Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    awe-men, with stress on the first syllable.
    ray, say, play, away, day, may all rhyme, amen does not. Eh? also rhymes.

    Awemen? Not Ahmen? They're not the same.

    They're not?

    No.

    Awe rhymes with the vowel in bore, floor (ie without the final r if you pronounce it; I don't so it's a perfect rhyme for or and oar for me); Ah rhymes with the vowel in bar, Pa, car.

    Do war and bar rhyme for you? It's the same difference.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Surely for most of the time the great vowel shift was happening, amen would have been used mostly in a Latin context and not an English one?
    That raises a different and intriguing question. Until about 120 years ago English speakers pronounced Latin almost as though it were English. They didn't just pronounce the 'v's and 'j's as in English. 'V's were still 'v's when I was at school. This also applied to the vowels. So, although 'sine' (without) wasn't pronounced the same as the trigonometrical word, the first syllable was the same one 'sigh-ny'. The 'y' was short, by the way, like the 'y' in 'any'. Whether that was the same before the Reformation, though, who can say? There are no recordings of anything from any time before the last few years of the 1800s. The post-Tridentine RCC seems to have pronounced Latin rather as though it were an extra dialect of Italian.


    @Leaf I think what @Doone is saying is that the Somerset children, who speak a dialect that is rhotic, were unanimously inserting an 'r' that isn't there at all, by analogy with words like 'are' and 'arse' where it is.


    I think the Greeks maintain that Greek was already pronounced much as modern Greek by the time it had become koiné, yet alone by when the Slavic countries were converted. There's quite a strong possibility, for example, that although words that began ευ were adopted into Latin as 'eu' and pronounced that way, they were already being pronounced 'ef' by Greek speakers by about 50 AD.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The changed pronunciation of Latin by English speakers is a relatively new phenomenon. The older pronunciation is often retained in legal usage: ultra vires, prima facie, sub poena for example.

    It is the subject of one of A P Herbert’s Misleading Cases (Rex v. Venables) published in 1934. (His spellings of the ‘new’ pronunciation work for southern English speakers of English.)
  • I sometimes get tripped up by too many kinds of Latin. Had classical in school; have a bit of familiarity with the legal, medical, and gardening varieties; also have some familiarity with RC Latin. Plus exposure to common practices/assumptions as to how those are pronounced.

    I tend to think of the classical pronunciation--simultaneously with the current pronunciations that are commonly used. Major traffic jam in my head!

    {Cue Munch's painting "The Scream".}
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    No! 😂
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    [

    Someone else mentioned Hebrew. When I sang in a synagogue choir, it was always "omein" - "o-mayn."

    Like when Dora says Swiper, no swiping ?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Awe rhymes with the vowel in bore, floor (ie without the final r if you pronounce it; I don't so it's a perfect rhyme for or and oar for me); Ah rhymes with the vowel in bar, Pa, car.

    Do war and bar rhyme for you? It's the same difference.

    Confused. War and bar are rhotic; Ah and awe (which rhyme in my idiolect) are not.
    Enoch wrote: »
    The 'y' was short, by the way, like the 'y' in 'any'.

    I would call the 'y' in 'any' long, although unaccented. "Ee" not "eh."
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    I sometimes get tripped up by too many kinds of Latin. Had classical in school; have a bit of familiarity with the legal, medical, and gardening varieties; also have some familiarity with RC Latin. Plus exposure to common practices/assumptions as to how those are pronounced.

    I tend to think of the classical pronunciation--simultaneously with the current pronunciations that are commonly used. Major traffic jam in my head!

    {Cue Munch's painting "The Scream".}

    If you find that fun, try going from university classical Greek to modern Greek. Thankfully they have a phonetic spelling in Latin letters in the hymnal, or I'd be toast -- worse off than someone who never studied Greek at all.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Awe rhymes with the vowel in bore, floor (ie without the final r if you pronounce it; I don't so it's a perfect rhyme for or and oar for me); Ah rhymes with the vowel in bar, Pa, car.

    Do war and bar rhyme for you? It's the same difference.

    Confused. War and bar are rhotic; Ah and awe (which rhyme in my idiolect) are not.
    In southern England war and bar are not rhotic - the final ‘r’ is not sounded. War rhymes with awe, and bar rhymes with Ah.
    Enoch wrote: »
    The 'y' was short, by the way, like the 'y' in 'any'.

