American-English speakers question

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flapane
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Post by flapane » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:11 am

eheheh, thanks for your confirmation... I plan to get there this summer, and I'll HAVE to ask somebody how to get to HoustOun :wink:

Fayd
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Post by Fayd » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:12 am

andyb wrote:The English language is far from perfect, but as no other language is perfect either and English as already used very widely its not going anywhere soon.

I agree with your points about the pronunciation of letters such as "o" depending on the other letters in the word, but in my opinion (being a native English speaker) French has some serious problems too.

http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032301.htm

Pretty good examples in that link, this is the main reason why I quit French at school, I was constantly getting some but not all of the words correct in a sentence and therefore failing pretty badly as I could not get my head around the fact that you have to use different words depending on other words. Yes you have to do that in English as well, but not to the same degree, the following is pretty much the thing that destroyed my spirit whilst learning French. The changes from one sentence to the next are highlighted.

I am going to the hospital - Je vais à l'hôpital
she is going to the hospital - elle va à l'hôpital

take me to a hospital - prends-moi dans un hôpital
take me to the hospital - Emmenez-moi à l'hôpital

take her to the hospital - l'emmener à l'hôpital
take her to a hospital - l'emmener à un hôpital


Andy
conjugation happens in english too, pretty much to the same degree that it happens in romance languages. but we're intuitively ingrained into using english that we dont notice it.

also, english is alot more flexible in its usage than many other languages. (at least, from what i've seen.)

after all, it's only in english that you'll see something as complicated as "buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo." and still be able to consider it a sentence.

source

andyb
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Post by andyb » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:47 am

Not quite.

Its.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Seemingly the capitals in those places make it a valid sentence, totally weird untill you read the meanings of each word in the context that is explained.

---

Ambiguity

If the capitalization is ignored, the sentence can be read another way:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo.

That is, bison from Buffalo intimidate (other) bison from Buffalo that bison from Buffalo intimidate.

---


Andy

Fayd
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Post by Fayd » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:20 pm

andyb wrote:Not quite.

Its.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Seemingly the capitals in those places make it a valid sentence, totally weird untill you read the meanings of each word in the context that is explained.

---

Ambiguity

If the capitalization is ignored, the sentence can be read another way:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo.

That is, bison from Buffalo intimidate (other) bison from Buffalo that bison from Buffalo intimidate.

---


Andy
i dont recall capitalizing any letters in any of my sentences :P

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Post by aristide1 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:44 pm

When going to the island it's pronounced "Lon Gisland."

If you're having trouble pronouncing this simply get drunk and do 80 mph on the Belt Parkway, it comes right out just fine. :mrgreen:

Lon Gisland. Say it with me now.

I understand that how I pronouce "water" is as effective as GPS in locating my point of origin in the US.

flapane
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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:42 am

I don't think I completely got what you wrote... are you already doin' 80 on the freeway while drinking? :lol:

Is there a wrong sign on the belt, reporting Lon Gisland instead of Long Island, or this isn't the main point?

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Post by xan_user » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:03 am

fuh-ged-ah-bow-tit :)

flapane
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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:05 am

ok :lol:

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Post by aristide1 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:02 am

Its the local dialect.

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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:40 pm

How does one pronounce "Cwmcarn".? To be fair this is a trick question, its Welsh, but still, how does it sound when said "correctly" (i.e. in a dialect from Wales) vs how I would guess how to say the word.

"Kwum-carn" is how I would best define the sound that came out of my mouth, but how it is supposed to sound.?

"The Welsh placename of Cwmcarn came about in 942 when Llywarch ap Cadogan gave Villa Treficarn Pont ('estate near the bridge over the Carn') to a Bishop of Llandaff named Wulfrith with King Cadell's guarantee, i.e the place where the Carn meets the Ebbw (now Cwmcarn)."

Fantastic and bizarre language, got to love the Welsh accent as well always makes me smile whenever I'm not frowning.


Andy

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Post by aristide1 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:48 pm

flapane wrote:I don't think I completely got what you wrote... are you already doin' 80 on the freeway while drinking? :lol:
I figured you need to do this to be able to pronounce Lon Gisland because that's just what all the natives do.

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Post by xan_user » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:43 pm

How come the Boston basketball team is pronounced sell-tix when they are Kell-tick? :/

idale
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Post by idale » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:15 pm

andyb wrote:How does one pronounce "Cwmcarn".? To be fair this is a trick question, its Welsh, but still, how does it sound when said "correctly" (i.e. in a dialect from Wales) vs how I would guess how to say the word.

