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The Atlas of North American English has a rather broad definition of the West. Its primary characteristics are: The merger of words sounding like cot and caught (they're pronounced the same) The fronting of /uw/, as in boot but not /ow/, as in boat No monophthongization of /ay/, as in ride So, these features more or less distinguish the West from its ...


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I see a small difference between I am fine with it and it is fine for me, which is the same difference between I am unclear (used to express doubt or confusion) and it is unclear to me: in one phrase the grammar subject is I, in the other is it. For example, the focus could be placed on I to mean it is unclear to me, but it can be clear to others, or it is ...


6

Not really answering "why" but here is "how": This is called labial-velar shift and occurs in many other instances. Both /x/ and /f/ are fricatives and the change required to go from the velar /x/ to the labial /f/ or the other way round is pretty small (to make an /f/ start with an /x/ and touch lower lip to the upper teeth for, alternatively make an /f/ ...


4

1. When did this consonant shift happen in English? Etymonline mentions 12c. Everybody has their own set of pronunciation habits. /ð/ can be pronounced in various ways and still be distinguishable because its existence is easily predicted/"auto-interpreted" by the brain. /d/ or /dð/ are common variants. It would be very hard to say exactly when such a ...


4

My professional sense is that it is not true that the apostrophe is endangered in any significant way. In fact, the popularity of online communication in text has led to a small resurgence of interest in style guides and usage manuals. (E.g., "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.")


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There is a very slight implication of greater indifference given by "it's fine with me" relative to "I'm fine with it". I don't honestly think either is "on its way out".


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I'd guess that the "50's accent" you hear had much to do with the technology of AM and shortwave radio. Precise diction and a somewhat clipped style for words and phrases helped to overcome the crackle and hiss of static in radio reception. As microphone and broadcast technology improved, it became less crucial to speak distinctly. If you spoke like a 40s ...


2

Pronunciation in America certainly has changed a lot since the 1950s, but to identify exactly what has changed depends on where you are (see my answer here). It's also probable, but I don't know the solid facts, that standards of "house pronunciation" at broadcasting companies have also changed. What was once considered good pronunciation is no longer, so ...


2

There are a few misconceptions in this question, and some speculated sound changes that never took place. /d/ -> /ð/ in English The first change you mention, changing /d/ into /ð/ in English, is not a shift that has ever taken place in English. The First Germanic Sound Shift (also known as either Grimm’s Law or Rask’s Rule after the two linguists who ...


2

You might find this article in Wikipedia to be elucidating, though I don't like the term itself, as "Mid-Atlantic English" to me signals the accents spoken between New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Anyway, it's true that there's a now-largely-disappeared dialect that was spoken both by the upper classes of the Eastern Seabord and by Hollywood actors and ...


2

There is a valid literary technique that will subtly shift from past to present but it is much safer to pick one tense and stick with it. An example of this device, which I copied from About.com's page on the subject: Off the road there was what appeared to be a reviewing stand, and I sat there for a few moments, taking in the museum and the cold blue ...


1

Rachel, I wouldn't hold your breath for the atrophy of the apostrophe. HA! Sorry, I couldn't resist a little assonance and a near-pun. In informal usage, these differences have been neglected often for some time. In formal usage, of course, contractions aren't very appropriate. There is the middle ground, though, of general writing that is neither chatty ...


1

The Corpus of Contemporary American English, which has text from 1990 to 2010, has 9 occurrences of “I am fine with it” (with either “I am” or “I’m”), and 28 occurrences of “It is fine with me”. So, both are still in use, and even though your second sentence seems less used in American English. Regarding the meaning of the two, I don't think there is any ...


1

I grew up on the West Coast but went to college on the gulf coast. One thing I notice about westcoasters, we don't articulate our "t" very well. For instance, people in Washington say "Ren'in", not "Renton". "Didn", not "did not". Also, it's Portlund, Orgun, not Portland, Oreeygone. Like the beautiful city of Nawlins, LA, we should all try to pronounce ...


1

West coast accent can also include the word "aunt" being pronounced "ant" rather than "aw-nt" Some word are used more than others like "like" and the style is considered more informal than the East Coast, Midwest, or South. West Coasters often say "pop" when others say "soda" and in parts of the South every soft drink is a "Coke."


1

This is similar to a question that I asked my father 15 years ago. (I was born in the early '50s, he in the mid '20s.) "The speech of Lowell Thomas on recordings sounds very different from our present day speech. Have things changed that much, and did people really speak as he did?" My father's answer was that indeed people did speak (or try to speak) in ...



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