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

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10
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3answers
502 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
217 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
251k 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
434 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
214 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
3k 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
326 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
4k 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
20k 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
5k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
20k 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
1k 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
395 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
641 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
27k 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
6answers
8k 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
6k 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
935 views

Tuques and dialects - What do you call a knitted cap in your region/dialect? [closed]

In Canadian English the word tuque refers to a knitted cap for use in cold weather. I'd like to know what such an item is commonly called in other dialects and regions since most people are utterly ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

“Bad with something” or “bad at something”?

In a question on Spanish.StackExchange, a question came up about expressing that you are bad at remembering or doing something. Is one "bad at something" or "bad with something" (nouns)? What about ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Website giving pronunciations of English words recorded in different dialects?

I'm aware that there are certain websites around that provide recorded examples of English words pronounced in different accents/dialects. Could anybody list some of them?
12
votes
2answers
21k views

Can you grammatically end a sentence with “with”?

Do you want to come with? Can I come with? I seem to hear this construction more often in recent years, but it still grates on my ear. I know it's often said that one shouldn't end a ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Differences between dialects

I'm Italian and I'm trying to improve my English, but I have some difficulty speaking with and understanding people of different countries. For example when I study English in books it seems to be ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

“Sour cream” versus “soured cream”

Does anyone besides my husband insist on adding an -ed to sour cream? Etymonline dates "sour cream" to 1855, but has no mention of "soured", so I don't think this is analogous to "iced tea" or "ice ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Using “sorry” to mean “pardon”

In British English, a common way of expressing a polite request for a person to repeat what they just said because you didn't hear (all) of it is to use the interjection, "sorry?". I was wondering ...
6
votes
3answers
306 views

Is there an incorrect use of “infer” in “Absalom, Absalom!”?

I was taken aback to discover the following in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! on page 157 of my (Vintage International) edition: the magnolia-faced woman a little plumper now, a woman ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Why has Southern US English all but abandoned adverb forms?

In Southern US English, adverb forms are almost always replaced by their adjective forms. For example: The journey was awful long. He's running real fast. He ran to the store quick. He ...
16
votes
1answer
299 views

I was raised being called “sister” by my family. What's the background on this usage?

I was called "sister", as a replacement for my name. (Oddly, my brother was not called "brother.") I never questioned this growing up in the 50's in a rural area. It says much about the culture I grew ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

“Salty” in place of expensive?

Someone I know was talking about 600gb hard drives and his description of the cost was "salty". When I asked him to clarify, he told me it meant that they were expensive. I have searched and can't ...
3
votes
3answers
294 views

Is 'doo' a cajun term of endearment?

Paul Simon's zydeco-flavored song That Was Your Mother starts like this: A long time ago, yeah Before you was born dude When I was still single And life was great ... At least ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How commonly does “done” replace “did”?

How common is it for native English speakers to actively replace the past tense 'did' with the past participle 'done'? I used to think it was only really done in rather vulgar dialects, but I have ...
6
votes
2answers
872 views

Would the “Cavendish drawl” be considered a dialect?

I was reading the biography Georgiana, by Amanda Foreman, and came across a description of what she calls the Cavendish drawl, an accent of sorts that was spoken by the Cavendish family. One blog ...
2
votes
2answers
213 views

Origin and usage of “for choice”

I recently encountered the phrase "for choice" to mean "by preference". At first it didn't look like idiomatic English to me, but a web search turned it up in a few other places. Is this common in ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the difference between the various dialects of English?

I've read and heard "British English", "American English", "Australian English", etc. I know there are differences in accents and word choices but is there a larger difference that makes ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

Are older senses of “anent” still alive in any dialect?

The obscure preposition anent has a long history, going back as far as Beowulf: him on efn ligeð ealdorgewinna [line 2903] ("beside him lies his great enemy") It has carried many meanings, ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Which dialects pronounce “pen” as “pin”?

I recently encounter someone who said pen exactly as I would say pin. I looked in my dictionary only to find these pronunciations: pen — |pen| pin — |pin| No crossover was ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Sleep in” versus “Sleep out”

Over the years, I have often debated whether the phrase is "In the morning, I'm going to sleep in." or "In the morning, I'm going to sleep out." My best guess is that it is a regional difference of ...
10
votes
4answers
9k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

What's a Denver accent sound like?

I'm trying to learn to imitate the accent of someone from a slummy area of Denver (for a roleplaying game). Info on different local accents is welcome; a sound bite would be especially useful. If you ...
5
votes
5answers
5k views

Is “who all is” grammatically correct?

I often tend to say something like Who all is coming to the movies? And my friends correct me that I should be saying Who all are coming to the movies? So which one is correct?
7
votes
1answer
549 views

How to compare frequency of word use over time between British and American English?

Google Ngram viewer allows one to compare the frequencies of a set of phrases over time. It even allows you to restrict that comparison to an American corpus, or separately to an English one. What I ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

“That's okay” to mean “no” or “don't bother”?

Growing up, I became accustomed to using the phrase "that's okay" to mean "no" or "don't bother." For example: Waitress: Yous guys want any dessert?Patron [shaking head to mean no]: That's ...
4
votes
6answers
414 views

Can a negative be used to express a positive, such as “mangoes are sweet and so aren't papayas.”

Is it incorrect to use the positive/negative construction when the intent is positive/positive? In other words can these two statements be viewed as equivalent: Mangoes are sweet and so aren't ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Linking sounds?

When one word ends in a consonant sound and the next begins with a vowel sound, can you tell me how you say these words in American English? can I..? (Can nai or Ca nai?) take it (teɪ kit or teɪk ...
2
votes
3answers
456 views

Are “shower gel” and “body soap” regional synonyms?

In Australia where I'm from solid soap has practically been replaced by shower gel except for the older generations. I expected that this type of stuff and its name came from Euro-English but now I'm ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

“I'm sure” vs. “I'm for sure”: Who uses which, and when?

I hear both (and their negatives: "I'm not sure" and "I'm not for sure"). I want to classify the "for sure" variety as regional Southern, since that's the context I most often hear it. For example, ...
7
votes
12answers
27k views

What's the difference between “good on you” vs. “good for you”, with a sincere meaning something like “you've done a good thing”?

In the northeastern USA I usually hear "good for you," as in You passed the test? Good for you! [congrats] Good for you, for stopping to help! [you are a good person] Online I often see the ...
14
votes
8answers
79k views

What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there an American English dialect that sounds as “distingushed” as British English?

Obviously there are a lot of subjective words in the question. There are dialects of British English that don't sound distinguished at all (Cockney). Also, what sounds distinguished is somewhat ...
6
votes
7answers
5k views

Etymology of “fixing to”

As a Southerner, I completely understand the meaning of fixing to. It means I'm getting ready to do something. But what I don't understand is where this rather unusual usage of fix comes from. Nothing ...