"Kwum-carn" is how I would best define the sound that came out of my mouth, but how it is supposed to sound.?
Nice try, Andy, but that's obviously not Welsh because even though it's 90% consonants there's not 14 Ls and it's not at least 50 letters long. :lol:

From Omniglot and Wikipedia, it looks like it'd be something like "Koom-carn" as a very rough approximation.

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Post by qviri » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:43 pm

b_rubenstein wrote:I've also noticed in a number of forums that non-native English speakers write significantly better English than many Americans.
Abstracting from the definition of "better" English*, it occurred to me this might be a twist on confirmation bias. Non-native English speakers have to have the motivation and have to put time and effort into learning the language, so it's logical most of them would be more motivated to write well. Making sure you're understood is likely another factor, as is the strong focus on spelling and grammar in much of formal English language education.


* E.g., I would personally consider "definitely" to be better than "definately", but "where you at" and "imma" not necessarily worse than "where are you" and "I'm going to".

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Post by flapane » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:05 pm

You're right, I can see a lot of italians writing really bad on the forums because they don't put much effort into writing correctly, but write in the same way they speak and/or use wrong modes of verbs (the most common error in written and spoken italian), while I know an english living in Oz who writes in a really formal way (even too much) just because he's learning italian from scratch (let alone the mistakes due to inexperience) (http://twitter.com/cosadici).

cordis
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Ohio

Post by cordis » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:21 pm

xan_user wrote:Now look at a map of the usa and explain to me how Ohio can be considered part of the "mid west" when its only two states away from the Atlantic ocean?!?!?

Image
Well, having grown up in Ohio, it has always been a little strange, being in the eastern time zone and all. In a sense it's really more terrain based, most people in the northeast part of the state, where you're in the foothills or up by the lake, it really feels more 'mideast' that midwest, and in the southwest part of the state where it's all flat it's really feels more midwest there. But for some reason 'mideast' hasn't really caught on. Technically, since Ohio was part of the Western Reserve before it was a state, it has been considered 'western', but the pull of the east coast has always been strong. That's kind of why it's become a swing state, Ohio is more diverse than people think. ;)

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Re: Ohio

Post by judge56988 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:27 am

cordis wrote:
xan_user wrote:Now look at a map of the usa and explain to me how Ohio can be considered part of the "mid west" when its only two states away from the Atlantic ocean?!?!?

Image
Well, having grown up in Ohio, it has always been a little strange, being in the eastern time zone and all. In a sense it's really more terrain based, most people in the northeast part of the state, where you're in the foothills or up by the lake, it really feels more 'mideast' that midwest, and in the southwest part of the state where it's all flat it's really feels more midwest there. But for some reason 'mideast' hasn't really caught on. Technically, since Ohio was part of the Western Reserve before it was a state, it has been considered 'western', but the pull of the east coast has always been strong. That's kind of why it's become a swing state, Ohio is more diverse than people think. ;)
For me (a Brit), the term "Mid West" evokes an image of a particular type of landscape and way of life. I don't take it as being a literal definition of an area of land. Rather like the way that the "sixties" is often considered to have begun around 1963 and ended around 1974, the term has come to mean something different to it's literal meaning.

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Post by andyb » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:50 am


colm
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Post by colm » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:38 pm

xan_user wrote:Now look at a map of the usa and explain to me how Ohio can be considered part of the "mid west" when its only two states away from the Atlantic ocean?!?!?

Image
the U.S. is like that.

Has anyone noticed the hudson making new england and eastern new york an island?

I could guess it has been there a long time. Not exactly a trickle of water from the st.lawrence... :roll:

mention the word portland, west of ohio, and nobody knows there is one in maine...as the biggest city of the state..

lagrange texas..lagrange maine... there is all kinds of lack of communication for variety. somebody was thinking real quick when states were mapped out. :lol:

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Post by theycallmebruce » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:19 am

One of the more interesting OT threads I've seen for a while.. no political/religious flamebaiting!

Anyway, to throw my two cents in and possibly veer the thread off course again, I think that English pronunciation is highly irregular compared to most languages. Written English is definitely not phonetic. A common example is words ending in "ough". The words through, bough, rough, though, cough and thought are all pronounced differently.

My language learning experience is limited to Japanese, but that language is almost completely phonetic. Spoken Japanese uses far fewer sounds than English (although not a strict subset - Japanese does include a few sounds which English doesn't). This makes learning Japanese pronunciation relatively straightforward for English speakers once you learn the basic set of sounds.

In English, names of places in particular tend to have unusual pronunciations. I don't know, but I guess this might be because place names tend to be centuries old or more, and their pronunciation might not keep up with the relatively fast pronunciation changes in the rest of the language.

