Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • Wet Kipper wrote: »
    plenty of Scots use gluttal stops (gluh-uhl stops) and would talk about a bo-uhl of wah-ur

    The North East Loon once (whilst out of my earshot) told his little sister that she was a glottal stop "and Mummy doesn't like glottal stops." Not knowing what a glottal stop was, she unquestioningly accepted her brother's assertion that she was one.

    She asked me if it was true that I didn't like glottal stops and when I agreed that I didn't like them, she burst into tears. Much cuddling of a heartbroken child later I finally found out what her brother had done.
  • Oh, the wickedness of brothers!
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I love a good glottal stop, and would like to offer a gentle hostly reminder that we can talk about differences in language and pronunciation without judging anyone's accent as wrong, uneducated, or the evil bastard child of anything else. Thanks for remaining civil, folks!

    Trudy, Heavenly Host
  • "Milk" is a bit like mi-oak.

    Two syllables?
  • It’s just milk! I don’t get how else you’d pronounce it.
    Although if we carry if dragging the Welsh into things - what’s the deal with north and south having a different word? (I only know the northern word & probably pronounce it slightly iffy as my Welsh is very basic).
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Accents and dialects are without moral value, they are just differences.
    Of course, but I don't think one can deny that they often (or even usually) come laden with cultural baggage which is hard to expunge from hearers' minds.
    To quote George Bernard Shaw in Pygmalion:
    "... it is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him.”

  • It’s just milk! I don’t get how else you’d pronounce it.

    Clearly this thread is not for you.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    "Milk" is a bit like mi-oak.

    Two syllables?

    No, one, just missing the l. World is similar, woarwd.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    "Receipt"

    In my neck of the woods this only means something you get from a store or ship showing your purchases. It does not mean instructions for preparing a food dish, which is "recipe" which we pronounce REH-sə-pee or RESS-ə-pee (hard for me to tell whether the ess ends the first syllable or starts the second).
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    "Milk" is a bit like mi-oak.

    Two syllables?

    I *think* the pronunciation occurs when the ‘l’ sound is formed without the tip of the tongue making contact with the hard palate immediately behind the teeth.
  • What Welsh word do you have in mind, Not Entirely Me?

    'Gogledd' is the one I have in mind and the double d sound has a soft 'th' as in 'the' or 'that'.

    South Walians refer to North Walians as 'Gogs'.

    I've heard that North Walians refer to people from South West Wales as 'Tatws' (pronounced 'tat-oose') as that's where the first spuds of the season came from.

    I'm not sure what they call us South East Walians. Spawn of Satan? Bastard sons of ...

    It's joarkin' I am ...

    But yes, there was always traditionally some north / south tensions in Wales.

  • But yes, there was always traditionally some north / south tensions in Wales.

    Or perhaps there were tensions. Just perhaps, you'll understand.
  • The 'weres' have it.
  • Mom and Mum. There's a change to this over my lifetime here.

    Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus, also Paw-sta and Awe'n't for pasta and aunt. Here paz-ta (vowels both short a) and ant.
    Pecans - we say pee-cans, pee-cawns on the tv.

    A very weird one to my ears is people who say glacier with a short a in the first syllable and vitamin with a short i in the first syllable.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    I *think* the pronunciation occurs when the ‘l’ sound is formed without the tip of the tongue making contact with the hard palate immediately behind the teeth.

    Ooh, the "dark L" has appeared in the chat! One of my favourite differences occurring in spoken English.

    I remember shipmate ken, late of this parish, commenting on supporters of his football club shouting "Millwall! Millwall!" - he said the only clear consonant was "m." The dark L strikes again. (I feel it needs a Batman type of costume.)

  • Firenze wrote: »
    In Scotland it's either unguessable from the spelling - Milngavie = Mullguy - or, once you get them into the highlands, names like screes of letters - Tighnabruaich, Braeriach, Benin Mheadhoin - on which the tongue slips and flounders.

    To be fair, Scots Gaelic is pretty much phonetic - it's just that the phonemes aren't the same as those in the English language, so do not trip so sweetly off a Saxon tongue.

    Names (of places and people) are particularly good places to find divergence between orthography and pronunciation in English - as they tend to have existed before major pronunciation shifts, and before standard orthography, and have merrily diverged since.
    And then, of course, taken on a life of their own as a curious kind of status indicator - because clearly all the right sort of people know how to pronounce Featherstonehaugh.
    A very weird one to my ears is people who say glacier with a short a in the first syllable and vitamin with a short i in the first syllable.

