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(BBC)   Americans are sounding more like Brits every day. Bloody hell   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 23
    More: Cool, Americans, Chandra Levy, bloody hell, American English, Merriam-Webster, London Evening Standard, University of Delaware, British English  
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14247 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Sep 2012 at 5:39 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-27 01:03:51 AM
3 votes:
Oddly enough, Americans have preserved in some isolated communities, a more "true" British dialect than the current wash of BBC English and urban dialects.

Even as English has changed here, influenced by waves of immigration, changed in the Caribbean, changed in Australia, English was doing the same thing in England as well. Modern dialects are NOT the same as they were, and English is a language that is wonderfully adaptive, in its ability to absorb linguistic elements from languages it's near. The ability to absorb loan words, to still maintain structures, and in some ways, the "backwoods" dialects of America, have preserved many older elements of English.

Mass communication has done some interesting things with transmission of linguistic elements. Cultures aren't preserving changes for as long, and there is an odd bit of homogenization between cultures, including between sub-cultures across nations. It's a neat time to be a linguist. Even with the spread of film and even radio, there was a rise for a sort of "standard" dialect. BBC Standard, American Standard, and others, as a sort of "official" dialect, and entirely artificial, as opposed to the regionals, and the rise of folks aping the dialects that they heard on radio and in films, it sort of slowed linguistic drift, but now that we have a wider range of dialects spread quickly with mass communication, and less than official channels where just about anyone can upload videos, music and more, we get to see a lot more diversity, and oddly enough, folks aping one another.

Like I said, neat time to be a linguist.
2012-09-27 11:39:27 AM
2 votes:

Valiente: hubiestubert: Valiente: When British linguists want to take a better guess at how the Great Vowel Shift played out, they go to little barrier islands off the Mid-Atlantic states, or climb into the Appalachian hills. Suddenly, recitations of Shakespeare rhyme better.

Shakespeare wot loike he wuz spoke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s

It's fascinating to hear and the case that "this is London English 400 years ago" is trechantly argued.

That was a great piece.

I had a feeling you'd enjoy it, and I didn't even have to write my post in IPA.

I had an English teacher in high school who was either the son of Danish immigrants to Canada or came here as a kid (maybe a WWII refugee thing). Because he spoke Danish, he had a leg up on Anglo-Saxon, and eventually mastered Middle English.

So we had recitations of Chaucer "as he was spake". Great stuff, if hard, at first, to follow. That naturally introduced Caxton's spelling innovations, the Great Vowel Shift and the concept of wandering rhotacisms and how the American accent of the northern Atlantic states is still similar to parts of East Anglia today. My favourite Fuddite is Lucy Worsley, a jolly hockey sticks sort of historian on the BBC with the least flattering haircut on Earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Worsley

I was lucky to go to high school when there were still teachers unafraid to bring university-level subject matter to the classroom, and there was still enough money in the system to allow such intellectual roaming.


I was lucky enough to have two great professors at UMF. Karl Franson was a brilliant Shakespeare scholar, and while he was perhaps the most buttoned down Ivy League educated, prep school accented wee man clad in Kelly Green possible, he loved the language, not just of Shakespeare, but Bunyon as well. He taught these works as living pieces, still. Clad perhaps in armor of a language that had shifted beneath them, but reaching out from that past into today, with power and majesty. A tiny wee man, barely 5'4" and spritely in his Boston Brahmin accented ways, he instilled a love of that language. Jay Hoar, who is sadly no longer with us, was the only member of the UMF faculty to have a building named for him while he was still alive. He had an amazing career as a linguist. Jay could place folks within 50 miles of where they were born, or at least lived during their childhood. An amazing ear for accent and dialect, he made it a regular exercise to speak to folks and infer where they'd come from within minutes, by their choice of words, their accent, and he was startlingly precise. He also loved English as a living language, in all its eccentricity and oddness. His "Ain't is a Beautiful Word" was a lesson he did every year, and it was one of those classes that you'd ask to sit in on, again and again, because it was an eloquent and bold and unabashedly fond look at how English is used. Not enshrined and venerable, but working, breathing, always in motion. Use creates accents and dialects. They form, and those bonds help form communities, identities, bridges gulfs between people. What occurs when cultures meet, and how those traditions are preserved, that is the story of English as a language. America, for its vast melting pot, created very much Americanisms, that spread across the globe, and many more were preserved and still used today in pockets, a testament to the inventiveness and flexibility and sheer exuberance with the tongue. These two men helped form a love of the language, in all its boisterous and sometimes reckless abandon. For both, the language's joy wasn't in keeping it pristine and ensconced in some dry bin, but in its use. Its growth. Knowing how Old English became Middle English to Modern English was a journey, not just of words and accent, but of the sweep of history, how a people grew and changed, and their language did the same thing. The literature is a snapshot not just of the language of the time, but of its people and their journeys.
2012-09-27 06:08:31 AM
2 votes:
I was in a thread the other day and was one of about half a dozen people recommending QI. Of course, I'm a Kiwi and we're a bit more culturally inclined towards British stuff, but we got a few converts. Enjoying the work of Stephen Fry is one of my personal litmus tests for whether I will probably like someone.
2012-09-27 12:22:06 AM
2 votes:
See what happens when people start watching British dramas?
2012-09-28 12:32:36 PM
1 votes:

The Envoy:
I'm sure you can explain how its being dark precludes it from being funny.


