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Here are the structures in question:

Is there a region in the United States of America that has a pronunciation similar, .... Tuscany)?

compare with:

... that has a similar pronunciation, .....

Source: Where is standard American English derived from?

I know that some people may find this question silly, but can we actually write it in inverted form and mean the same thing?

These examples are of course different:

Someone made a different pronunciation

vs

Someone made a pronunciation different

  • The comma is in the wrong place. The phrase is similar or close to, which is a simple matter of ellipsis: similar [to] or close to. Adjectives such as alone or apart, which must follow the noun/pronoun, are really truncated prepositional phrases. – KarlG Dec 8 '18 at 15:10
  • @KarlG Do you have some resources to support your statements? This prepositional phrases, can you elaborate more? – Flonne Dec 8 '18 at 15:53
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    I happen to have an open question on that very topic, inspired by the accepted answer to another question on this site. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 8 '18 at 16:19
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    Turns out alone is different: contracted from Middle English all ane, ‘all/wholly one’. Apart is directly from Fr., now à part, while in ablaze, adrift, etc. the a is a reduction of on. You can look up any of these postpositive adjectives beginning with a at: etymonline.com – KarlG Dec 8 '18 at 16:20
  • @GaryBotnovcan Great find! I think I will read it for a while and let it seep through my mind :). – Flonne Dec 8 '18 at 16:24
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Is there a region in the United States of America that has a pronunciation similar, or closer, to standard American English?

Typically, we would use "a similar pronunciation" or "a closer pronunciation", placing the adjective before the thing it modifies.  In the example above, these adjectives are themselves modified by the following prepositional phrase.  We typically place prepositional phrases after the thing that they modify.  Also, we don't typically separate a modifier from its modificand. 

In the example, we can't do all of the things that we typically do.

  • a similar to the standard pronunciation -- separates the adjective and its noun
  • a similar pronunciation to the standard -- separates the prepositional phrase from its adjective
  • a pronunciation similar to the standard -- places the adjective after the noun, but leaves related things connected

The connections are more important than the word order.  When we have an adjective with its own trailing modifier, we place that entire phrase after the noun. 

  • a different pronunciation
  • a pronunciation different than I expected

I know that some people may find this question silly.

This example also places the adjective after the noun that it modifies.  The typical order for those words in a single phrase is "this silly question".  However, once again, there is a reason to place the adjective where it is.  We're not looking at a single phrase.  Here, the adjective acts as a separate argument of the verb "find".  "This question" is the direct object.  "Silly" is the object complement. 

Someone made a different pronunciation.
Someone made a pronunciation different.

In the first, "a different pronunciation" is one noun phrase, acting as the direct object and only argument of "made".  In the second, we can parse "a pronunciation" as the direct object and "different" as the object complement. 

Those are different sentences.  They have different connections and they mean different things. 

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  • So, in conclusion, it means different things, right? I want to confirm this since I often hear this structure around me. First time coming to US many years ago, I was especially confused about this sentence: 'I love you different' vs 'I love you differently'. From my experience (gut feeling?) , I love you differently means how s/he loves me differently while 'I love you different' can mean 'I love you for being different' or 'I love you differently compared to other friends'. So, I think this question might spark some discussion about different kind of ellipsis or different interpretation. – Flonne Dec 8 '18 at 16:00
  • The verbs "find" and "make" license object complements in standard English. The verb "love" doesn't. The sentence "I love you different" opens a new can of worms. I don't have a good answer to the question of what's happening in that sentence. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 8 '18 at 16:13
  • @Flonne.....were you to ask a question about "I love you different / differently I might write an answer – J. Taylor Dec 9 '18 at 12:07

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