Aussie/American English

Apr 6th, 2005, 10:34 PM
  #21  
 
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I agree with LizF that poor English is more laziness than anything, and I'm referring to ALL English speaking countries (although there's something endearing about footy, breaky, and Chrissy, especially when said with a lovely Aussie accent!)

I also get annoyed when someone says pitcher, instead of picture, or libarry instead of library - especially those who supposedly know better (newscasters for instance).

It drives me batty when someone says "acrossed" instead of "across" or when one of my fellow Yanks sputters something like "them boys" or "I shoulda ran", or uses the word "ain't", which contrary to popular belief, IS in most American dictionaries (sad but true).

Don't even get me started on Ebonics.

As my California friends used to say, "gag me with a spoon".
Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 10:37 PM
  #22  
 
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Guykb -

I see your point. Looks like they left out the Kiwis and Canadians as well.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 12:02 AM
  #23  
 
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I must say though that I found the Southern "y'all" endearing, especially when addressed to just me ... e.g. by a kid in Charleston who was flummoxed by my accent and asked "Whay'all fum? Y'all sound lahk a Yankee - y'all fum Up No'th?" But even nicely spoken old ladies of the old school used it, I noticed.

Speaking of laziness, there's an English TV series entitled "Dalziel and Pascoe" in which everyone pronounces "Dalziel" as "deal". Come on - if that isn't sloppiness I don't know what is. Likewise the absurd name Featherstonehaugh, which usually comes out as "Fanshaw" (and who could blame them?). The English are by no means innocent.

How many other languages lay so many traps for the unwary? Once you've mastered Italian or Spanish pronunciation, which doesn't take long, 98% of the time you only have to look at a word's spelling to know how it's pronounced, with no doubt. Conversely, if you hear it pronounced clearly you should know how it's spelled.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 03:08 AM
  #24  
 
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Careful Neil - I hear a few Scots bristling already - Dalziel pronunciation is scottish - they are very funny with their zeds - like Mingus for Menzies. There's also a town over there spelt Milngavie (or something like that) and pronounced 'mulgai' Over here - tell someone from Bathurst that they live in Bath-hurst and they will quickly tell you that they actually live in Bathist.

Even in Australia we have regional accents. For example when we moved to Victoria from Sydney we had to get used to people talking about castles instead of carstles like we say in NSW. Also, we say Cicardas but down here it's cicaydas. There's also a suburn of Melbourne that they insist on calling Resevor instead of Reservoir.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 03:58 AM
  #25  
 
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Ya'll have made my otherwise miserable day quite entertaining. Thanks (cheers, ta) for making me smile.

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Apr 7th, 2005, 07:16 AM
  #26  
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This may be a Queensland thing but many of the people we met there greeted us with "Gudday, ow ya's goin?" We didn't hear the plural "ya's" or "yous" anywhere else in Australia. In NSW, the "r" seemed to be more prevalent (as in "tor-let")

The American South has a language of it's own but there are subdialects within it. Neil was spot on with his description of a greeting in South Carolina but in Texas, it's completely different. Two Texans greeting each other, spoken very slowly...

"Howw yew?" (long pause)
"Eye's fine, (pause) howw yew?" (even longer pause)
"Well...ahs fine too!"

Talk about lazy language!

Something that drives me crazy (here in Florida) is when someone says, "I wanna axe you a quession." Huh?? My wife works for a large telecom, dealing with other large companies and there are women in her same position that speak to their customers this way!

"Zed" threw me for a loop when I first heard it. We were looking for a place in Sydney near the ANZ building and I was looking for a sign that said "A & Zed." That was pretty embarrassing!

JohnInMiami is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 07:38 AM
  #27  
 
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Well, I have to admit when my Wife and I were in Queensland last winter we were quite buffaloed by some of the phrases we heard. what's that mean?

BeanMan
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Apr 7th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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My boyfriend's father asked me to bring him a special pair of thongs. It always takes me a second to realize he means "flip flops" and not women's skimpy underwear!!
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Apr 7th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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I don't know mina - I think he might have been quite impressed if you'd brought him a g-string.
guykb is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 04:00 PM
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I would have been quite impressed if he was impressed.