It doesn't. However, it depends upon what the show is centered.

The UK Office is a drama with comedic moments. You could take the comedic moments out of the show, and it would still work. It may not be as good, but it would stand alone as an excellent mockumentary on the depressing futility of human existence.

The US Office is a comedy with dramatic moments. It is the exact opposite of the UK version. You could take the dramatic moments out of the show and it would still work as a comedy, albeit a bit slapsticky.

For whatever reason, the media has an obsession of labeling any show that cracks a single joke as a comedy. That doesn't make it correct.
2012-09-27 01:49:53 PM
1 votes:
"Now Rory knows that claret is imminent , but doesn't want to miss any of his game. So, calm as a coma, he picks up the fire extinguisher, walks right past the jam rolls who are ready for action, and plonks it outside the front door. He then goes back and orders an Aristotle of the most ping pong tiddly in the nuclear sub, and switches back to his footer. "That's farking it!" says the geezer. "That's farking what?" says Rory. He then gobs out a mouthful of booze, covering fatty. He then flicks a flaming match into his bird's nest, and the bastard's lit up like a leaking gas pipe. Unfazed, Rory turns back to his game. His team's won too. Four-nil."
2012-09-27 12:42:04 PM
1 votes:

trappedspirit: hubiestubert: I was lucky enough to have two great professors at UMF.

Why did they not teach you how to break a wall of text up into paragraphs?


I guess they inculcated a love of not breaking up a paragraph into nonsensical breaks, as opposed to a goldfish length attention span...
2012-09-27 12:40:22 PM
1 votes:

hubiestubert: Jay could place folks within 50 miles of where they were born, or at least lived during their childhood. An amazing ear for accent and dialect, he made it a regular exercise to speak to folks and infer where they'd come from within minutes, by their choice of words, their accent, and he was startlingly precise.


Thanks to having some training in linguistics, and having a Welsh father who travelled a great deal and was able to mimic regional accents, I have this skill to some degree. My particular variation is not only to figure out where you were born, but how long you've been "away" by the example of how much drift was audible in the accent.

I guessed recently that a 70 year old doctor who otherwise sounded very RP (BBC English, or "educated Londoner", more or less for the non-linguists), and who had spent 25 years as a doctor in Africa, was originally from Devon and had spent approximately 35 years or half his life based in Toronto.

The astonished answer was "Devon" and "36 years".

The hardest one ever was guessing that a fellow who had moved to South Africa in his late teens until 30, and then Canada, was actually from Tasmania, mainly because I've encountered perhaps five Tasmanians in my life. He sounded like a cat being sick on Steve Irwin. Yis.

It's a party trick, but a good one that earns me free pints. I credit being raised on Britcoms and nature documentaries for my good ear, although I can pull off separating a Chilean from an Argentinian if both are speaking English, can distinguish the six or so major Irish accents, and nailing most American regional dialects is pretty easy, unless it's something really out there like Gullah. I can't vocally replicate all the dialects myself, however: the dialect words trip me up, or "oop", or "ehp".
2012-09-27 10:32:34 AM
1 votes:
The two that annoy me the most are pluralizing "math" and using words like "hospital" by themselves. It makes me want to bomb them.

It is not "hospital", it is "THE hospital". Do they also go to Store as well?
2012-09-27 10:15:19 AM
1 votes:

xcv: Ambivalence: FirstNationalBastard: MaudlinMutantMollusk: FirstNationalBastard: See what happens when people start watching British dramas?

I blame Monty Python

Does British comedy transfer to the states as well as the drama does?

Sure, there's stuff like Python that's pretty much universal, but do other British comedies make it across as well? I mean, even The Office had to be Americanized.

/then dragged out for about 6 years too long, as is the American way.

It depends. Geeks like british comedy. Just look at IT Crowd, Doctor Who (it's funny), spacers.

Why haven't we gotten a remake of Doctor Who yet? Could connect to a whole new audience with Shia LaBeouf as the Doctor, Rihanna as a spunky, sorta-goth chick as his new companion and the wise-cracking TARDIS embodied by a holographic Dane Cook. Bonus cameo by Jack Black as every single Dalek.