    I resemble those remarks ;)
  • Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus, also Paw-sta and Awe'n't for pasta and aunt. Here paz-ta (vowels both short a) and ant.
    Pecans - we say pee-cans, pee-cawns on the tv.
    I don't think I've ever heard an American say "puh-JAW-mus," "PAW-sta" or "paz-ta," though American who do so might surely exist. I hear "Puh-JAH-muhz" and "PAH-sta."

    Aunt and pecan can be regional markers, and in the case of pecan, class or education markers. Aunt either sounds like the insect or like "ahnt." My wife is from western NC and says "pe-CAHN." I'm from eastern NC and say "pe-CAN." It's a long-running (and good-natured) family feud. Others from both sides of the state will say "PEE-can."

    Wife and I both laughed when we heard "PEE-c'n" on The Great British Bake-Off.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus

    I can't parse that. You have two accented syllables, or a single syllable that has two vowels and a consonant in the middle, which unless the consonant is silent is two syllables.

    Here you can pronounce the word either puh-JAW-muhs (same A as in ah or blah) or puh-JAM-uhs (same A as in apple or stack).

    One of the confusing things about British pronunciation for Americans is that some syllables where we have æ y'all have ah. But not all. This comes out beautifully in the line from Another Brick In The Wall Part 2:

    No dark sarcasms in the classroom.

    In US English (as we speak it in the PNW) the A in the middle of sarcAsms and the A in the first syllable of clAssroom have the same value. But in the song clearly he sings them differently.

    So when trying to give pronunciations by comparing to other words, one is never sure if y'all pronounce the word as we do, or if I'm misleading you. "A" is the worst offender in that regard, I believe.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus

    I can't parse that. You have two accented syllables, or a single syllable that has two vowels and a consonant in the middle, which unless the consonant is silent is two syllables.

    Maybe it's shouted. JAMAS!

  • mousethief wrote: »
    "Milk" is a bit like mi-oak.

    Two syllables?

    No. The L is pronounced so darkly that it becomes a W sound.

    The same thing happened in Old French, which is why we have un cheval but deux chevaux. Not to mention Chateaux from Latin Castellum (Romance *Castello, proto-French *Chastelle)

    Fun digression. Or not if your not a linguistics nerd.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Fun digression. Or not if your not a linguistics nerd.

    I am. you're.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited September 2019

    mousethief wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Fun digression. Or not if your not a linguistics nerd.

    I am. you're.

    Argh!! Phone autoincorrect!
  • Enoch wrote: »
    The glottal stop is present in most (possibly all) English dialects, just not invariably as the middle letter in 'water'. It's not particularly rare in other languages.

    I'm told that it's common in Danish, which is presumably partly responsible for the accusation that I read somewhere that Danish sounds like a child trying to speak Swedish with a mouthful of hot potato. (Not making any value judgements, just reporting what somebody said -- I'm not familiar with either with either language so couldn't comment anyway).
    Leaf wrote: »
    Ooh, the "dark L" has appeared in the chat! One of my favourite differences occurring in spoken English.

    It's why the Polish pronunciation of 'Ł' as a 'W' sound* (together with other diacriticals it causes the city of Łódź to be pronounced 'Woodge' -- 'oo' as in 'wood') isn't as bizarre to English-speakers as it looks at first sight.

    *English 'W', not Welsh!
    mousethief wrote: »
    y'all

    A word like that would be useful in standard UK English; 'youse' is used in parts of the British Isle, so perhaps we should try and encourage it; or maybe revive 'ye'. (I tend to say 'you lot' if clarity requires it).

  • What Welsh word do you have in mind, Not Entirely Me?

    'Gogledd' is the one I have in mind and the double d sound has a soft 'th' as in 'the' or 'that'.

    South Walians refer to North Walians as 'Gogs'.

    I've heard that North Walians refer to people from South West Wales as 'Tatws' (pronounced 'tat-oose') as that's where the first spuds of the season came from.

    I'm not sure what they call us South East Walians. Spawn of Satan? Bastard sons of ...

    It's joarkin' I am ...

    But yes, there was always traditionally some north / south tensions in Wales.

    Milk - llaeth(?) but southern folk say something different.

    I’m familiar with gogs for northerners. The insult/northern term for southerners is hun-toos (prob hwntys or similar maybe in Cymraeg spelling) which is apparently rather more insulting than I can’t remember details.

    I lived with two southern & one northern bilingual speaker at uni. One of the southern who specialised in wenglish after a few drinks and when we had 4 tv channels with one being S4C as a student I picked up quite a bit from kids telly! But my scrappy Welsh is more northern (licio as opposed to hoffe except for froffy coffee! And dwmbo (sp well off) as opposed to syn gobod).
  • Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus...

