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

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52
votes
18answers
3k 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
2answers
115 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
1
vote
1answer
60 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

The word “mine”: Anyone else use a velar nasal /maiŋ/ for “belongs to me” meaning, but still /main/ for “explosive”/“coal mine”?

I think I naturally distinguish these words: mine (ie "belongs to me") /maiŋ/ mine (ie "explosive" or "coal mine") /main/ I vaguely remember noticing this years ago, but I was only just reminded of ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Where does the intrusive R come from in “warsh”?

My grandmother, who grew up in western Pennsylvania, pronounced wash and Washington with an intrusive R: “warsh” and “Warshington.” Where does the intrusive R come from in that dialect? It doesn’t ...
2
votes
2answers
58 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
17k views

“Forgotten” or “forgot” as past participle of “forget”

In US and in UK respectively, which is more popular as the past participle of forget: forgotten or forgot? Which is more formal/informal? Examples: I haven't forgot(ten) you. You will not ...
4
votes
2answers
438 views

What does “wildin'” mean?

In Rihanna's song "FourFiveSeconds", this line is sung in the chorus: 'Now I'm four, five seconds from wildin'...' I searched on Google for the definition of "wildin'" and got this: wildin' ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Is there a correct pronunciation for me?

Fairly recently I got a new job which involves a lot of customer interaction. Up to this point I hadn't really thought about the way I pronounce certain words, then all of a sudden I found myself ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What Defines a Utah Accent?

I have heard a number of people refer to the "Utah accent." What is it that distinguishes a Utah accent from others? I have noticed that, in some cases, people from Utah omit the 't' from words such ...
9
votes
3answers
323 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
165 views

Pronunciation of “compact” across English dialects, when used as different parts of speech

Googling suggests that compact has the stress on the last syllable when used as an adjective and on the first syllable when used as a noun. Is this common for all English dialects or are there ...
18
votes
7answers
31k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
577 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
627 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’, ...
1
vote
1answer
65 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
565 views

“Be like” usage

Of late, I have been noticing a lot of casual memes floating around, particularly on Facebook, that involve this phrase. Typical constructs could be like the following examples: B*&^%$# be ...
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 ...
8
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
6k 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?
0
votes
0answers
32 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
247 views

Give it me! Write me! [duplicate]

Our young grandson, who is a Mancunian, says 'give it me', and 'give it me back', which is a northern British standard. It made me think that it is not only northerners who omit the indirect object ...
3
votes
3answers
116 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

In what ways is Appalachian speech closer to Elizabethan English than contemporary British?

I read this question in the sample questions section. It hasn't been asked yet, now I'd like to know. I have heard that regional dialects of English are often more closely related to provincial ...
5
votes
2answers
275 views

Usage, prevalence of “rooster sauce” and “cock sauce”

Sriracha sauce is a kind of chili sauce named for Si Racha, Thailand, but in the United States many people call it “rooster sauce” or “cock sauce” after the prominent rooster logo on a popular brand ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

“negotiate” with /s/

OED lists two ways of pronouncing negotiate: Brit. /nᵻˈɡəʊʃɪeɪt/ , /nᵻˈɡəʊsɪeɪt/ Which British dialects use /s/ rather than /ʃ/ and in what contexts does this difference appear?
1
vote
3answers
445 views

Origin of New Jersey idiom “down the shore”

As a native Midwesterner, I was very puzzled to hear my wife (who is from northern New Jersey) use that idiom. I understand what it means, and as far as I can remember I understood what it meant from ...
3
votes
2answers
432 views

Is the word “bespoke” associated with Southern American English, kind of how “bonafied” is in my mind? [closed]

Is bespoke associated with the American South, as "bonafied" (bona fide, properly) is to me? When I hear the latter, it brings to mind aristocratic Southern gentlemen sipping mint juleps; when I hear ...
0
votes
0answers
61 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“Balconies”, “porches”, “decks”, “terraces”, “verandas”, “lanais”, “galleries”, and “piazzas” in GAE and dialectal AE

In AE, a porch is apparently just about the same structure as a veranda, i.e. an open or enclosed gallery or room attached to the outside of a building. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/porch ...
9
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
30 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.
3
votes
5answers
186 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
2answers
510 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
10
votes
8answers
5k views

Using “them” instead of “those”

Background: Nowadays, I see this usage a lot. I don't know if it was this common in the past. For example: "one of them people" When I did a research about it, some people say it comes from a ...
16
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
9k 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.
-2
votes
1answer
188 views

Translating from American to Canadian, when these are used as verbs, is it “log in” and “log out” or “login” and “logout”?

This is not a duplicate of questions such as“Login” or “log in”? or “log in to” or “log into” or “login to”. The reason is that this question deals specifically with converting from American English ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

In which countries would “tags” be understood to mean “License plates and stickers that show the registration is currently valid”?

On our sister site a user recently used the term "tags" in relation to taxis in China. I thought it might man some kind of official authorization to operate a taxi. But upon clarification I was told ...
5
votes
3answers
371 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
120 views

Can “I would please prefer” be grammatical?

I got into a friendly argument with another user over whether a construction like I would please prefer to talk tomorrow. can be grammatical. To my eye, that just seems plain wrong. I would ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

How there are so many dialects of English in England?

I was just wondering how there are so many variations of dialects in England, which isn't really a very large country, they have Brummie, Yorkie, Cockney, the one in Liverpool, I don't know what's the ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Where did “duck, duck, gray duck” come from?

Duck, Duck, Goose is a common children's game but a typical Minnesotan calls the game a slightly different name: Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. I have never talked to anyone outside of Minnesota that knows of ...
6
votes
6answers
219 views

Shift to “must” for negation of “have to”?

According to englishpage.com, if have to or must expresses certainty, the negative form uses must not. Example: That has to be Jerry. They said he was tall with bright red hair. => That must not ...
4
votes
3answers
372 views

Dialect “rules” and the pronunciation of individual words

Consider an American actor who is tasked with mastering British Received Pronunciation for an upcoming role. If he has a talent for vocal mimicry, as many actors do, he should have no trouble picking ...
7
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
9k views

Is the use of “all set” exclusive to certain regions?

I grew up in the Northeastern US where the use of the phrase "all set" to mean "ready" or "finished" is common. An example would be, "Are you all set with that?" (perhaps while pointing to an ...
2
votes
5answers
660 views

Resources that discuss “Jewish” English (English influenced by Yiddish grammar)

I'm looking for some resources that discuss English spoken with the influence of Yiddish/Hebraic grammatical structures. For instance, things like: You want I should... "Do you want me to..." ...