71

Yes, the two words would have been pronounced with the same rhyme at around 1400 A.D. The word deer is of Germanic origin (cf. German Tier). It was pronounced with a long, mid-high e-sound until the Great Vowel Shift raised the sound to a long, high i-sound, c. 1500. [deːr] (pre-1500) > [diːr] (Great Vowel Shift, after c. 1500) The word choir is a, ...


51

PhD (or Ph. D.) is a bit of a frozen expression or idiom. The expression doesn't abbreviate the English phrase "Doctor of Philosophy". If it did, then it would be something like "DP" or "DoP". Instead, PhD retains the structure of the medieval Latin Philosophiae Doctor, which dates from the 17th century. As to why the Latin abbreviation for "Philosophiae" ...


38

It means: you've got the better of me. "You has the wind of me" (dialect for: "You have taken the wind from me") refers to the nautical trick of "stealing" another boat's wind. In the days of wind-powered boats (and in modern-day sailing competitions), if you can place your own boat between another boat and the on-coming wind, you can slow the other boat ...


35

The spelling "who" was originally used simply because, in past time periods, this word was pronounced with a "wh" sound. To be clear, by "a "wh" sound" I mean a sound that is different from either "w" or "h" on its own. Although many varieties of English have lost "wh" as a distinct sound, replacing it with plain [w], the digraph "wh" used to (and in some ...


35

We break diphthong into syllables differently than the Greeks did. We break it diph-thong, whereas etymologically it is di-phthong. Because there's a consonant on the end of the first syllable, it's natural for English speakers to pronounce it with a "short i", /ɪ/. The same thing happens with diptych, whose etymology is di+ptykha, where ptykha means folds.


29

This is a so-called “linking semivowel”. It’s typically not perceived as being as strong a sound as “original” syllable-initial /w/, so some linguists don’t like to transcribe it (see this blog post by the phonetician John Wells). The difference could be compared to the more drastic difference between the pronunciation of /p/ in “keep it” vs. “key pit”; ...


29

spicket Definition of spicket chiefly South & Midland [Middle USA] : spigot (Merriam Webster) Do you use "spigot" or "spicket" to refer to a faucet or tap that water comes out of? a. spicket (6.38%) b. spigot (66.89%) c. I use both interchangeably (2.52%) d. I say "spicket" but spell it "spigot" (12.64%) (Vaux, Bert and ...


24

One American dialect where you can say Mary book rather than Mary's book, is African American Vernacular English, spoken mainly in the African American community. See this article. An excerpt: Possession in AAVE is also different. It can be shown by proximity where the owner’s name comes before the object owned. For instance, “She over Mary house” (...


23

welcome to EL&U. It's a long time since I read Treasure Island but to me this piece of dialogue sounds like the castaway Ben Gunn. If it isn't him then it's another of the pirates. This means that the dialect is the rather strange "Cornish" one that Stevenson put into the mouths of the pirates. Having passed through TV adaptation in the late 1950's this ...


22

Because it is an initialism so you read out each letter ("DVD" is pronounced "dee-vee-dee", not "dvid"; "US" is pronounced "you-ess", not "uhs"). Your proposed pronunciation could be used were it an acronym.


20

A non-negotiable phonological rule of all standard Englishes inserts a vowel (either /ə/ or /ɪ/, depending on the variety of English) between base-final sibilant consonants and the plural morpheme /z/. The /z/ morpheme remains voiced in this position after a vowel. The sibilant consonants in English are /s, z, ʃ, ʒ, tʃ, dʒ/ Therefore for the following ...


19

Here is the entry for choir from our friends at Etymology Online: choir (n.) c. 1300, queor "part of the church where the choir sings," from Old French cuer, quer "(architectural) choir of a church; chorus of singers" (13c., Modern French choeur), from Latin chorus "choir" (see chorus). Meaning "band of singers" in English is from c. 1400, quyre. Re-...


18

In Britain, I think it's normal to use (at least an approximation of) the French pronunciation. To address your point about why many more people anglicise "croissant", I think there's a distinction between words adopted from other languages, which often get anglicised, and phrases, which tend not to. Since none of the words in "pain au chocolat" has passed ...


17

The omission of the possessive suffix is very common in many Caribbean dialects. Here's a short excerpt from an article on Trinidadian folk speech that happens to include your "Mary book" example: With regard to expressing the possessive concept, inflectional suffixation is completely lost in the folk speech. Standard English marks possession in nouns ...


