Questions about spoken English.

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6
votes
5answers
15k views

Difference between would and will

Thank you for your time reading this. I am from China and have learned British English for years from my middle school to undergraduate time. I normally take 'would' as the past form of 'will', ...
1
vote
0answers
2k views

Is it right to say “How much do I owe you”?

When going to work today, I stopped to buy a bottle of water in a supermarket held by an anglophone from Nigeria. When it was time to ask him how much is the price of the bottle of water, as a good ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

should have instead of could have [closed]

I've heard this on a crime documentary. Two intruders break into a house, a confrontation ensues with the residents (wife and husband). The couple manages to disarm one man and fight off the other. ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Why did people sound differently when addressing the public in the early 1900s?

I notice that people used to speak not necessarily more clearly, or distinctly, but their voice had a certain 'choppiness' to it that you don't hear anymore... Unless the person doing the speaking is ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Incorrect or just different grammar? [duplicate]

A friend of mine has noticed something I say differently to move people. Most would contract the sentence "we have not done" into "we haven't done". I turn it into "we've not done". This seems to be ...
3
votes
3answers
582 views

Should the abbreviation 'i.e.' be used in speech? [closed]

I often hear people use the abbreviation 'i.e.' while speaking. It does not seem right to me. Similarly with 'e.g.' — I would always say 'for example' rather than 'e.g.'. So is it appropriate to ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How many “monophthongs” are there in RP? Do all the varieties of spoken English in the UK have the same number?

A monophthong is a pure vowel sound. The monophthongs can be contrasted with diphthongs, where the vowel quality changes within the same syllable, and hiatus, where two vowels are next to each other ...
8
votes
3answers
363 views

Use of “well” to signal a pseudo-awkward pause before an impending word repetition or pun

In an article titled “The Ice Age Cometh” (Fortune, May 25, 1998, reprinted in The Great Unraveling, 2003), Paul Krugman writes: Suppose that two tribes—the Clan of the Cave Bear and its neighbor, ...
2
votes
3answers
182 views

Why did common contractions become common?

Examples: Real life isn't like that, y'know. Y'all are awesome. I dunno why. Where'd you go? This is my theory: these phrases/sentences have been said so many times that people ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “here” and “over here”?

Sometimes people use "here/there" sometimes "over here/there" what is the difference?
6
votes
1answer
988 views

What does “Rabbit” mean on 1st of June

My english teacher told me, that is common in England to say "Rabbits" on the 1st of june. What does it mean? where does this tradition come from? Does the people say it only on the 1st of June? ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Writing and speaking duplicated words

A recent workplace conversation prompted this question. Red Hat, the software company behind a popular Linux distribution, came by the office and everyone got some random trinkets, including a number ...
2
votes
2answers
481 views

Non-standard British use of possessive “me”

Native North American speaker here. It's fairly common in certain British dialects to substitute "me" for "my" (Shiver me timbers) in informal speech. My impression is that some speakers mix the ...
4
votes
5answers
10k views

In which accent does Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) speak?

I don't know if Stack Exchange is the right place to ask this question but I am very keen to find out: Which accent has Brad Pitt adopted in the movie Inglourious Basterds for the role of Lieutenant ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

How can I express this in another way?

I want to express the following sentence in another way. The first algorithm was applied to obtain the norm solution by gradually decreasing the value of X. Can anyone give me some help? Thank ...
6
votes
2answers
580 views

Changing from 1st Person to 2nd Person in the same paragraph?

I want to know if it's okay to change from 1st person (our,we) to 2nd person (you, your) in the same paragraph as follows: TV need not dictate our lives. There is a choice. We can either submit ...
8
votes
1answer
465 views

Is there a phrase, word or saying when one 'has the thought or feeling of causing hurt of mischief" despite never dreaming of acting on it?

For example I was assisting my sister in photographing a wedding. We were taking pictures as the bride was getting ready and I noticed a ketchup bottle on the kitchen table and the following popped in ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “sip” and “drink” verbs? [closed]

Title says it all. What is the difference? As I understand - "to sip" means the same as "to drink" but slowly. Are there any other aspects for choosing between them?
1
vote
1answer
291 views

“Kinda figured it out ” vs “kinda figured out” [closed]

Example: Speaker A: Were you surprised about my confession? Speaker B: Not really. Kinda figured (it) out when you held my hand last night." Kinda figured it out has 180 hits on Google ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Is the following ungrammatical expression common in speech?

Don't be ashamed. It was cute, like a shy teenager. I'm not very sure if this is a grammatical mistake, but I think the correct version would look like this: Don't be ashamed. It was cute, you ...
2
votes
3answers
461 views

Word for a sudden flow of ideas? Is 'brainwave' good enough?

Imagine you are thinking about a problem you need to solve, nothing's coming to mind, and all of a sudden you get a dozen different ideas at once. Is there a word that expresses this sudden flow of ...
4
votes
5answers
759 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “Where do you sit?” correct for asking someone where their workspace is?

At work, if I had to ask someone where exactly they worked, as in where their workspace/cubicle is, what should I say? Is "where do you sit?" the usual thing to say? I'm from India and hear this ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are the expressions “pissed” and “pissed off” inappropriate?

I've seen people go quiet when they hear one of them. I also remember hearing it bleeped on television. Are they inappropriate? To what extent? What audience could or should not hear it?
2
votes
3answers
205 views

Is this redundant phrasing a rhetorical device? Does it have a name?

