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Unanswered Questions

8,732 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
10 votes
3 answers
667 views

Why is 'women' sometimes pronounced as 'woman'?

Some American speakers pronounce both 'woman' and 'women' as 'woman' (ˈwʊm.ən). Is this a recent pronunciation change? Where, why, and when did it originate? I specified the American accent because ...
10 votes
1 answer
535 views

What might the term "B-I-T-sweetie" mean in the context of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's play "The Mule-Bone"?

I am currently reading through Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's 1931 play, The Mule-Bone, and I am rather puzzled by the term "B-I-T-sweetie," which shows up in this exchange in Act ...
8 votes
4 answers
777 views

Does "have experience..." take a preposition?

I often struggle with whether "experience + noun/gerund" should include a preposition — and no matter how much digging I do in style manuals, dictionaries, and web search results, I never ...
7 votes
0 answers
351 views

Is there dialectal variation in the weak form of "on"?

This question is related, but not quite identical, to a previous one and to another similar one. In a recent video, phonetician Geoff Lindsey claimed that the words "off" and "on" ...
7 votes
0 answers
817 views

Earlier sources or identity of person who coined the term "neutrois"?

A lot of work I've been doing recently has been around the emergence of various gender identities. "Neutrois" recently came to my attention, with more information about it here: Nonbinary ...
7 votes
2 answers
742 views

Is there a term for sharing a word between multiple lines of a poem/song?

In Jonathan Coulton's "Sticking It To Myself," the last word or phrase in one line (bolded) often also serves as the first word or phrase in the next line without repetition: And I heard ...
6 votes
1 answer
604 views

There seems (to be) a... vs. There seems (to be) little

There seems to be a problem. There seems a problem. In this type of construction, the version with to be, such as (1), is much more productive than the one without, such as (2). See this Ngram: ...
6 votes
0 answers
346 views

Is there an alternative modern approach to the fused-head noun phrase?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 410) defines "Fused-head NPs" as follows: Fused-head NPs (noun phrases) are those where the head is combined with a dependent function ...
6 votes
1 answer
163 views

How are /ɪ/ and /ʌ/ realised in the Nottingham (East Midlands) accent?

I've got a sample of a few words pronounced by a Nottingham accent representative: https://youtu.be/2fCSeDEZeVU My ear is far from perfect and this is why I'd like to ask for your help in this ...
6 votes
3 answers
438 views

Using ‘first’ pre-verbally: ‘When I first wake up, I...’, ‘When we first saw them, we...’

Sorry, I don't have a clear question so much as I'm just looking for info on the use of first pre-verbally in examples like these: When I first wake up, I […] When we first saw them, we […] I just ...
5 votes
2 answers
174 views

Geographic Reasons for Phatic Expression "What's new?"

Quite a while back I had a language instructor tell me that the English phatic expression "What's new?" could be traced back in America to the fact that people lived very far apart from each ...
5 votes
1 answer
268 views

Why is "each" ungrammatical in "It’s an insult to us each"?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Pages 427-28) has this: Universal personal pronouns of the type us all [6] i a. They’ve invited us all. b. It’s an insult to us both. ii a. She likes ...
5 votes
0 answers
195 views

There’s one letter (for you) to sign

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by H&P says (Page 1394): (d) Infinitival extensions [11] i a. A few replies are still to come. b. There are still a few replies to come. ii a. One ...
5 votes
1 answer
135 views

Other way to pronounce they'd

Is there another way to pronounce the word "they'd"? In this video (2:23), I think he pronounces it as "/ðed/ instead of /ðeɪd/. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXQQ94rg9ic Thank ...
4 votes
2 answers
96 views

Etymology of "banged-up" = "imprisoned"?

1. What is the etymology of banged-up = "imprisoned"? Briefly googling, I couldn't find any etymology. (I'm guessing it came from the banging sound of the gate/door as one is locked up?) ...

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