Monthly Archives: January 2013

Different Kinds of “Ah”

In linguist Tom Roeper’s excellent book on language acquisition, The Prism of Grammar, he makes this observation about Boston accents: In Boston, there are two forms of r-lessness, heard in two ways of saying ‘Harvard:’ ‘Hahvid’ and ‘Haavid.’ The first … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Prime Ministaw:” Jamaican Rounded Schwa

Most Anglophone Caribbean nations have dialect continua, with an English Creole at one end and some variety of Standard English at the other. I find Jamaica’s continuum particularly fascinating for the ways in which “Jamaican English” (i.e. Standard English as spoken … Continue reading

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

Lincoln’s “Anachronisms”

[UPDATE: Benjamin Schmidt has an excellent in-depth response in the comments which is well worth reading. He also has an FAQ on his website that answers a number of questions about his process.] I am obviously fascinated by historical dialects … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 7 Comments

That’s What She Said!

I’m going to veer off-topic today, and discuss jokes. Or rather, a joke that has swept through American pop culture for years, the allusive “that’s what she said” gag. The premise is that by inserting “that’s what she said” after … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Piers Morgan’s “Hoity Toity” Accent

Politicians have a curious habit of mocking their own markers of privilege. How else does one explain Mitt Romney slamming Obama for attending Harvard, Romney’s MBA alma mater? Or G.W. Bush describing the “intellectual arrogance” he encountered while at Yale? … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 16 Comments