    I would call the 'y' in 'any' long, although unaccented. "Ee" not "eh."
    By ‘short’ Enoch means, I expect, that it rhymes with ‘ee’ and not with ‘sigh’.
  • It would be a fun project to draw up a list of sentences, and then have each of us make a recording of reading them out loud, so we could hear one another's differences
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 30
    BroJames wrote: »
    By ‘short’ Enoch means, I expect, that it rhymes with ‘ee’ and not with ‘sigh’.
    Ah. So it's a long E not a long I.
    Wet Kipper wrote: »
    It would be a fun project to draw up a list of sentences, and then have each of us make a recording of reading them out loud, so we could hear one another's differences
    That sounds delightful.
  • I can understand confusion as to how 'War' and 'bar' might rhyme as even in less rhotic English accents they aren't exact rhymes. 'War' would tend to pronounced to rhyme with 'wore' or 'awe' and 'bar' with 'car' and 'spar'. The rhyme - or non-rhyme - comes with the vowel sound not with the final r - which is silent in most forms of Southern English speech and Received Pronunciation. In the South West of England, though, there's a burr on the 'r and certainly in Shakespeare's time there'd have been a very hard 'r' a the end - as in Scottish accents and dialects today. 'Warre.'

    I can't for the life of me see how 'awe' and 'ah' can rhyme by any stretch of the imagination.

    'Ah' can certainly rhyme with 'bar' - with a very weak r - or 'bah' or 'baa' - as in 'baa baa black sheep.'

    But how can it possibly rhyme with 'awe'?

    How do you pronounce 'awe-inspiring'? Ah-inspiring?

    I don't get it. Is it a Western Seaboard and Canadian thing?

    In the Queen's English as she is spoke, 'Awe' rhymes with 'oar' and 'store' and 'shore'. It's got a completely different vowel sound to 'ah'. But silly me, I'm forgetting. There are only about two vowel sounds on the West Coast of the US so almost any word with a central vowel is going to rhyme.

    You'll be telling us that 'seen' rhymes with 'sin' next.

    It's the 'Merry Mary Married Hairy Harry' thing. Not five or six separate and mellifluously distinct sounds but a single and balefully reductive one. 'Merry Merry Merred Herry Herry.' Is outrage.

    Ych y fi!* Every man to his tents oh Israel!

    It must be a very regional thing otherwise the old joke about John Wayne at the end of 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' wouldn't make any sense.

    The story goes that after the first take and John Wayne as the Centurion utters his single line, 'Truly this man was the Son of Gahd ...' the director says, 'That was great but we're not quite there yet. Could we run it again and this time try to put some more awe into it.'
    The cameras roll and Wayne drawls, 'Awwww ... truly this man was the Son of Gahd ...'

    *A Welsh (more accurately, dialect) phrase one might utter when one's fingers squelch into something nasty in the flower bed.
  • Furtive GanderFurtive Gander Shipmate
    edited August 30
    KarlLB: "Awemen? Not Ahmen? They're not the same. "

    True, they are not the same.

    GG: "How do you pronounce 'awe-inspiring'? Ah-inspiring?"

    I think many do. And ah-ful for awful. And ah-some! for awesome! Similarly, lah, not law.

    (Southern Brit here)
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 30
    But how can it possibly rhyme with 'awe'?
    It just does. Words don't have to try hard at all to sound a certain way. They just do.
    How do you pronounce 'awe-inspiring'? Ah-inspiring?
    Since "awe" and "ah" rhyme, that would be a natural conclusion, yes.
    I don't get it. Is it a Western Seaboard and Canadian thing?
    "Western Seaboard" is an oxymoron. "West Coast" is what we call it.
    You'll be telling us that 'seen' rhymes with 'sin' next.
    I think it does in parts of the southeast.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    awe-men, with stress on the first syllable.
    ray, say, play, away, day, may all rhyme, amen does not. Eh? also rhymes.

    Awemen? Not Ahmen? They're not the same.

    They're not?

    NP - do "oar" and "are" sound the same in your accent?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 30
    NP - do "oar" and "are" sound the same in your accent?

