Monthly Archives: January 2012

I’m Hoarably Sorey

Canadians (or those familiar with the Canadian accent), may recognize the weak pun in today’s title: ‘I’m horribly sorry‘ can sound to someone from the UK or elsewhere a bit like ‘I’m hoarably sorey.’ (I’m using ‘hoar’ to be family friendly; … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

More Thoughts on the New York Accent

I somehow missed this NY Post piece, in which Kara Becker, a linguist at Reed College in Oregon, pens a broad overview of the long decline of the ‘classic’ New York City accent. It’s a good read for anyone who wants to get … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged | 21 Comments

The Accents in Downton Abbey

I am apparently the last person in the English-speaking world to watch Downton Abbey, but got a chance to see the first series over the past two evenings.  For the unfamiliar, the show takes place in an English country estate … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , , , | 100 Comments

Circumstances – Circumstnses

Forgive the trivial nature of today’s post, but I’m curious about a minute detail of British pronunciation. That would be the word ‘circumstance.’ To clarify, when I say ‘British pronunciation’ here, I’m referring to the word’s pronunciation in British RP and … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Accents or Dialects I Haven’t Heard

A question I get asked a lot (as anyone with a passion for accents and dialects is probably asked) is whether there are any varieties of English I haven’t heard. There’s no easy answer, of course, since accents aren’t clearly defined … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Was There Ever a ‘Veddy British’ R?

One of the supposed traits of older types of British Received Pronunciation is that /r/ can be a tapped sound (for those reading this week, this sound is similar to the ‘tt’ in American ‘butter’). In ‘traditional’ RP, this typically occurs … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

The New England/East Anglia Connection

A commonly held assumption is that New England accents are cousins of East Anglian accents in the UK. It’s an impression shared even by non-linguists, as this interview with British actor Tom Wilkinson from some years back attests (he discussed hanging out with Maine … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged | 14 Comments

Bidder Budder Badder: The Extent of T-tapping

Americans like myself ‘tap’ the ‘t’ in between vowels.  This means that the ‘t’ in ‘butter’ is pronounced not with a /t/ sound, but rather with the ‘r’ consonant in Spanish ‘pero.’  The common impression, though, is that ‘t’ becomes … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Auld Lang Syne FAQ

Last night was New Years’ Eve, which brings about the yearly revival of the song Auld Lang Syne.  Originally penned by Robert Burns (the melody is traditional), the lyrics are in the Scots language (or dialect, depending on your point of … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , | 13 Comments