I'm wondering if there's a name for this particular kind of redundant phrasing: So what I'm going to do right now is, I'm going to . . . or So what you want to do is, you want to . . . I ...
4
votes
1answer
475 views

Why do people say “Go down this road” or “Go down this corridor” instead of saying “Go straight” [closed]

I was wondering, when giving directions, is it correct to say "go straight" instead of "go down"? Does down and straight in the context of giving directions mean the same thing?
1
vote
1answer
262 views

Slang word for transferring money from one card to another

Ok, so there is an Online Money Transfer Service. It allows for quick money transfer from one card to another. The advertisement of this service describes how it is convenient for parents to transfer ...
21
votes
13answers
23k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...
0
votes
2answers
388 views

I know “of” sounds like “ov”. Does “I've” sound like “If”?

I was studying connected speech and I read when we say for example I've finished my homework we pronounce the 've and f in finished as only one sound. Is it only in this case or whenever I ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Is “New begin” proper English?

This might be a pretty basic question. I'm writing a song. It's usually written as New beginning, but I thought that I might have heard people saying New begin. It would sound better in this case, ...
0
votes
1answer
236 views

what does “withhold no sacrifice” mean? [closed]

Reading Churchill's speech, I don't think I understand the following "withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain", what does this statement mean?
4
votes
1answer
12k views

“As for me” in the beginning of the sentence

Could I use "As for me" in the beginning of the sentence? For example, when somebody asks the whole group of people what was done, and one in that group answers what he did: "As for me, I did that ...
2
votes
1answer
575 views

Is there a word that means English-Language-Centric?

There was an argument about how someone spelled "Revolution" and they said "No, I did not write it incorrectly. I used the Spanish version: 'Revuloción' without the accented o to make my life a little ...
4
votes
1answer
13k views

Is it necessary to begin a new paragraph after a person speaks?

When I was in school, I was taught to always begin a new paragraph after a quotation or after a speaker concludes a segment of dialogue. However, in recent years, I have seen authors abandon this rule,...
6
votes
2answers
746 views

What happened to voiced velar fricative [ɣ] and velar approximant [ɰ] in English language?

The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. Wikipedia says that it is not found in English today, but did exist in Old English.1 Why did this sound ...
28
votes
12answers
5k views

Just how offensive are the terms “retarded” and “gay”?

My college-age son and his friends use the terms "retarded" and "gay" pretty much interchangeably to mean substandard, bad, lame (in the sense of ineffectual or weak) or just plain wrong. I've ...
2
votes
0answers
644 views

Appearance of “is is” in speech patterns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “The thing is, is that…” Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row? For the past few years I've been noticing a curious phenomenon. People ...
2
votes
10answers
40k views

Indirectly saying “I love you”

I want tell to someone "I love you", but not in that manner (indirectly but to get that idea). How can I do it in a modern way?
3
votes
0answers
452 views

Distinguishing Australian, English, South African accents [closed]

I have attended courses in English over many years, and as most of my English teachers have an Algerian accent, I have always wondered about the question of accents. I can distinguish an American ...
1
vote
0answers
77 views

Is “church” one syllable or two? [duplicate]

I read like twenty years ago that the word "church" (clutch, hatch, match) is undoubtedly one syllable when written but that an argument can be made that it's two syllables -- CHUR-ch -- when spoken. ...
8
votes
1answer
657 views

What does “I have no shame when it comes to ignorance” mean? [closed]

Does it mean one chooses to be ignorant regardless of shame, or submit to shame while admitting ignorance? Interviewer: Tell me about your first felony arrest? Candidate: I have no shame when it ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

In Oral english, can we reply “I think so” to an interrogative sentence?

For instance, in Spoken English: Q: Has anyone seen my torch? A: I think so. / I don’t think so. Or it is better to reply with a yes or no, such as: Q: Has anyone seen my torch? A: Yeah, ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Use of the word 'relishing'

Recently when talking to a friend about the lack of elevators in Asia he told me. You should be relishing stairs As a native English speaker the use of the word 'relishing' here sounded strange ...
4
votes
3answers
379 views

Is there a term for speaking English with a foreign accent to make it easier for foreigners to understand?

I was just recalling Joey Barton's interview with the French media in which he speaks with a French accent, seemingly to make it easier for his audience to understand. As humourous as it may be, is ...
1
vote
0answers
177 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
0
votes
0answers
209 views

Meaning of “well” in full and meaningful sentences

In everyday English, people use "well" in their speech very loosely. "Well, I don't know." "Well yeah!" "Oh well..." ...etc. I know "well" has different meanings and emotions attached to them, ...
1
vote
5answers
261 views

How can I describe a passive type of touching?

If I touch an item (like a book) intentionally, I might say I touch the book. Now, if this had happened without my being aware of it, I would not say that I touched it, but I also would not say ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Are there rules of pronunciation for words in English? [closed]

I know that there is at least one language we can pronounce based on the word's form (Vietnamese) which means that once you know how to write it, you will also know how to pronounce it. But in ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

How can we distinguish “uptalk” from a real question?

uptalk or high rising terminals is an intonation pattern where declarative statements occur with yes/no question intonation. "It is used when the speaker is establishing common ground with the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

spoken exam/speaking exam

Here's the test: We hope you will be able to pass the __________ examination (speak). I'm confused with those two words: "spoken exam" and "speaking exam". I know they say "spoken English exam" and "...