For example, place names in England tend to follow a fairly regular set of pronunciation rules, regardless of the major regional variation in accents. Yorkshire and Hampshire are pronounced the same, although most natives of those counties pronounce other words quite differently.

Interestingly, we Strayans (Australians) have deviated from the standard English place name pronunciations. For example, our cities Rockingham and Derby are pronounced phonetically here (there is a pub in RockingHAM called "The Swinging Pig"), while in England they would be said more like "Rockingum" and "Darby".

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Re: Ohio

Post by xan_user » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:46 pm

cordis wrote: Ohio is more diverse than people think. ;)
-That probably explains why my uncle dislikes OH so much, "Damn commies!" ...Id probably love it.( Sorry , TCMBruce..:D)

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Post by Fayd » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:19 pm

xan_user wrote:With a language where you can spell fish, GHOTI it s a wonder why we dont all go crazy here...:lol:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoti
but you can't.

find me a word that starts with GH and doesnt use the hard G.

most of those "created words" break usage laws regarding spelling. to use gh=f, it has to be preceded by something. ti=sh has to be followed by something.

i dont know why there's such a confusion regarding ough. that one gets me.

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Post by nick705 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:53 am

theycallmebruce wrote: Interestingly, we Strayans (Australians) have deviated from the standard English place name pronunciations. For example, our cities Rockingham and Derby are pronounced phonetically here (there is a pub in RockingHAM called "The Swinging Pig"), while in England they would be said more like "Rockingum" and "Darby".
It's not consistant though - an Australian will pronounce Melbourne as "MEL-burn", with heavy stress on the first syllable, and the second clipped to the point where the vowel sound hardly exists. A Brit on the other hand will probably pronounce it phonetically as "Mel-borne" (cf. "Sittingbourne", a town in Kent), generally to the amusement of native Ockers.

I suppose if you take the suffix "--bourne" as deriving from "--burn" (a small stream), the first pronunciation is actually more likely to be the correct one.

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Post by judge56988 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:17 am

When I was a kid, one of my aunts married an American airman based in England; his pronunciation of Gloucester was 'Glow-cesster' with the 'Glow' rhyming with 'cow'. (It's pronounced Gloss-ter)
Well it used to amuse me anyway, as did his accent in general. He was from California.
Odd to think that I have American cousins that I wouldn't even recognise if I passed them in the street.

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Post by flapane » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:18 am

Same for me, I couldn't recognize mine in Newark... 60 years have passed, how sad.

Curious to say, I'd pronounce "Glow-cesster" (a little bit like Manchester), while I asked my sister who studies English culture at the uni., and she said "Gloss-ter".
I've seen that words such as the names of the UK regions have a particular pronunciation (even Yorkshire is not so easy to pronounce for us neolatin, it should sounds like "York-sciah" while I'd say "York-sh-ai-r"), and sometimes I can mistake them.

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Post by flapane » Sun May 16, 2010 7:45 am

New case:
Greenwich, UK -> ɡri (eee) nɪdʒ
Greenwich village, NYC -> grEnɪdʒ, with a wide open "E"

A friend of mine told me... is that correct? I can't see the reason, anyway. :lol:

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Post by Reachable » Sun May 16, 2010 3:02 pm

Here in Massachusetts we pronounce the English place names just like they do in England ....... except that we mangle it.

For instance, Worcester is pronounced Wuss-ter instead of Wor-ses-ter, but most of the locals pronounce it Wista.

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Post by flapane » Mon May 17, 2010 12:19 am

Maybe New England is more conservative, speaking of formal english, or maybe that pronunciation is peculiar of NYC.

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Post by Fayd » Mon May 17, 2010 8:17 am

Reachable wrote:Here in Massachusetts we pronounce the English place names just like they do in England ....... except that we mangle it.

For instance, Worcester is pronounced Wuss-ter instead of Wor-ses-ter, but most of the locals pronounce it Wista.
i always called it more wor-shes-er.

:/

that shit always confused me.

damn you english with your stupid spellings and pronunciations.

i prefer it here in california with our mangled spanish place names. at least this shit makes sense. least we're not completely skipping syllables here.

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Post by Reachable » Mon May 17, 2010 9:01 am

Fayd wrote: i always called it more wor-shes-er.

:/

that shit always confused me.

damn you english with your stupid spellings and pronunciations.

i prefer it here in california with our mangled spanish place names. at least this shit makes sense. least we're not completely skipping syllables here.

The English obviously got tired of trying to twist their tongues around tortured names like Leicester and started pronouncing it "Lester" instead.

And, hey, I'm from Worcester, and if I ever hear of you pronouncing it wrong again, you'll get a ticket to Pismo Beach!

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