Monthly Archives: February 2012

American Offglide

The English language is notorious for its diphthongs.  A diphthong, as many of you know, is two vowels combined into a single sound, as in the ‘i‘ in ‘kite’ or the ‘ou‘ in ‘mouth.’ Nearly every vowel of English can be … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 22 Comments

‘The Jersey Shore’ & Jersey Accents

While in a hotel room the other night, I watched a few episodes of MTV’s The Jersey Shore.  For those living on Mars these past two years, the show follows a group of young ‘Jersey’ layabouts during a raucous summer on the … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 23 Comments

“Hate Speech”

I want to briefly comment on a comment made in the last post, from reader boynamedsue: I think it’s an interesting cultural difference between the UK and US. The concept of “hate speech” as a generalised category has not really entered … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 5 Comments

The C-Word

Within the past few decades, a difference has arisen between British and American English concerning ‘the C word.’ I won’t repeat the word here, as it’s arguably the most offensive in English, but most will know what I’m talking about … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 41 Comments

Inner-City Dialects

This week’s Economist features an article about the Kiezdeutsch dialect of German, mostly spoken by inner-city youth. One may recognize controversies similar to those about non-standard English: ‘purists’ argue that Kiezdeutsh is bad/lazy German, while linguists see it is a legitimate variant of … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Nasal Vowels

In French, the /n/ at the end of words like ‘garcon,’ ‘mon,’ and ‘Americain’ is typically  unpronounced.  Instead, the vowel before ‘n’ is nasalized, while dropping ‘n’ itself. How does one ‘nasalize’ a vowel, exactly? It’s fairly simple. The speaker … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Con-Dialects

One of my ‘nerdiest’ passions is for conlangs, short for ‘constructed languages.’  Examples of these include Klingon and the various tongues in Tolkien’s books.  These are often created by creative linguists or people with an advanced knowledge of languages, although … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 11 Comments