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

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8
votes
4answers
26k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

“Batchy” indicating a bad taste?

My grandmother uses the term batchy to refer to food and drink with tastes that young palates won’t appreciate. For example: “Nana, can I try some coffee?” “No, dear. You don’t want that. ...
4
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Difference Reading, Berkshire and Canterbury, Kent accent?

I would like to know which difference in pronunciation regarding the Reading and Canterbury accent? I have read that the 'Reading' accent is supposed to be rhotic, whereas the accent in Canterbury is ...
2
votes
4answers
139 views

Phoneme glottalization in English dialects other than /t/?

I've done a bit of reading on t-glottalization, so I'm familiar with how it is used and its prevalence in English dialects. Are other phonemes or sounds similarly commonplace or widely used in ...
1
vote
2answers
249 views

“Dish of the day“ vs “today's special”

Many restaurants offer a menu which doesn't change from day to day, and in addition offer one choice which varies from day to day, perhaps depending on which ingredients are available. This choice can ...
7
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
925 views

Eve-teasing… are such words used only in the country of origin

I was reading a newspaper published in Indonesia and while quoting sexual harassment , the term 'eve-teasing" was repeatedly used. E.g. The Bontang police arrested two residents for eve-teasing, ...
2
votes
3answers
440 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..." ...
2
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Meaning and derivation of “so-and-so would know from X”

A couple of times I've seen a phrase much like "that's horrible coding — and I would know from horrible coding!" This seems extremely peculiar to me (if only because of how ungrammatical it is), ...
1
vote
0answers
46 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
42k views

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

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.
51
votes
15answers
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 ...
6
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
349 views

Is it correct to say “…of guys got fame…”?

When reading a post I've seen this comment: Stupid idea from a bunch of guys got fame for helping people steal stuff – now they want to help you beg for money. I think these guys have high ...
0
votes
0answers
92 views

What are the characteristics of the late Mr Bill Bixby's voice?

I watched for the very first time in its original language the first pilot of the American TV series The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982, dir. K. Johnson, with Messrs. Bixby, Ferrigno etc.). The voice of ...
5
votes
2answers
140 views

What's the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it's chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says ...
6
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the origins of the regional pronoun “yinz” of southwestern Pennsylvania?

A common informal word used in southwestern Pennsylvania and the forefront example of what is commonly known as "Pittsburghese" is the word yinz, pronounced /jɪnz/ in IPA. Alternatively it is less ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

Accents of characters in Downton Abbey

To continue the question started in identifying accents of British actors, there is one popular current cultural artifact with an excess of non-standard British accents, and that is The BBC series ...
5
votes
2answers
204 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
9k 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
553 views

Does American “condominium” as applies to building ownership have an equivalent term in British or Australian or other English dialects?

An American "condo" is a building, usually residential or industrial, that is owned in condominium by multiple parties. I've recently learned that this term isn't used in conversation in Britain or ...
9
votes
4answers
7k 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
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

“Is himself in?” What does it mean?

Context - A stranger knocks on your door and asks "Is himself in?" himself, a reflexive pronoun, here seems to be used for a nominative pronoun.
1
vote
2answers
122 views
12
votes
2answers
869 views

What are the 'distances' among the major English dialects?

Yes, I admit, as an AmE speaker, that all non-North American accents sound the same: BrE, Irish, Scottish, Australian and South African. Or rather, I can tell they are different if placed side by side ...
7
votes
3answers
378 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Hwat, hwere, and hwy?

In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? Example from Youtube. Notice his pronunciation of whisky.
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Pronouncing the “N” as separate syllable at the end of words like “known” and “pattern”

Over time, I have heard people pronounce the "n" on words like "known" (NO-en) and "pattern" (PAT-r-en), as though it were a separate syllable. The instances of my hearing such have been rare ones, ...
8
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 ...
10
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
878 views

Regional pronunciation of “calliope”?

I’m watching Auction Kings and a lady from Atlanta (who does not have much of a southern US accent) is putting a calliope up for auction. What caught my attention was the way she pronounce it: ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Regional pronunciation of “houndstooth” as “houndsooth”

I have always pronounced "houndstooth" as ˈhau̇n(d)z-ˌtüth , the exact same way I would pronounce the phrase "hound's tooth". Recently, I was told that the pronunciation should be "hound sooth", ...
2
votes
5answers
253 views

Is Missouri called /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ outside of Missouri?

Here in Missouri, most people born here pronounce the state as /mi.'zuɹ.ə/ (instead of /miz.'uɹ.i/ or something like it). This is a lot more noticeable in the south/central, rural parts of the state. ...
4
votes
2answers
321 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 ...
15
votes
14answers
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
182 views

Grocery Store Aisle

When speaking the phrase grocery store aisle, I leave the s in aisle silent. Are there any regional variations of English in which the s is not silent?
5
votes
2answers
207 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

“Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape”

He teaches Potions, but he doesn't want to—everyone knows he's after Quirrell's job. Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape. From time to time I stumble upon this type of speech with ...
3
votes
3answers
952 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?