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

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6
votes
5answers
302 views

Does quoting in British or American English depend on the quoted or the audience?

If you are quoting/documenting the conversation between two people — one is British and one American — do you use a consistent approach directed towards your intended audience or switch to ...
4
votes
2answers
532 views

Is it true that Cockney English is disappearing? And being replaced with “Jafaican”?

I read a couple of comments to that effect on this Youtube video, which is basically a man ranting in Cockney from the movie Football Factory (2004). The comments bemoan American ignorance about the ...
4
votes
2answers
940 views

Are any of the t-glottolization, th-fronting, h-dropping, etc. in English a phonological complex?

Wikipedia gives the following, with plenty others ommitted by me, as some of the features of Cockney English: T-glottalisation: Use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ in various ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

In what dialects does “often” rhyme with “soften”?

I believe in most English dialects soften is pronounced without a t sound. In some dialects, often is similar, but in others a t sound is quite evident in often. I'm interested not only in which ...
8
votes
9answers
17k views

What exactly does it mean to “mug somebody off” in British English?

I tried looking this up at the Urban Dictionary, but it gave only one net-upvoted definition, and that definition wasn't even clear. The background for my question is coming my watching from a movie ...
14
votes
3answers
7k views

Saying “today morning” to mean “this morning”

As an American, I use the term this morning, but I’ve noticed some Asian Indian coworkers who always say today morning to mean what I mean by this morning. Is this an Indian English “dialectism”? Is ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Recognizing a Welsh accent

For an American, I'm pretty good at UK dialects. I can immediately tell an Irish or Scottish accent from a typical (educated, Londoner) English accent. But I'm on shaky ground with Welsh accents, ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Does anybody pronounce the word “pillow” as “pellow”?

My girlfriend giggles whenever I say it, and I never realized that I said it differently then anyone else. But now that I am listening...NOBODY says pellow? They all say pillow. I've listened to my ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Do people in Miami really talk like they do in the television series “Dexter”?

as I'm far from being good English speaker, I use to watch series to improve my skills. I'm fan of various genres, from Star Trek to How I Met Your Mother and I can say until now, I felt "aligned" ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

“Checking” vs. “chequing” vs. “chequeing” with regards to types of bank accounts

I came across this little dilemma when looking up the incorrectly spelled word "chequing" in my web browser's dictionary (Opera). According to the different dictionaries you can select in Opera: EN ...
5
votes
4answers
341 views

US Route 101 — “The 101”

In my part of the world, we refer to highways without any article. So we drive on "Highway 64", or "Interstate 64", or "I-64". But when I go to California, they say "The 101". Is there any explanation ...
8
votes
1answer
426 views

Australian regional shibboleths

I have been living in Australia for 7 years now, and still haven't been able to pin down the local regional accents. I can tell a "Town" from a "Country" accent, but I can't reliably tell which state ...
7
votes
7answers
2k views

Incorrect grammar versus different dialects

My girlfriend, someone from southern New Jersey, constantly says phrases like "I'm done my homework" or "I'm done my dinner." I try to correct her and say, "I'm done with my homework" or "I'm done ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

“The thing is, is that…”

This is a phrase I've heard many people use, and it sounds wrong to me; e.g.: The thing about that is, is that she might take it the wrong way. It seems to treat "The thing [...] is"—the entire ...
16
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is “ask” sometimes pronounced “aks”?

We've recently moved from New Zealand to New York City, and have noticed that many people (most of whom have good English) pronounce "ask" as "aks". For example: Could you please go aks her ...
3
votes
4answers
554 views

In which dialect would “poll” mean “a person's head”?

I read that poll means also, in dialect, a person's head; that is the second meaning that NOAD gives to pool as noun. Is there, nowadays, a dialect where the word as that meaning? If such dialect ...
3
votes
2answers
886 views

Why are many TV personalities beginning to pronounce “daughter” as “dotter”?

I have noticed the changing of proununciations of words with -au and -aw by TV presenters which is spilling over into everyday speech. For example “dotter” for daughter, “otto” for auto, “jah” for ...
23
votes
7answers
22k views

Can 'revert' be used as a synonym of 'reply'?

I am a native speaker of American English, and I have only ever heard this usage of the word revert from one person. This person is not a native English speaker (he is from India), so he may just be ...
7
votes
5answers
738 views

Can “paper bag” mean any bag?

Being Swedish but living in Kenya for many years I initially reacted when at the local market I was offered a paper bag (verbally) but given a plastic bag (physically). This is always the case and ...
2
votes
2answers
719 views

Talking in a “football voice”

English is not my native language, but normally when I listen to the radio I have no problem understanding what's being said. That's different when I listen to sports commentary, I really have to ...
3
votes
3answers
887 views

“Needs cleaned” or “needs to be cleaned”

I'm from Western Pennsylvania. Until I moved away, I never realized that when I omitted the to be from phrases like needs to be cleaned, my usage was different than what most English speakers are ...
16
votes
7answers
18k views

Why is a woman's purse called a “pocketbook”?

It's not a book, and it doesn't fit in anyone's pocket. Why does my brother-in-law insist on calling his wife's purse a pocketbook? I'm interested in the etymology, and in the chronological and ...
40
votes
7answers
2k views

Which variant of English should I use when my target audience is the world?

I know that all variants of English (American English, British English, etc.) can be generally understood by everybody who knows any of the English variants. However, there are some regionalisms that ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What's this tense called: “I been done ate”?

