Monthly Archives: December 2011

An Accent Myth? The East Asian L/R Mix-Up

A few days ago, I watched the American holiday classic A Christmas Story.  At the end of the film, the family of the main character visits a Chinese restaurant.  Being Christmas, the wait staff attempts to entertain their American patrons … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 31 Comments

Drunken Speech

Speech changes during intoxication. We slur, we stammer, we curse.  Our normal, everyday speech patterns differ markedly from our drunken idiolects (the word’s similarity to ‘idiot’ never seemed as apt as it does in this context.) You may wonder, then, if … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 8 Comments

Happy Holidays!

Hey, all! Posting here has been a bit light due to the holidays. I’ll have a post up tomorrow. Till then, I’d like re-post something I had up here some time ago, this lovely ‘Night Before Christmas’ spoken in Jamaican … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pop vs. Soda

In my native New England, using ‘pop’ to refer to soft drinks is unthinkable.  So midwestern!  Having many relatives in the midwest, of course, I was often treated to this difference between our respective dialects.  Which is why I’m enamored … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged | 29 Comments

Chicago [shi-KAW-go]

Some of the most intriguing dialect mysteries involve place names. One of the more peculiar of these head-scratchers is the local pronunciation of ‘Chicago.’ The Chicago accent, being affected by the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, pronounces ‘ah’ words with something … Continue reading

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Posted in American English, Uncategorized | Tagged | 46 Comments

Leeds or Manchester?

Turning back to the world of accent minutiae, a reader emailed me with a conundrum regarding the difference between Leeds and Manchester accents. This concerns ‘punk poet’ John Cooper Clarke, from Salford in Greater Manchester: I like to think of … Continue reading

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Posted in British English, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Accent of a Contrarian: Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens passed away yesterday. His controversial life is far beyond the purview of a blog about dialects, yet I can think of few people with an accent as inextricably linked with their personality. Here is a brief clip of … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , | 15 Comments

The Christmas Dialect Divide

Christmas greetings differ on each side of the Atlantic.  Here in the U.S., ‘Merry Christmas‘ is used almost exclusively, while ‘Happy Christmas‘ seems more common among dialects in UK. But wait.  Didn’t the very British A Christmas Carol feature the term ‘Merry … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 17 Comments

Vocal Fry

I don’t have time for a full-on post today, but I would be negligent if I didn’t point out the recent buzz on the web and elsewhere about ‘vocal fry.’  This term, which is more or less synonymous with creaky … Continue reading

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The Cornish Accent?

Half of my last name is ‘Trawick,’ which is a Cornish surname.  Or rather, Anglicized Cornish–it apparently derives from ‘Traweek.’ I’ve seen a few competing ‘Trawick’ etymologies, but after some ancestral research, this seems the most plausible contender.  As such, I’ve developed … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged | 21 Comments