(s) pronounce humor voiced initially and non-rhotic finally (i.e., with both those features in the same dialect: the word would be pronounced something like /ˈjumə/)?
7
votes
4answers
713 views

Why “me” instead of “my” in pirate speech?

I don’t understand the usage in constructions like “Spare meself, me ship, me crew” in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Is it a dialect or “bloody pirate’s speech” or what?
4
votes
3answers
556 views

Which English dialects have 2nd person plural?

"Y'all" is the famous southern US form of the 2nd person plural. The Brooklyn / Italian-American "youse" might be another. While the existence and usage of "y'all" has been addressed somewhat ...
4
votes
3answers
485 views

Does American “condominium” as applies to building ownership have an equivalent term in British or Australian or other English dialects?

An American "condo" is a building, usually residential or industrial, that is owned in condominium by multiple parties. I've recently learned that this term isn't used in conversation in Britain or ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

What metaphor do countries that don't play baseball use for intercourse?

Related question: In sex talk, how many bases are there and what do they all mean? There are lots of English-speaking (or English-learning) countries where baseball simply isn't played much if at ...
7
votes
5answers
826 views

Regional pronunciation of “calliope”?

I’m watching Auction Kings and a lady from Atlanta (who does not have much of a southern US accent) is putting a calliope up for auction. What caught my attention was the way she pronounce it: ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Do we “study about” something?

I accept study about where study is a noun ("He conducted a study about changes in population"), but I saw this construct in a local newspaper article and it struck me as odd. Here, study is a verb. ...
3
votes
1answer
454 views

Do things that “get one’s rocks off ” always “rock one’s socks off ”?

I see both of these two phrases used quite often and I have to question why rocks are so cool here. Is there a history behind both of these sayings, and is possible that both of them are just mere ...
2
votes
2answers
653 views

New Orleans Accent

I'd heard that New Orleans residents are more New York- than Southern-sounding. Recently, I saw some of the Khan Academy videos, and noticed that Salman Khan, who, as Wikipedia says, is from New ...
1
vote
0answers
148 views

“She don't care about me”: how to explain this? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much” I know the rule, the correct form is: "she doesn't care about me," but I heard it in Lost series, I ...
8
votes
3answers
24k views

Is 'useable' preferred in certain regions, or just an alternate spelling of 'usable'?

I rarely use spell checkers, but today when I did use one, it suggested changing the word 'useable' to 'usable' (i.e. to drop the first 'e'). This seemed immediately intuitive and I thought I'd just ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Origins of the south-western Pennsylvania slang word “Yinz”

A common slang word used in south western Pennsylvania and the forefront example of of what is commonly known as "Pittsburghese" is the word: Yinz Pronounced: | yinz | Or alternatively it is ...
10
votes
3answers
476 views

What is the best term to categorize a lolcat image and text?

I've seen the captions described as a dialect, patois, "kitty pidgin" and language play which is well and good but doesn't get to the key visual aspect (silly/cute/adorable cats). Wikipedia offers ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

Dialectal and historical usage of “not care” in the meaning of “not mind”

In standard Present-day English, "I don't care to be there" means the same as "I don't wish to be there." Apparently, this is not the case in some present and historical dialects. Wylene P. Dial ...
8
votes
9answers
180k views

What is the difference between “curd” and “yogurt”?

Most people use the words curd and yogurt interchangeably. Both are made by fermenting milk. Is there a difference between the two, or are they the same?
3
votes
4answers
400 views

What's the negative of the nonstandard perfect: “He done eat his breakfast”

In movies I hear a lot of sentences like that in the title of the question spoken mainly by African Americans. As I understand it's the dialect version of the standard Present Perfect. I was wondering ...
1
vote
1answer
194 views

We was gonna have some fun [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “You was trouble”? In the movie "Thelma & Louise", Thelma says: You said we was gonna have some fun, so let's have some! So my question is why does ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “slicker than snot on a doorknob” mean?

I have a friend from Mississippi and I've heard him use this expression sometimes: slicker than snot on a doorknob. What exactly does it mean? (I guess it's something positive but I'm not too sure ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

to “sleep” vs to “go to sleep”

I'm from the northeast US. When describing the phenomenon of going to bed at night, or falling asleep, I always formulate the verb like that, as in "I went to bed at 10" or "I didn't fall asleep until ...
4
votes
2answers
313 views

Cockney wh-dropping

The Cockney accent typically, or at least stereotypically, drops the initial /h/ from many a word. Does it drop the initial /h/ from who, whole, whore, and whose? Wikipedia says yes, but I seek a more ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Pronunciation of vowel in vague as [æ] instead of [eɪ]

I have a friend who pronounces the vowel in plague, vague, and bagel as [æ] instead of the standard [eɪ] (so plague rhymes with flag, for instance). Interestingly, he apparently can't tell the ...
4
votes
6answers
15k views

Proper usage of the word 'thunk'

What is the proper usage of the word thunk? According to Merriam-Webster, it is dialect past and past participle of think Can it be used in a formal context? Is "Who would have thunk?" different ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

“You was trouble”?

guess some of you know the song "Grenade" from Bruno Mars, one of the lines is: Should've known you was trouble from the first kiss English isn't my mother tongue, but "was trouble" just sounds ...
14
votes
5answers
15k views

Did regular Americans speak the way actors in the 30s and 1940s did?

I watch a lot of old movies, and I've noticed that American actors of the 1930s and 1940s often spoke in a quasi-generic-posh-British accent. Katherine Hepburn's accent would be the perfect example. ...
4
votes
6answers
948 views

“Mic” as an abbreviation for microwave

Last week, I was among a group of friends and commented on the fact that someone had removed a sticker from their microwave. I used the word "mic" to abbreviate microwave, and people thought I was ...
0
votes
2answers
383 views

What dialect is this man speaking?

Ignoring the linguistically incorrect and wrong-headed things said in this video, the more puzzling problem: I have no idea what dialect or type of English the man in the video is speaking. I have ...
7
votes
3answers
537 views

Do people who metathesize “ask” do it to other words as well?

As most of us have heard (and some people get offended about), there are dialects of English in which the word ask undergoes metathesis and is pronounced aks. Are there English dialects in which this ...
15
votes
5answers
18k views

Differences between “sledge”, “sleigh” and “sled”

Is there a difference between a sledge, a sleigh and a sled? Dictionary definitions suggest they are synonymous, but it certainly sounds wrong to refer to Santa Claus on a sledge.
7
votes
5answers
6k views

What's with the 'heigth' pandemic?

Recently I've noticed that many people are pronouncing the word 'height' as /haiθ/ That's right, heigth. I've only ever heard this pronunciation mistake in the last few years. Maybe it's just ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

Dialects where days of the week end with “dee”?

Someone recently posted a question about the pronunciation of Wednesday, which reminded me of a different question about pronouncing the days of the week I've had floating around in my head for a ...