Growing up in a Black family in the US, I frequently heard people have conversations like this: Mom: Have you eaten yet? Kid: Yeah, Mom, I been done ate. Wife: Have you fixed the sink yet? ...
20
votes
9answers
48k views

Using “dear”, “darling”, or “honey” to address a friend

As far as I know dear, darling, and honey are commonly used between lovers, but I suppose there are more words like that. What else is commonly used? Which of these can be used to address a ...
5
votes
2answers
861 views

What is the proper usage of “Y'all” in southern American dialects

The construction of the word to me implies that "you" is singular, whereas "y'all" is plural. To a football team: "Y'all are going to play a great game." To a tennis player: "You are going to play a ...
3
votes
1answer
255 views

How popular is 'brefass' in modern American vocabulary?

This is an abbreviation of 'breakfast' that I have found myself paying extra attention to recently. In fact I have even heard my mother use it on a regular basis. Is this common in modern spoken ...
11
votes
6answers
6k views

How should I pronounce “Worcestershire” as a rhotic English speaker?

I'm aware that the English county of Worcestershire is pronounced in Britain as ['wu:stəʃə], more or less. However, this is a non-rhotic pronunciation, and it feels very unnatural for me to use this ...
5
votes
8answers
6k views

Which is correct: “soda” or “pop”?

Depending on where you go in the world, some people will refer to a carbonated beverage as "soda" while others choose to use the term "pop." For example, "Can I get you a soda" vs. "Can I get you a ...
3
votes
3answers
766 views

In which dialects does “is wanting” work as an appropriate substitution for “wants”?

I've recently seen a movie character regularly use this construction (for example, "the dog is wanting to be taken out for a walk"), and I am trying to figure out which dialect or cultural background ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How do American dialects differ?

I grew up in a very homogenous suburb, and was quite shocked when I moved to Philadelphia for college and started hearing how many different dialects exist even within one city. My untrained ear could ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

The place where the railroad crosses the road

What do you call those places where a railroad crosses an automobile road?: Of course, I've heard what they are called in English, but I suspect that they are referred to differently depending on ...
19
votes
2answers
7k views

Where do accents and dialects come from?

Why do people in different areas speak differently? Where do accents come from, how do they change and/or survive over time and why do we have them? Reading recommendations on this topic would be ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

How common is “thrice”?

Our proofreader, a native speaker of American English, just won't let me use this word. Every single time I try to sneak it onto one of our sites, she replaces it with three times. Now, I do realize ...
3
votes
2answers
437 views

Where are phrases such as “my one friend” used?

I occasionally hear someone use the phrase "my one friend" to mean "one of my friends". To me it sounds like they only have one. Where is this form used most?
43
votes
12answers
2k views

Central Pennsylvanian English speakers: what are the limitations on the “needs washed” construction?

In the Central Pennsylvania dialect of English (and possibly elsewhere), the following construction is possible: This car needs washed. (=needs to be washed) The room needs cleaned. (=needs ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

Is “weightage” an English word?

Is weightage an English word? We use it a lot in India, but I couldn't find it in my Oxford Dictionary.
12
votes
2answers
33k views

“Successfull”/“successful” — is this a UK/US difference?

I would tend to write double-l, but Google gives me more single-l, so I'm guessing it's an Atlantic divide thing. And I guess all the other *full words.
20
votes
3answers
2k views

The times they are a-changin'

I have always been intrigued by the word usage in the title of this Bob Dylan song. Wikipedia mentions that the song was influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads: Dylan recalled writing the song ...
2
votes
1answer
795 views

Origin of jive slang

Where did the jive style of slang come from? It sounds pretty funny... specially from that scene in Airplane.
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Which native English speakers are linguistically the most “germanic”?

English is a Germanic language. Another significant Germanic language is of course German. Which native English speakers are the closest to German basing on the following criteria? accent-wise ...
19
votes
5answers
12k views

Is “might could” a correct construct?

I have a friend from the southern U.S. who uses the phrase “might could” quite often. He’ll say, for example: I might could do that this weekend. When I first heard him say this, it made me do ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

“Bring” vs. “take” in American English

English (other than American English) has a clear differentiation between the two words. Both are about translocating something. In "bring" the something of somebody is moved to where the speaker is ...
6
votes
4answers
878 views

“Fixing to” at the beginning of a sentence

Use of fixing to at the beginning of a sentence is prevalent in the southern states of Amerca. Is this the right usage? And is this only a southern US thing? Examples: Fixing to call her. ...
1
vote
4answers
728 views

Is it correct to speak of New York dialect?

Is it correct to speak of New York dialect, or should I use a different term when referring to the particular pronunciation used in New York?
1
vote
2answers
694 views

“same as” vs just “same”

Here are two variations of the same sentence: He's not the same as he was yesterday. He's not the same he was yesterday. Both can be encountered in colloquial speech, but I would like to ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

When is it appropriate to use the original pronunciation of a foreign word versus the English pronunciation?

When reading to an audience, or speaking in conversation, when is it appropriate to use the original pronunciation of a foreign word versus the English pronunciation (assuming you know the appropriate ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “not at all” still alive and doing well?

I was taught to use "not at all" as a rather polite, standard reply to "thank you". However, I don't see it being used at all nowadays. Can I still use it? Would it be widely understood? Should I be ...
145
votes
7answers
6k views

What is the factual basis for “pirate speech”? (Did pirates really say things like “shiver me timbers”?)

The "pirate speech" we hear/see/read, for example, on the website Talk Like A Pirate Day consists of a rhotic dialect characterized by phrases like "shiver me timbers," "ooh arh me hearties," and so ...
18
votes
7answers
26k views

What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?