Americanisms

This is the place to post questions and discussions on usage and style. The members of the Wordwizard Clubhouse will also often be able to help you to formulate that difficult letter.

Americanisms

Post by Colin Harry Jackson » Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:02 pm

Can anybody tell me why Americans pronounce IRAQ , Eye rack,

as they dont refer to Italy as Eye-taly
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:30 pm

For the same reaason they pronounce "imaginary" as "EYE mag inary" or "recognize" as "re COG nize"

They say "IT lee"
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by Shelley » Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:48 pm

But they DO say "eye-talian".
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:03 pm

Shel: Good one
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by Colin Harry Jackson » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:13 pm

Yes, and another one is missil instead of missile
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by kagriffy » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:16 pm

Dale, I don't know about you, but I've never pronounced "imaginary" with a long "I" sound, nor have I ever accented the second syllable of "recognize."

Colin, I've heard "Iraq" pronounced as "eye-RACK," "ee-RACK," "eye-ROCK," and "ee-ROCK." There doesn't seem to be any consistency, even by news anchors, who may pronounce it any or all of those ways from time to time. (By the way, my dictionary gives four pronunciations: "i-ROCK," "i-RACK," [both with the short "i" sound] "ee-ROCK," and "ee-RACK.") I just call it "that country with a 'Q' on the end"! *G*
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature:
K. Allen Griffy
Springfield, Illinois (USA)

Americanisms

Post by Colin Harry Jackson » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:23 pm

kagriffy : Over here on this side of the pond it is always referred to Iraq, with a short i, as is Iran, Italy, immobile, injured, and dare I say it, indian, I have never heard an American refer to a Native American as an Eye-ndian
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by dalehileman » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:30 pm

Kag: It's that you don't consort with the hoi polloi, as do I
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by Colin Harry Jackson » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:33 pm

kag: LOL, I am off to AZ in March, so I will look out for the Hoi Polloi, which reservation are they on
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by russcable » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:36 pm

We'll be glad to explain Iraq/I-rack, as soon as you explain Taliafierro/Tolliver, Chalmondesleigh/Chumley, and Worchester/Wooster. ^_^ ;-)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by kagriffy » Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:17 pm

Touche, Russ! I really don't think the British can criticize our pronunciations TOO much when they have the examples you cited. *G* (On a related note, if I happen to ask for Worcestershire Sauce, which I pronounce "wooster-shur," at a restaurant, I get very strange looks from the wait staff. Most people in the Midwest call it "war-chest-er-shy'r" or "war-chest-er-sheer"!) On second thought, let's not get into a discussion of who pronounces the most words incorrectly. I'm afraid my fellow Midwesterners would lose horribly. (I, of course, ALWAYS use only the most properly correct pronunciations for all words; I don't even HAVE a Midwestern accent! And if you believe that, I've got some lovely oceanfront property located right here in Springfield, IL!)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature:
K. Allen Griffy
Springfield, Illinois (USA)

Americanisms

Post by Colin Harry Jackson » Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:41 am

Cholmondeley
(origin: Norman. Local) The place at the gorge or neck of the mountain; from Col, a strait or defile, and mond or mont, a hill. This name is pronounced Chumley. An English gentleman meeting the Earl of Cholmondeley one day coming out of his own house, and not being acquainted with him, asked him if Lord Chol-mond-e-ley (pronouncing each syllable distinctly) was at home. "No," replied the peer, without hesitation, "nor any of his pe-o-ple."
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by elbucho » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:28 pm

The reason Americans pronounce things so inconsistently: To make it easier to reCOGnize all you foreigners =p

But seriously, the USA is a large country with many dialects of the english language. In Boston you might hear "ee-rok", whil in Alamaba you will mostl likely hear "eye-rok".

Why is it accepted that there are over 30 different dialects of chinese, but throw in 3 or 4 different dialects of english and people get bent out of shape?
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Americanisms

Post by Phil White » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:12 pm


Originally posted by elbuchoWhy is it accepted that there are over 30 different dialects of chinese, but throw in 3 or 4 different dialects of english and people get bent out of shape?
Care is required with the term "dialect" when referring to Chinese. Historically, the different Sinitic languages have unfortunately been referred to as "dialects". Most of these "dialects" are as mutually incomprehensible as the languages of the Indo-European family (French and German, say). The term is thoroughly misleading in the context of Sinitic languages, but has a long tradition. The tradition came about primarily because all the eight major Sinitic languages share a common writing system, which made written records mutually intelligible. By all linguistic definitions, these "varieties" must be termed languages. Within these languages, there are thousands, possibly even tens of thousands of genuine dialects spoken, some of which are barely intelligible to speakers of other dialects of the same languages.

The situations in the USA, the UK and Australia with respect to dialects are very different. Australia has the greatest homogeneity, with dialect differences between different parts of the country being relatively limited. In the States, most people accept the divisions identified by William Labov, namely four geographically massive dialect groups (South, West, Midland and North Central) and six further groups on the East Coast (plus what is termed General Canadian). That's not to say that the language in, say, Texas and Alabama is homogeneous, but that they both belong to the same dialect group. In terms of dialect diversity per capita or per square mile, the UK heads the pack, and recent research indicates that while some distinct dialects are losing ground and disappearing, those that remain are becoming even more distinctive. One dramatic example of such a change is that on Merseyside the consonants /p, t, k/ are increasingly becoming fricatives, so that lock is now pronounced in a very similar way to that in which a Scot would pronounce loch (listen to an interview with Stephen Gerrard if you don't believe me).

The reasons for these differeing patterns of dialect distribution are closely related to settlement and migration. Mobility tends to level out differences in dialect, and stable settlement patterns tend to encourage dialect differences. Clearly, virtually all regions of the UK have had cores of stable populations for anything up to a thousand years and more, whereas English-speaking inhabitants only settled in the West of the United States in any great numbers a couple of centuries ago. This also explains why the dialect diversity on the East Coast of the US is greater than on the West Coast. (Labov's "West" dialect group covers around a third of the area of the USA, with the six Eastern groups covering a relatively small area on the north-eastern seaboard and extending in towards the Great Lakes).

All of that, of course, is vastly oversimplified and generalized, but it will do.

The issue of what to call US English, Australian English, British English, Scottish English etc. (dialect? variety? dialect group? ...) is also problematic. The difficulty lies in the fact that there are pretty well standardized versions of each variety (complete with dictionaries and grammars), and this is not common for a dialect. But they are clearly not distinct languages (excepting of course parts of New York, Liverpool and Glasgow ...). Most linguists opt for "variety", and it's the one I generally use, but in some ways something like macro-dialect seems to my mind more appropriate.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Americanisms

Post by Andrew Dalby » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:24 pm

Phil White wrote: <blockquote id="quote" class="ffs">quote:<hr height="1" noshade="noshade" id="quote" />The issue of what to call US English, Australian English, British English, Scottish English etc. (dialect? variety? dialect group? ...) is also problematic. The difficulty lies in the fact that there are pretty well standardized versions of each variety (complete with dictionaries and grammars), and this is not common for a dialect. But they are clearly not distinct languages (excepting of course parts of New York, Liverpool and Glasgow ...). Most linguists opt for "variety", and it's the one I generally use, but in some ways something like macro-dialect seems to my mind more appropriate.
But there is a move now to recognise Scots as a language. Rather like Occitan/Provençal, it had a separate literature in medieval times but ceased to be used as a standard language after the centre of power moved away (to London and Paris respectively). Whether it could really regain its separate language status, in the world of World English, is another question ...
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Post Reply