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Offline ducaticanine

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« on: 12/02/2008 09:11:12 »
why do you use an 'R' sound at the end with words like: area(are-er), Louisiana (Louisianer), etc. there are many others but can t think of them now. Its so strange. There is NO 'R' in these words! Its only in British English



 

Offline rosy

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« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2008 11:33:11 »
Nah, it's not "are-er" it's "are-a", with a short "a" sound, as in "a"merica.
And, um, yes. It's not just "British" English, it's "English" English. The clue is in the name.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #2 on: 12/02/2008 16:47:55 »
The point is that language is primarily defined by grammar and vocabulary, but far less so by sound (in the case of the Chinese language, there is no direct linkage between written Chinese and the sound values associated with them).

Each community has by tradition adopted particular sound values it has grown up with.  This not only defines what sound is represented by what letter, but what range of sounds may represent what letter (or group of letters, when we consider digraphs and diphthongs).  No two people will ever use exactly the same sounds to represent the same words, hence each of us speaks with our own voice, and each community has its own accent.  So we grows up with a range of sound values that we will regard acceptable for each part of speech.

The problem is that, the boundary for each range of sound values is different for each sound community, so an 'r' sound is different for a Frenchman, and Englishman, or an American (even if any of these groups did speak a homogeneous language, which they do not); and where the boundaries between 'r' and 'a', or some other letter, is will vary; so where one community will hear two very different sounds, another community will simply hear legitimate variations of one sound.  Thus, a sound value that in one community may sound like  a legitimate variation on the 'r' sound, will sound like a legitimate variation on the 'a' sound for the other community.

Bear in mind that this is particularly problematic for the English language (at least with vowels), since English has about 20 different vowel sounds, but only 5 letters to express them with.  If you want a less ambiguous was of expressing sounds in written form, then use the IPA rather than the standard English alphabet; although even this will not avoid ambiguity altogether.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #3 on: 13/02/2008 22:28:36 »
Very true, George. I love dialects & accents - they fascinate me. I lived in Suffolk for a while and in the more rural parts "I am going to my house" is pronounced "Ahm goowin' ta moy howuss"
 

Offline daveshorts

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« Reply #4 on: 13/02/2008 23:31:31 »
Having a think about this, Australian English uses an 'a' sound rather than a short 'er' sound. I am not sure about the various US accents.

Accents change with time and space, and due to the peculiar history of English spelling it doesn't bother to keep up. That is one of the main reasons it is such a nightmare. I think French have the 'Academie' which decides what written French is, I think German and Spanish have something similar... England being historically much less well organised we just muddle along ( the Oxford English Dictionary just follows usage rather than the other way around ) which makes it a more dynamic, if less logical language.
« Last Edit: 13/02/2008 23:37:30 by daveshorts »
 

another_someone

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« Reply #5 on: 14/02/2008 00:41:57 »
L'Académie française will define 'official' French, but you still have dialects.  The dialect of French spoken on Provence will be different from that spoken in Paris (this aside from the fact that Provence also historically has its own language).

Aside from that, the French spoken in Quebec or Brussels will be quite different in character anything spoken in France (le français québécois is quite archaic in character in relation to Parisian French).  This is aside from all the pidgin and creole variants (such as Louisiana Creole).
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #6 on: 14/02/2008 17:19:15 »
I remember the fuss L'Académie Française kicked up about the common use of "le weekend". They don't like it up 'em!
 

Offline chris

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« Reply #7 on: 15/02/2008 04:11:42 »
why do you use an 'R' sound at the end with words like: area(are-er), Louisiana (Louisianer), etc. there are many others but can t think of them now. Its so strange. There is NO 'R' in these words! Its only in British English

I'm very glad you've raised this point because you can help to explain something I've been wondering about for ages: Where's the "dough" in tomato (as said in "American" English?), and what's wrong with the "h" in "herb" - why does it need to be left off? Is America turning French now?
 

Offline elegantlywasted

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« Reply #8 on: 15/02/2008 04:25:19 »
why do you use an 'R' sound at the end with words like: area(are-er), Louisiana (Louisianer), etc. there are many others but can t think of them now. Its so strange. There is NO 'R' in these words! Its only in British English

I'm very glad you've raised this point because you can help to explain something I've been wondering about for ages: Where's the "dough" in tomato (as said in "American" English?), and what's wrong with the "h" in "herb" - why does it need to be left off? Is America turning French now?

:D ;D
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #9 on: 15/02/2008 08:08:09 »
why do you use an 'R' sound at the end with words like: area(are-er), Louisiana (Louisianer), etc. there are many others but can t think of them now. Its so strange. There is NO 'R' in these words! Its only in British English

I'm very glad you've raised this point because you can help to explain something I've been wondering about for ages: Where's the "dough" in tomato (as said in "American" English?), and what's wrong with the "h" in "herb" - why does it need to be left off? Is America turning French now?

And why do some people drop the H at the start of words yet pronounce H as Haitch?
 

another_someone

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« Reply #10 on: 15/02/2008 11:12:04 »
And why do some people drop the H at the start of words yet pronounce H as Haitch?