    NP will of course speak for his dialect, but they do NOT sound the same in westcoastian. Oar rhymes with core/floor/more, whereas are rhymes with bar/star/bizarre.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited August 30
    mousethief wrote: »
    Oar rhymes with core/floor/more, whereas are rhymes with bar/star/bizarre.
    and also
    Ah and awe (which rhyme in my idiolect) are not.

    So which of those two groups do ah and awe rhyme with? In my accent, ah rhymes with are/bar/star/bizarre, and awe rhymes with core/floor/more. The vowel in "oar", "awe", and "or" is ɔ: whereas the vowel in "are", "ah", and "car" is ɑ:

    Which do you use?
  • Gracious RebelGracious Rebel Shipmate
    edited August 30
    Seen and sin can rhyme in a broad Suffolk accent (England). As a child on holiday in North Wales in a guest house with a family from Liverpool and another from deepest Suffolk, we had to act as translators. The Scouse child asked the Suffolk boy about something, and his response was supposed to be 'I've seen it' but in Suffolk it came out as 'Aaah sin it' (where 'it' was actually pronounced as a schwa followed by a glottal stop) and the poor lass from Liverpool had no idea what had been uttered until we intervened!
  • Sure, after I'd typed the thing about 'seen' and 'sin' I remembered that the two can sound the same in Yorkshire accents too.

    It wasn't a good choice for a comparison.

    Meanwhile, how the holy hell can 'awe' and 'ah' rhyme?

    They just don't. They can't, they don't and they shouldn't.

    Learning Cniht nails it:

    'So which of those two groups do ah and awe rhyme with? In my accent, ah rhymes with are/bar/star/bizarre, and awe rhymes with core/floor/more. The vowel in "oar", "awe", and "or" is ɔ: whereas the vowel in "are", "ah", and "car" is ɑ:'

    Perhaps the answer is that on the US North West Coast 'awe' rhymes with any word with an 'a' or an 'e' in it or a combination of 'oa' or 'ah' because they've only got one bloody vowel sound to play with.

    It's easy to make words rhyme when you've attenuated the language to the extent that most vowel sounds are flattened to a baleful and unmodulated drone.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    The 'y' in 'any' in English RP and most English dialects is a short 'y'. It is markedly shorter than the long vowel in 'see'. Both are single vowels.

    The 'y' in 'any' is nothing like the sound in 'sigh' which is a diphthong. In RP that is 'a+i'. All sorts of variants exist in other English dialects. Varieties of 'o+i" are particularly frequent, particularly in the Midlands.
  • Sure. But the point is that there are a multiplicity of vowel sounds and diphthongs. That's what adds colour and interest to the language.

    It's not reduced to a dull monotone where 'ah' can rhyme with 'awe' or 'air' or any other word that happens to have an 'a' or an 'e' in it.

    Call me old-fashioned ('You're old fashioned') but Great Vowel Shift or no Great Vowel Shift there are actually several vowel sounds available. Pick one. Pick another. Now here's a third ...

    I thought it was A E I O U - not A O U.

    There are five freakin' vowels, not two, not three. FIVE. More if you're Welsh and have the 'w' and 'y' sounds there.

    Ah-some my ah-ss.

    If 'awe' rhymes with 'ah' then I'm a Dutchman.

    Enough of this already.
  • Gamaliel, give me a freaking break. If you want to call out the whole West Coast on our vowels, take it to Hell already. It's getting really old here.
  • There used to be many regional pronunciations of Latin, across England and certainly Europe. The one I'm aware of is Westminster Latin, which still crops up in certain obscure ceremonies.

    However, I thought this thread was about English and American variations?
  • Perhaps the answer is that on the US North West Coast 'awe' rhymes with any word with an 'a' or an 'e' in it or a combination of 'oa' or 'ah' because they've only got one bloody vowel sound to play with.

    But that's not what mousethief has said.

    In my accent, oar and awe rhyme, and are and ah rhyme.
    In his accent, oar and are do not rhyme, but awe and ah do.

    So he doesn't have some kind of grand vowel merging (or he'd rhyme oar with are) - but he uses a different vowel sound from me for one of ah and awe.

