Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jane Austen’s English

A reader recently wrote me with a question about the language in Jane Austen’s novels: I see you’ve talked a little about accent in Shakespeare’s time, but do we know how English people sounded during the Regency era? I think … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , | 11 Comments

A Strange Chapter in “Wog”s Hateful History

“Wog” is an offensive term in British English which refers to various immigrant groups. Its etymology is debated. One theory suggests acronymous origins, along the lines of “Worthy Oriental Gentleman” (which is less pejorative than contemporary usage would suggest). More … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Drawer-Draw Conflation

I’ve known New Yorkers who, despite exhibiting few traces of “Brooklynese,” pronounce “drawer” as if it were “draw.”* These are folks, mind you, who pronounce each and every other r, yet still maintain this r-less exception. So what’s with “draw?” … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 33 Comments