    Most Americans I know say "P.J.s" or "Jammies."

  • Enoch wrote: »
    There is a consonant in the pronunciation 'woe er'. It's a glottal stop, not a diphthong. The glottal stop is present in most (possibly all) English dialects, just not invariably as the middle letter in 'water'. It's not particularly rare in other languages.

    I went to high school in a town called Renton (it's where 737s are assembled, actually). There are three ways of pronouncing the city's name.

    REN-tahn -- says "I am probably from the east coast."

    REN-tun -- says "I am not from Renton."

    RE'un -- says "I am from Renton." (the ' indicates a glottal stop) (e is short as in ten)
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    On accents, I'm currently watching "The Boys". One of the main characters, Butcher, was British in the original comic; here he sounds Australian to me, and is actually played by a Kiwi. I've noticed this in other American shows; it seems an Antipodean accent is generally accepted as British.

    Some Australian accents do sound British to American ears. Had a tourist get upset at me about that once.

    As to Kiwi accents: I once saw Kiwi actress Lucy Lawless ("Xena") on an American TV talk show. There were times when she spoke with an (IMHO) extremely thick accent, nearly impossible to understand. I figured she was either speaking the way Kiwis might speak among themselves, or else putting it on for the Yanks.
  • jah and jaw were differentiated. They would be said the same here.

    Watching a women's quarter final in US Open tennis. The American ESPN interviewer" says "sem eye final". The Canadian TSN interviewer "sem ee final". Wondering what the UK varieties are, also Australian, NZ any others.

    I would now go and put on my puh jam ahs if I possessed and wore such clothing.
  • hemidemisemifinals?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    I am a card-carrying American. I have always, since I could wrap my tongue around the word, said "Puh-JAW-muhs."

    And I am about to go and put mine on.

  • I grew up saying paJAMas, and when I first heard someone say paJAHmas, it sounded pretentious to me.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    Sorry, but that's what my parents always said, and that's therefore what I learned. No desire to seem pretentious was or is involved.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Sorry, but that's what my parents always said, and that's therefore what I learned. No desire to seem pretentious was or is involved.

    No no, of course not. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that about you. That's just my experience of the word growing up. Because Seattle in the 1960s was very insular. It's definitely more something about me than about you or anybody else who pronounces it the other way.
  • The standard pronunciation here used be pejahmas, with the e indeterminate. I'd not like to guess what would be said today - perhaps no change
  • I'd have saved myself a Hell Call if I'd trodden as carefully as that.

    Trying to tread even more carefully, I'm finding I can parse and hear the pronunciations in my mind's ear more easily from Mousethief's transcriptions - than I can from NoProphet's.

    That's not to denigrate NoProphet's attempts and it might be because we are more familiar with US than Canadian accents over here.

    It all goes to show how we can tend to assume our own ways are the norm. A long 'a' sound in 'glacier' and a long 'i' sound in 'vitamin' - 'vite-a-min' sounds as odd to me as the opposite does to NoProphet.

    Mousethief's point about the 'a' sounds in that line from Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in The Wall' is well-made. It doesn't sound at all unusual to me but now he's highlighted it I can see why it would sound unusual to 'many Americans'.

    Fascinating.

    Don't get me started on, 'We don't need no education,' though ...

  • I'll hold my hand up. I deplore some of the developments in Estuary English and much prefer the older forms of Cockney, Essex and Kentish accents from which it derives. I am well aware that it is a value judgement and entirely irrational in that I object less to the northern equivalent which is spreading across both sides of the Pennines, but mourn the passing of some of the more distinctive regional accents and dialects that were spoken up there when I first lived in the area in the late '70s/early 1980s.

    I blame Eastenders (the TV show not the people) for the spread of Estuary English.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    In East Enders, on the odd occasions I’ve heard bits of it, the accent has been a more or less familiar one to what I knew on the southern edge of Greater London.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    "Milk" is a bit like mi-oak.

    Two syllables?

    I'm not sure if it's that or a diphthong, as the l turns into a vowel.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    It’s a very segholate vowel, rather like a consonantal ‘w’.
  • Somebody cited Millwall earlier, which is a corker, as far as I can see, something like 'miw-waw' in Cockney and Essex. Must consult Eastenders.
  • S Wales Llaeth for milk; N Wales Llefrith. One of the words also means buttermilk in the *other* dialect but I can't remember which way round.

    S Wales folk are known as Hwntws - apparently meaning "them over there".