    I'm assuming that it's either the vowel he uses for oar or the one he uses for are, but I don't know which one it is.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Oar rhymes with core/floor/more, whereas are rhymes with bar/star/bizarre.
    and also
    Ah and awe (which rhyme in my idiolect) are not.

    So which of those two groups do ah and awe rhyme with? In my accent, ah rhymes with are/bar/star/bizarre, and awe rhymes with core/floor/more. The vowel in "oar", "awe", and "or" is ɔ: whereas the vowel in "are", "ah", and "car" is ɑ:

    Which do you use?

    Awe and ah are /ɑː/

    Car is /kɑɹ/
    Meanwhile, how the holy hell can 'awe' and 'ah' rhyme?

    They just don't. They can't, they don't and they shouldn't.

    Hell thread.


  • mousethief wrote: »
    NP - do "oar" and "are" sound the same in your accent?

    NP will of course speak for his dialect, but they do NOT sound the same in westcoastian. Oar rhymes with core/floor/more, whereas are rhymes with bar/star/bizarre.

    This is interesting. Asked around the room just now. Oar and bar are very close to rhyming we agree. They would do in poetry quite well. Not perfectly rhyming, noticed when we discuss, though oar isn't a common word to use.

    One pronunciation that I don't hear consistently among locals here is re "coupon". For some Koo-pawn, others Kew-pawn (say kew like the name of the letter Q). Also Tuesday as 2's-day (too's day), T'ewes-day, almost chews-day.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Sure. But the point is that there are a multiplicity of vowel sounds and diphthongs. That's what adds colour and interest to the language.

    It's not reduced to a dull monotone where 'ah' can rhyme with 'awe' or 'air' or any other word that happens to have an 'a' or an 'e' in it.

    Call me old-fashioned ('You're old fashioned') but Great Vowel Shift or no Great Vowel Shift there are actually several vowel sounds available. Pick one. Pick another. Now here's a third ...

    I thought it was A E I O U - not A O U.

    There are five freakin' vowels, not two, not three. FIVE. More if you're Welsh and have the 'w' and 'y' sounds there.

    Ah-some my ah-ss.

    If 'awe' rhymes with 'ah' then I'm a Dutchman.

    Enough of this already.

    There are five vowels but each letter represents multiple phonetic values.

  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    ECraigR wrote: »
    There are five vowels but each letter represents multiple phonetic values.

    Not here on the west coast of the US. We have just the one vowel sound, so are forced to draw pictures and point at things a lot.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Or resort to gestures like squeezing hankies and that sort of thing.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »

    Awe and ah are /ɑː/

    Car is /kɑɹ/

    Right. Confusion possibly sorted.

    English English:- ah = 'ɑː'. awe ≠ 'ɑː'. awe = 'ɔ:'. They are not homophones.
    car ≠ 'kɑɹ'. car = 'kɑː' or in a rhotic part of the country, 'kɑ:ɹ'.

    @Gamma Gamaliel yes, there are five vowel letters in English + 'y' which is sometimes a vowel and sometimes not. However, they seem to be able to represent at least 12 single sounds even before one adds the diphthongs, many of which are represented by a single vowel. Anglophone spelling is not phonetic. Contrary to widespread belief, English is not unique in this. Letters, though, don't consistently represent sounds. What seems to cause some of the confusion is that because of dialect differences, the same letter may sound differently in different places. 'Bath' in RP is 'bɑ:th' but 'bæth' in northern England.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Clutching pearls, rolling eyes ...
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Oh dear. Things are worse than I imagined. A state of emergency should be declared and some special ops linguists parachuted in from the UK, where English is English. They can save the day!
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    [hoisting hostly lightsaber]
    This fracas about vowel sounds stops right now. Also, anything that even comes close to a pond war gets pounced on.

    There had been some prickliness previously, but Shipmates have been cool about moving on, so we did not take hostly action.

    There are a lot of interesting words to post about and most Shipmates have been sharing entertaining differences. Let's keep it that way.

    [/powering down lightsaber]
    jedijudy
    Heaven Host
  • mousethief wrote: »
    NP - do "oar" and "are" sound the same in your accent?

    NP will of course speak for his dialect, but they do NOT sound the same in westcoastian. Oar rhymes with core/floor/more, whereas are rhymes with bar/star/bizarre.

