Monthly Archives: March 2012

Words of Faint Praise

Today’s topic is not very academic, but is worth discussing in relation to the American dialect(s). I’ve lived as an American my whole life, and something I find endlessly fascinating about our speech are ‘faint praise words.’ These are non-committal congratulations … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged | 20 Comments

‘Going to’ Contractions

The phrase ‘going to‘ has two meanings in English. It can, of course, refer to one’s intent to make a physical journey (as in ‘I am going to the store’). But it can also refer to the intent to do … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 50 Comments

Lax Vowels for English Learners

A bit of phonetics humor made its way into a recent episode of the TV show Modern Family. Gloria, a Spanish-accented character from Colombia, consistently confuses her nephew’s name, ‘Luke,’ with the word ‘look.’ The misunderstanding stems from ‘look’ using … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged | 38 Comments

On Dictionaries & Pronunciation

The fine folks over at Collins contacted me recently about their online dictionary. It’s in beta, but looks to be an excellent addition to a growing body of online word tools. I recommend checking it out here. Anyway, this got … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 41 Comments