You should be beaten with an oar for just coming up with that.
2012-09-27 08:38:36 AM
1 votes:

fredbox: Any bird fancy a shag?

I'm also noticing American media omitting the definite article more often, such as "Fredbox is in hospital after asking if any bird fancies a shag"


Also, you write to someone and you may do this on a specified day.
Repeat after me : "I wrote to Ted on Monday", not "I wrote Ted Monday".

/math(ematic)s is plural, you flids.
2012-09-27 08:07:22 AM
1 votes:

TV's Vinnie: I can't read this article without hearing it in this guy's voice.

[images4.wikia.nocookie.net image 427x464]
Now, neither can you.


I can. I have no idea what that guy's voice sounds like.
2012-09-27 06:48:19 AM
1 votes:

xcv: Why haven't we gotten a remake of Doctor Who yet? Could connect to a whole new audience with Shia LaBeouf as the Doctor, Rihanna as a spunky, sorta-goth chick as his new companion and the wise-cracking TARDIS embodied by a holographic Dane Cook. Bonus cameo by Jack Black as every single Dalek.


I want to hit you.
2012-09-27 06:34:26 AM
1 votes:

hubiestubert: Oddly enough, Americans have preserved in some isolated communities, a more "true" British dialect than the current wash of BBC English and urban dialects.

Even as English has changed here, influenced by waves of immigration, changed in the Caribbean, changed in Australia, English was doing the same thing in England as well. Modern dialects are NOT the same as they were, and English is a language that is wonderfully adaptive, in its ability to absorb linguistic elements from languages it's near. The ability to absorb loan words, to still maintain structures, and in some ways, the "backwoods" dialects of America, have preserved many older elements of English.

Mass communication has done some interesting things with transmission of linguistic elements. Cultures aren't preserving changes for as long, and there is an odd bit of homogenization between cultures, including between sub-cultures across nations. It's a neat time to be a linguist. Even with the spread of film and even radio, there was a rise for a sort of "standard" dialect. BBC Standard, American Standard, and others, as a sort of "official" dialect, and entirely artificial, as opposed to the regionals, and the rise of folks aping the dialects that they heard on radio and in films, it sort of slowed linguistic drift, but now that we have a wider range of dialects spread quickly with mass communication, and less than official channels where just about anyone can upload videos, music and more, we get to see a lot more diversity, and oddly enough, folks aping one another.

Like I said, neat time to be a linguist.


You said aping twice, you cunning linguist you.
2012-09-27 05:58:43 AM
1 votes:

SquiggsIN: The average American doesn't have all that good of a grasp on the English language anyway.


Irony?
2012-09-27 02:23:33 AM
1 votes:
I never thought of "will do" as a British phrase.
2012-09-27 01:41:19 AM
1 votes:

Ambivalence: FirstNationalBastard: MaudlinMutantMollusk: FirstNationalBastard: See what happens when people start watching British dramas?

I blame Monty Python

Does British comedy transfer to the states as well as the drama does?

Sure, there's stuff like Python that's pretty much universal, but do other British comedies make it across as well? I mean, even The Office had to be Americanized.

/then dragged out for about 6 years too long, as is the American way.

It depends. Geeks like british comedy. Just look at IT Crowd, Doctor Who (it's funny), spacers.


You misspelled "Spaced".
2012-09-27 01:29:27 AM
1 votes:
I blame Madonna.
2012-09-27 01:05:00 AM
1 votes:

FirstNationalBastard: MaudlinMutantMollusk: FirstNationalBastard: See what happens when people start watching British dramas?

I blame Monty Python

Does British comedy transfer to the states as well as the drama does?

Sure, there's stuff like Python that's pretty much universal, but do other British comedies make it across as well? I mean, even The Office had to be Americanized.

/then dragged out for about 6 years too long, as is the American way.

Are You Being Served?

and Keeping Up Appearances were both pretty popular

/personally I was a big fan of Waiting For God, too
2012-09-27 01:00:55 AM
1 votes:
i253.photobucket.comBrits need to put olives on the tips of their fingers it feels good AND IT'S THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF FUN!
2012-09-27 12:42:44 AM
1 votes:

Ambivalence: I have to admit. They have better swear words. Half the time you call someone a twat and they don't know to be offended by it. LOL!


Also, "buggery" is a much more fun and friendly sounding word than sodomy.

Sodomy sounds scary and painful. Buggery sounds like something fun you do with your buds after a night of drinking
2012-09-27 12:35:18 AM
1 votes:
I have to admit. They have better swear words. Half the time you call someone a twat and they don't know to be offended by it. LOL!
2012-09-27 12:13:59 AM
1 votes:
Just a bunch of wankers trying to sound cool.
 
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