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

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5
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3answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
928 views

Good thinking, that man!

I've come across this one in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. One character often used shouted "Good thinking, that man!" as a praise. Is this a real English regionalism?
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Lost Out of Sky - Local Usage (India) or Typo

I was reading a news story about a jet crash in the UK from a site hosted in India, and I believe the author may also be from there. In it, I saw the sentence: The jet which appeared to have lost ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

Using “done” instead of “did”

How does it work the use of the past participle done instead of the past tense did? Where is this form used? Only in southern U.S.? How often?
4
votes
3answers
223 views

Which dialects of English consider “would” to be a polite form of “will”?

My recent trip to India exposed me to many sentences using "would" as a polite substitute for "will", as in Please make sure to leave on time. The last bus would depart at 8PM. Thanks for ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Palatalization of the initial “s” in words starting with “st-”

Sometimes I hear native speakers pronounce the s at the beginning of a word as [ʃ]. For example, straight as [ʃtreɪt], or struggle as [ʃtrʌɡl]. It sounds like German words. Is it a certain English ...
9
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

How to use the word “finna” correctly?

I've heard both "I'm finna go to the store" and "He finna go to the store." Do we prefer with "is, am, are", or without? Is it a regional / dialectic difference, or are they interchangeable?
2
votes
2answers
100 views

Is this meaning of “scurrilous” only known/understood to speakers of American English?

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the word "scurrilous", meaning "given to the use of coarse or vulgar language". I shared this word with two other people, but they had taken it to mean "scandalous". ...
2
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
869 views

“Football” and “Soccer”

I know that the game which is called "football" in Europe is called "soccer" in the U.S. But I wonder to what extent this differentiation is strict. What do people from England call their favorite ...
1
vote
1answer
89 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. ...
3
votes
3answers
102 views

What word(s) do children of English native speakers use for “kid”/“child”/etc

I'm looking for (a) word(s) that is/are perceived to be child's language by adults, not words used by adults to describe children. What would be fine though are words used by adults when they are ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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' ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
83 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
64 views

Word/term meaning “conversion from one dialect to another”?

Is there a word in linguistics that means conversion from one dialect to another dialect? In most sources in which I've looked¹, the word "translation" only means conversion of one language to ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

How to pronounce “digne” and “na”?

I looked up unproduced in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)¹ and it gave an example quotation from the 1965 edition of John Ireland's 1490 compendium The Meroure of Wyssdome ("The Mirror of ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

I’m looking for a word or phrase which clearly describes this: a number of dialects of the same language are spoken across a geographical area

and, although slightly different from one another, as one crosses them all, from the westernmost to the easternmost of them (or vice-versa) , one will observe that they differ from one region to the ...
2
votes
3answers
240 views

“Can I help you, love?” Love as a form of address: is it used regionally to talk to strangers?

I've been reading a chapter about the vocabulary of the Yorkshire dialect in the UK. Among other interesting curiosities ("child" plural "childer", "lad and lass" for "son an daughter") I've come ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Does anyone still use “skyrocket” in the original sense?

In US English, I can't recall having heard this word used to describe a reaction-drive pyrotechnic or vehicle in many years. Almost invariably, the word as used describes a rapid or exponential ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Pronunciation of final T sounds in English

What's the word to describe the phenomenon of the final 't' sound becoming a stop without aspiration, vs. how it sounds at the beginning of a word? Does any one particular dialect/accent of English ...
1
vote
4answers
600 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Is tapping common in English?

From Bruce Hayes' Introductory Phonology, I am presented with the following phonological rule called tapping: /t/ -> [ɾ] / [+vowel] ___ [+vowel -stress] That is, /t/ has an allophonic realization as ...
5
votes
3answers
158 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 ...
54
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
100 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
18k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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
382 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
33k 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
604 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
653 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’, ...
7
votes
3answers
692 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
6k 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 ...
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
250 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
161 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
286 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
72 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?
3
votes
2answers
442 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
65 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
4k 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 ...