    As regards the SE, the Gwentian dialect is alas pretty much extinct; Welsh speakers in that area use more generic S Welsh.

    This may surprise, but S and N Welsh are at least as different in sound, syntax and vocabulary as UK and US English, despite the small size of the country. Enough so that you have to learn a particular one from the beginning as some quite basic words and phrases are different.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Also pajamas. I say puh-JAMAS, the TV commercials have Americans saying puh-JAW-mus

    I can't parse that. You have two accented syllables, or a single syllable that has two vowels and a consonant in the middle, which unless the consonant is silent is two syllables.

    Here you can pronounce the word either puh-JAW-muhs (same A as in ah or blah) or puh-JAM-uhs (same A as in apple or stack).

    One of the confusing things about British pronunciation for Americans is that some syllables where we have æ y'all have ah. But not all. This comes out beautifully in the line from Another Brick In The Wall Part 2:

    No dark sarcasms in the classroom.

    In US English (as we speak it in the PNW) the A in the middle of sarcAsms and the A in the first syllable of clAssroom have the same value. But in the song clearly he sings them differently.

    So when trying to give pronunciations by comparing to other words, one is never sure if y'all pronounce the word as we do, or if I'm misleading you. "A" is the worst offender in that regard, I believe.

    In the South, you'd have Dahk Sahcasms in the Clahssroom. We'd never use aw for that sound; that's the vowel sound in "oar".

    Just to confuse, in the North it'd be Classroom with the a rhyming with the second a of sarcasm instead of the first.

    However, the Brick in the Wall is useful here as it illustrates the three a sounds we're discussing:

    Short a: SarcASm
    Long a*: SArcasm, ClAssroom
    Aw: WAll

    *Some people use "long a" to mean the sound in MAke but linguistically that's a dipthong rather than a long vowel. Blame the great vowel shift.

  • I thought in the song, 'sarcasm' has unusual stress on the second syllable, whereas normally it's on the first. However, it's still the vowel in 'flat'.
  • I thought in the song, 'sarcasm' has unusual stress on the second syllable, whereas normally it's on the first. However, it's still the vowel in 'flat'.

    Hmm - I think I say the word with pretty much even stress on both syllables. But if I wanted to stress it, yes, it would normally be the first syllable.
  • It also shows the normal shift in stress to the 2nd syllable, if a 3rd is added, 'sarcastic'. However, some dialects, e.g., in Ireland have different stress, e.g., 'post office', stress on 1st syllable in RP, but 2nd in some dialects. The trouble is, after repeating something about 10 times, I can't remember what I say.
  • In the UK, it's 'pyjamas', and I think it's pronounced 'p'jamas'.
  • Another schwa there, I think. Perjamers.
  • There may be some fiddling around with the stress for musical purposes. Singing and spoken speech - if I can put it that way - often differ.

    But yes, there're certainly variations between the northern English 'a' and the southern English pronunciations. KarlLB, as so often, nails it.

    There are differences between northern and southern English vowel sounds generally - 'oo' and 'u' most notably.

    Also in the north, particularly Yorkshire, there's often a short 'y' sound at the end of words. 'Cit-eh' rather than 'cit-ee'.

    On Karl's observations on Welsh. Assuredly he possesses great and impressive knowledge for which this South Walian is grateful. I wish there was a 'not worthy' symbol still.

    I had thought the Gwentian dialect of Welsh was long since extinct. There are few Welsh speakers in Gwent and all the Welsh speakers I knew there when growing up in the '60s and '70s had moved to the area from West or North Wales.

    There's a very rare - unique? - inscription in Gwentian Welsh in the Priory in Usk.

    Oh the hiraeth ...

    Long I've lived in England but my heart is back in that pleasant land of Gwent ...
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    S Wales Llaeth for milk; N Wales Llefrith. One of the words also means buttermilk in the *other* dialect but I can't remember which way round.

    S Wales folk are known as Hwntws - apparently meaning "them over there".

    As regards the SE, the Gwentian dialect is alas pretty much extinct; Welsh speakers in that area use more generic S Welsh.

    This may surprise, but S and N Welsh are at least as different in sound, syntax and vocabulary as UK and US English, despite the small size of the country. Enough so that you have to learn a particular one from the beginning as some quite basic words and phrases are different.

    The differences are such that I've heard of Welsh speakers in call centres in South Wales opting to take incoming calls from North Walians in English. Otherwise the calls take too long as each tries to figure out what the other is trying to say.
  • Is it the mountains? I'm not sure how far up the coast South Walian Welsh goes - does it get past Aberystwyth?
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