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

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4
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2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views

English approximations of Spanish pronouns

Excuse me if this question sounds familiar, but I've searched and couldn't find what I desired. In the Spanish second-person, there is usted (formal), tú (familiar), and ustedes (plural for both). ...
1
vote
2answers
80 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
16k 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
43 views

“emmet-butt” - Westcountry dialect

My grandfather's family were from Somerset in the southwest of England and one of his favourite pieces of Westcountry dialect was 'emmet-butt', which apparently meant/means a 'mole hill'. However, I ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Pronunciation of “accepted”

I just realized that I pronounce 'accepted' more commonly as " uh-sep-ted" than "ak-sep-ted". I'm nowhere near home (Maryland, USA) so I can't listen to see if it is a regional thing. Anyone familiar ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

How would you say (write) “Where are you going?” in a Yorkshire dialect?

I think that this might be close to: Wɪər ðæ gɔːwɪn? This would roughly be Wi-er tha gaw-in? In this example, the first word would be the two words where and are put together Wɪər, but somewhere in my ...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

Saying “gate 'ooks” instead of “gateaux”

My father-in-law will say "gate 'ooks" instead of "gateaux". He claims this is a regional/dialectal thing and that it was common in the part of Sussex where he grew up. Is that likely, or is it more ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

What expressions/words are still used in Indian English that are no longer in British English? [duplicate]

I was traveling through India recently and noticed that many expressions that people used that I saw were somewhat older expressions, now disused in Standard English. Examples of these were: ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
189 views

How common is pronouncing the past tense of beat as /bet/?

Personally, I pronounce the past tense of "beat" (to win at a game) as /biːt/, to sound identical to the infinitive. However, I have heard a few people under the age of 30 and from either the west or ...
14
votes
13answers
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“Cleats” vs. “soccer shoes”

I used to say cleats but found it uncommon for some people, though I had no trouble with soccer shoes. I have always lived in a Spanish-speaking country (Nicaragua) so I find it hard to know why that ...
2
votes
3answers
188 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..." ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

“What” pronounced as “wurt”

Is there any particular American dialect that does this? I have heard this kind of pronunciation on some American TV shows, mostly featuring teenage/college kids, and it appears more prevalent among ...
8
votes
2answers
239 views

why do some people call green peppers mangoes?

I have heard people from Lima, Ohio refer to green peppers as mangoes. How did that come about?
7
votes
12answers
18k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
423 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Non-rhotic dialects and intrusive r

I am from New England (northeastern US) and it's my understanding that we have a non-rhotic dialect in this region, which is unusual compared to the rest of the US. It is common to drop the final r ...
4
votes
3answers
796 views

Origin of “chuck a wobbly”?

Chuck a wobbly is Australian slang for someone throwing a tantrum, and I like it because it invokes amusing imagery. I'm not certain of its origins however. I can see how it may be equivalent to the ...
5
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
190 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 ...
44
votes
13answers
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

“I forgot” or “I forget” [duplicate]

I am from Philadelphia and I grew up saying, I forget when trying to recall something unsuccessfully. When I came in contact with people from other states, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region, I heard ...
0
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

'enact' vs 'reenact'

We [re]enacted Hamlet on the stage. In the context of performance, I've only ever heard 'reenact' used. However, dictionary.com lists the above example with 'enact'. Are they both correct? Is it ...
13
votes
5answers
844 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Is the term 'put on his parts' used everywhere, or only in some dialects?

In Norfolk, when a child misbehaves in a demanding, or sulking way, they are often said to 'put on their parts'. 'She is putting on her parts again', means that she is following a pattern, typical ...
7
votes
3answers
481 views

Why do midwesterners say “the cancer”?

I was watching the TV show Fargo, which takes place in rural Minnesota. Most of the locals on the show speak with a recognizable midwestern accent, and there are some regionalisms that are common. The ...
11
votes
11answers
3k views

“School Students” — what, like there's any other kind of student?

I think this might be a Pennsylvania thing: every so often, you'll see a van or small bus labeled, not "School Bus" or anything sane normal like that, but "School Students". Whenever I see a van ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

What is the origin of “I calls ’em like I sees ’em”?

This expression seems to be pretty widespread, for example being in Wiktionary and Futurama. Does anyone know what the origin is? Also, what kind of dialect might I calls or I sees be?
155
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

What are some colloquial English expressions for comparing hot/cold weather to something else? [closed]

I'm looking for colloquial expressions that compare hot, cold, and wet weather to something else. For example, “It’s hotter than two goats in a pepper patch”, “Colder than a witch’s tit”, etc. Often ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “especially”

In some podcasts (it seems the speaker was from California) I heard that the word "especially" was pronounced with "ks" sound like "ikspeshally". What was it likely to be, personal way of ...
2
votes
3answers
92 views

Other academic field distinctions like math vs maths

Growing up in the US, I was taught to say "math" and the British "maths" sounded very awkward to me until I noticed mathematics had an 's' at the end, and it occurred to me that it could be considered ...
43
votes
23answers
155k views

“Lunch” vs. “dinner” vs. “supper” — times and meanings?

I've seen cases where a noon-time meal is referred to as dinner, and the evening meal is called supper. There's also lunch around noon followed by dinner in the evening. Is there a particular ...
8
votes
5answers
3k 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, ...
2
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

Why are *accept* and *except* commonly misspelled as each other? Are they homophones?

Why are accept and except commonly confused for each other when writing? This is unlike most cases, where misspellings come from homophones. In my idiolect at least, accept is /ək.'sɛpt/, and except ...
12
votes
4answers
716 views

In the context of cooking, what is the difference between “flipper” and “spatula”?

I'm genuinely confused about this because at first I thought a spatula was a cooking tool resembling a flat pallet attached at an angle to the handle that could be used for activities such as flipping ...
10
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

“Flash (one's attention/eyes)” for “focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)”, and “flash one's eyes at” for “stare with lust or passion at”

As far as your English variety goes, is it acceptable in every which register of speech and writing, and rather common usage, to say "flash" for "focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)", but also for ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

“Them” as a plural definite article

Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone! Intuitively "them" here sounds like it works like a plural "the". Which varieties of English is this usage found in? When it occurs, does it encode a ...