    This is interesting. Asked around the room just now. Oar and bar are very close to rhyming we agree. They would do in poetry quite well. Not perfectly rhyming, noticed when we discuss, though oar isn't a common word to use.

    One pronunciation that I don't hear consistently among locals here is re "coupon". For some Koo-pawn, others Kew-pawn (say kew like the name of the letter Q). Also Tuesday as 2's-day (too's day), T'ewes-day, almost chews-day.

    Coo-pn with schwa between p&n!
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited August 30
    @NOprophet_NØprofit -- Same here as regards coupon, Tuesday. Also new is sometimes pronounced nyoo and sometimes noo.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Awe and ah are /ɑː/

    So "shock and ah"? Interesting.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    @NOprophet_NØprofit -- Same here as regards coupon, Tuesday. Also new is sometimes pronounced nyoo and sometimes noo.

    As we have a crew with is for the long weekend, one smart one asked of anyone anywhere does poo as pyoo. Which led to discussion of the urinary or anal pronunciation of the planet Uranus. Which isn't intended to move this thread to a rude direction (rood).
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited August 30
    Oops posted something fun in reply to @Ruth, but just saw @jedijudy’s post.
  • I have always found it interesting when children have different accents then their parents, given that they are they ones who teach them to speak. My cousin was born and raised in Boston and has a Bostonian accent. Yet both of her parents born in the South Carolina have very strong southern accents.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    My children can code switch between a local accent and my wife and my ‘standard English’.
  • I speak working class Lutonian to my siblings and their families, and speak both working class and middle class accents here in Cambridge depending on who I am talking to. I discovered when I was a nurse that I unintentionally pick up accents when talking to patients, presumably an empathetic trait. Which probably also explains why I’ve retained my parents’ Lancastrian expressions.
  • Ee my.

    It's certianly impossible to visit family in Lancashire and speak using RP, in my experience.
  • Does anyone know, amongst people for whom the words buoy and buoyant do not start with the same syllable, when/how the pronunciations diverged?
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    That's an interesting one, @Leorning Cniht: the first time I heard a Canadian talk about a "boo-ey", I had to do a double-take to realise he meant a flotation device used at sea. :confused:

    I can't say I've noticed how people here say "buoyant", so I assume they pronounce it the same way I do, i.e. "boy-ant". I'd be interested to know why the difference.
  • I've heard boy, bwoy, and boo-ey. Also boy-ant and bwoy-ant, but not boo-ey-ant, although I have heard a local boo-ey/boy-ant speaker claim that he has heard that one.

    Like you, I figured out boo-ey from context after a few moments, but it took me quite a lot longer to realize that that was a normal local pronunciation, and not just someone who had seen the word written but never heard it.
  • Hmmm..."buoy" can be either "boy" or "BOO-ee". I think the second is the official pronunciation. However, Lifebuoy soap is "LIFE-boy".

    "Buoyant" is "BOY-ant".

    As to why: Is "BOO-ee" something akin to the French pronunciation? If so, given a certain amount of American cultural frustration in trying to figure out French words that people have neither heard or read before, it might simply be a matter of foreign word fatigue. "We'll stretch far enough to try *this* word..."

    (No insult to the French language or people intended.)
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The French word is bouée which is certainly akin to the common North American usage,
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited August 30
    I have always found it interesting when children have different accents then their parents, given that they are they ones who teach them to speak. My cousin was born and raised in Boston and has a Bostonian accent. Yet both of her parents born in the South Carolina have very strong southern accents.

    When my daughter was about two we moved to Columbus Mississippi. Her playmates there were from Cajun Louisianans. By the time we moved from Mississippi, daughter had a strange mix of Western drawl (me); Eastern clip (mom); Mississippi twang and Cajun.

    We moved back to the West by the time she was five. She lost the Mississippi and the Cajun. quickly--but I have to say she can imitate nearly any North American dialect flawlessly.
  • We went through a period where my son spoke English with a heavy Vietnamese accent and English with a heavy American accent.
  • Re: the Boo-ey/ Boy thing.

    We have our own variants on words and names that were originally French. For example, Beauchamp Place in London is pronounced so that it the same as the surname for the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.
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