15

I used to say zoo-ology until I came across words like zoological and zoogeography. That's when I actually looked up the pronunciation of those words, and in the process found out that zoology is pronounced zoe-ology, at least traditionally. The American Heritage Dictionary has an interesting usage note on this: Traditionally, the first syllable of ...


15

It is possible to put the main stress on the first syllable of police in some varieties of English. When the first syllable of police is stressed, the vowel is not a schwa. It is the "goat" vowel or "long o" sound: /ˈpolis/ or /ˈpoʊlis/ (both of these phonemic transcriptions are identical). There is no way to classify this pronunciation as indisputably "...


12

It's what's called a half-rhyme. Quoth Wikipedia: Half rhyme or imperfect rhyme, sometimes called near-rhyme, lazy rhyme, or slant rhyme, is a type of rhyme formed by words with similar but not identical sounds. In most instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa. This type of rhyme is also called ...


12

The "r" sound in American English is often described as a postalveolar approximant (/ɹ̠/) and not a trill (/r/). This means that rather than producing a vibration or trill, air is constricted without vibration. The tongue in this postalveolar position is behind the alveolar ridge, or the left-to-right ridge you feel when you lift your tongue up in the mouth. ...


12

Many speakers of Gen Am and also speakers of British Englishes, including some young RP speakers, use a hard attack on the second word to separate a word-final and word initial vowel. For a minority of speakers this also occurs after the definite article. A ʜᴀʀᴅ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ is when a speaker uses a glottal stop, [ ʔ ], at the beginning of a word starting with a ...


11

Changing vowels to schwas is called vowel reduction, and it's incredibly common for most English speakers (not just people from Michigan).


11

Changing things like did you and bet you into sounds that one might attempt to represent in spelling as “didju” or “didja” and “betchu” or “betcha” is something that happens with all speakers of English. Because the reasons behind it are based on where in your mouth those sounds are formed and what happens when you move quickly from one to the next, similar ...


10

One of the questions you ask is: Was it many many years ago pronounced without a final vowel sound? As such, the phonetic representation of oranges has now changed? Actually, it was the other way around. In Old English, many nouns were pluralized by adding /as/, for example, stan (stone) became stanas. In Middle English, this rule started being ...


10

French speaker here, living on the US East coast. It varies: they usually try to say it the French way, which is close to "pen" or "pan". I heard once "pain" as in "painful" and it was hilarious. It should be something like "pen/pan oh shockohlah". Americans like to emphasize the "shock" instead of the "lah". Americans don't seem to mind or be offended if ...


9

Why is the W silent in the word Who? It's a long story (as @chaslyfromUK points out, it comes from a PIE root, which means it's been around on people's lips for over 4000 years), but the short of it is that Germanic languages like English changed /kʷ/ in PIE words to /hʷ/ or /xʷ/. English words beginning with WH, which used to be spelled HW, also used to be ...


9

One of the oldest surviving works in any form of English is Beowulf. Here is the first page of the manuscript: The first line is: Hƿæt Ƿe garde which in more modern letters is: Hwæt We garde since the ancient letter wynn (Ƿ ƿ) is now represented by double-u (W w). The first word is "hwæt", which is related to the modern "what" and would have been ...


9

It is hard to say for certain, but there could well be, yes. As coconut.aminos’ answer quotes, the word first entered the English language from Spanish and/or Portuguese around 1620. The first citation in the OED article (paywalled) is from 1623, so we can probably assume that the word was first borrowed some time between 1600 and 1620 – let’s just assume ...


9

Instead of trying to say "agree" normally, try practicing by saying "ag Ree" as two separate words very slowly a bunch of times. Then practice it more quickly, eventually letting the two parts start to slur together.


8

French naïf/naïve does not have a falling diphthong, so its pronunciation wouldn't explain the use of /aɪ/ in English. English doesn't have that many words where /ɑ/ comes directly before another vowel, especially not when the /ɑ/ is in a "weak" position (unstressed, or at least directly before another vowel with a higher level of stress). Words with /aɪ/ ...


8

Some other people say "zo-ology" You aren't literally the only person left who pronounces the first syllable of "zoology' with the vowel found in goat rather than the vowel found in goose. A useful resource for finding data about how people pronounce certain words is Youglish, which you can use to find Youtube videos where the word in question is spoken ...


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