So, how do you pronounce Haitch - is it not as 'aitch? ;D
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #11 on: 15/02/2008 15:21:11 »
It's spelt aitch. There is no initial H.
 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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« Reply #12 on: 15/02/2008 20:56:54 »
Ok, Chris I'll give you "Tomato"  we American's say "Tomaydo" because we're lazy and "d" is easier to pronounce than "t".  However, Herb... I was taught the correct pronounceation is "Erb".  Sometimes a letter is just silent in the english language.  Its not out of laziness like in the Tomato case.
But you're right, when i think about it, it does sound kind of french.  Maybe that's why you Brit's say it incorrectly.  You just don't want to sound French.  then again, I'm supprised the Bush adminisstration didn't try to get us pronouncing the "h" back when France wouldn't march into Iraq with us; just like they tried to get us to call "french fries" "Freedom fries"  :-/
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #13 on: 17/02/2008 09:08:53 »
Quote
Maybe that's why you Brit's say it incorrectly.

At least we don't pronounce "buoy" as "boo-ee", "school" as "skoo-wull" or "nuclear" as "new killer" :P
 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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« Reply #14 on: 20/02/2008 22:39:50 »
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Maybe that's why you Brit's say it incorrectly.

At least we don't pronounce "buoy" as "boo-ee", "school" as "skoo-wull" or "nuclear" as "new killer" :P

damnit, just because our president is an inbreed moron doesn't mean the rest of us can't pronounce "nuclear"
 

Offline chris

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« Reply #15 on: 22/02/2008 09:19:07 »
The other major one that gets my goat - sorry Americans - is "route", which should be said like "root", but you insist on pronouncing "ROW-T" (ROW as in argument).

The verb to "rout" means to cause to flee (it was a favourite with my latin textbook about 20 years ago; the Romans were always routing someone or other).

Chris

 

Offline elegantlywasted

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« Reply #16 on: 22/02/2008 15:37:48 »
My personal fav... roof. It is pronounced R OO F not rouf... the top of my house does not sounds like a dog bark.
 

Offline Carolyn

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« Reply #17 on: 03/03/2008 01:09:12 »
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Maybe that's why you Brit's say it incorrectly.

At least we don't pronounce "buoy" as "boo-ee", "school" as "skoo-wull" or "nuclear" as "new killer" :P

Neither do I. :)

Why do you guys pronounce vitamin and aluminum incorrectly? ;D
 

Offline chris

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« Reply #18 on: 03/03/2008 07:59:19 »
Carolyn

that'll be because aluminIum has got an I in it and hence we say it differently because we can spell it.

In terms of vitamin, this is interesting because if I ask you to say the word "vitrification" or "vitreous" you certainly wouldn't pronounce it "vy-treous". So dare I say it's just another example of Americans not being able to say words properly.

"erb" indeed.

Chris


Chris
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #19 on: 03/03/2008 19:12:35 »
" Maybe that's why you Brit's say it incorrectly. "
Er I think the English pronounce English correctly more or less by deffinition.
Please feel free to pronounce the American language however you like, but please stop calling it English; it hasn't been English for centuries.

"In terms of vitamin, this is interesting because if I ask you to say the word "vitrification" or "vitreous" you certainly wouldn't pronounce it "vy-treous". So dare I say it's just another example of Americans not being able to say words properly."
 Another possibility is the effect of a pair of consonants making the vowel proceding it short.
Pinning vs Pining would be another example.
 

Offline Ophiolite

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« Reply #20 on: 04/03/2008 13:21:08 »
Please feel free to pronounce the American language however you like, but please stop calling it English; it hasn't been English for centuries.
Hmm. I think you will find many of the peculiarities of American pronounciation are reatained characteristics from the English of the first settlers. Perhaps that's what you meant.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #21 on: 04/03/2008 16:24:57 »
You still say Fall instead of Autumn which is ye olde English.

As for not pronouncing things correctly people from south England say ar instead of a in words like grass and castle. Go on you know it all southerners how do you pronounce ass then?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #22 on: 04/03/2008 18:56:52 »
It depends.
Do you mean "ass" as in an animal like a donkey which I'd pronounce the same way as the start of teh word assessment or do you mean "arse" (a slang term for the posterior) which I pronounce the same as the start of the word arsenal? If it's the latter please learn to spell the word in English
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #23 on: 04/03/2008 19:35:09 »
No I meant that if a southerner pronounces grass as 'grarss' then they would naturally pronounce a donkey style ass as arse. Really, I thought people on this Forum were intelligent but when I have to explain such a simple joke and defend my ability to spell my own language at the same time, well I never.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #24 on: 09/03/2008 23:16:12 »
No I meant that if a southerner pronounces grass as 'grarss' then they would naturally pronounce a donkey style ass as arse. Really, I thought people on this Forum were intelligent but when I have to explain such a simple joke and defend my ability to spell my own language at the same time, well I never.

We southerners are versatile, we are capable of making more than 1 vowel sound.

Incidentally, why do a lot of northerners pronounce "by" as "bah"?
 

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« Reply #24 on: 09/03/2008 23:16:12 »

 

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