He would like to try these special thongs because apparently, the rubber thongs he wears chafe.

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Apr 7th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Melnq8, your mention of Aussies saying something like the "team were" vs "team was" is interesting to me. I didn't know that, but I DID notice that my boyfriend does that. I just thought it was a strange lapse in grammar.

It's come up again, because right now at work, I am going over an educational manual written by an Australian. Our company is global, so we have all kinds of English speaking folks write our stuff. I keeping noticing that he writes "[company] have provided" instead of "has provided". It's kind of confusing to me, but amusing too since I started reading this thread.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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John, I should have mentioned that my young friend in Charleston seemed to have taken a handful of uppers, which might have made his speech more rapid than otherwise. I guess that was all that was left to him, as his girlfriend seemed to have swallowed all the downers. I met him at the bus depot - we were only going as far as Savannah, and the bad news for you is that they stayed on the bus, heading for (guess where).

I don't know if this matches your Texas example, but I can't help recycyling an example of how North Queenslanders use "ay" (from "Mango Country" by John van Tiggelen):
'Ay mate.'
'Ay.'
'Sod ay.'
'Ay?'
'Said soddiday ay.' [I said 'it's hot today, isn't it?']
'Reckon. Binodder but ay.'
'Yeah, See ya later ay.'
'Ay mate.'

"Youse" used to be pretty common, possibly imported from Ireland. Something else you mightn't hear elsewhere is the letter "h" being pronounced as "haitch". Many people believe this is a sure-fire indication of a Catholic school education, the theory being that the nuns and brothers, some of them not too well educated themselves, had the job of schooling a lot of poor Irish Catholic kids who routinely dropped their aitches. To correct this they were forced to emphatically aspirate their "h" words, the alternative being regular assault by a variety of blunt instruments, and even "aitch" itself didn't escape.

crazymina, it's not all of us - I say "the company was".
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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guykb, I'll watch for flying haggises. I agree that there are some regional variations, although a visitor would have trouble picking up most of them. South Australians of course say "dahnce" and "brahnch", and also tend to pronounce "school" to rhyme with "pull". Not sure about this, but I think I've also noticed a tendency for Victorians (and maybe Western Australians?) to say something like "hee-ah" for "hear".
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Apr 14th, 2005, 06:49 AM
  #34  
 
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I'm probably too late- this thread seems to be lagging but-
The question of "The team (company) was or were... It depends on whether you wish to emphasise solidarity (The team was) or the fact that we are talking about a collection of individuals (The team were). It's a subtle difference which can be very important to a committee.
The Americanism that I can't get used to is that they say "fit" instead of "fitted."
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Apr 14th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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sange41 - no proof to hand, but I wouldn't be surprised if some "Americanisms" like "fit" vs. "fitted" (and "dove" vs. "dived", and "spit" vs. "spat") might be hangovers from earlier English usage.

Melnq8, re "ain't" - I recently watched a TV production of "Tom Brown's Schooldays", and noticed the decidedly upper-class inmates of Rugby School in the 19th century freely using it.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Neil -

Interesting about "ain't". I was raised thinking that only uneducated country bumpkins used the word, although as an adult I know that "ain't" always the case.

I recently finished re-reading the Grapes of Wrath, which sort of reinforced the country bumpkin theory for me.

Sange41 -

We Americans find the British and Aussie usage of the word fitted about as strange as you find our usage of the word fit.

A British friend of mine always says "shoal of fish", which IS in the American dictionary, but I've never heard an American say anything other than "school of fish".

I also find the Brit pronouncation of words like aluminum (al-loo-men-e-um), oregano (or-a-ganno) and renaissance (ray-nay-sance)amusing.

Then there's things like "my friend is in hospital" - where we would say "my friend is in the hospital" and "the menopause" - where would we would just say "menopause".

Well, it's been fun, but I'm off to NZ for three weeks to further hone my English.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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OK so here are some for you Americans to justify and also those Australians who also have started to change the language.
PEDOPHILE (PAEDOPHILE) - if you use the origin of the word and break it down into how it was formed then the original paedophile would make sense in that paed ( meaning child ) and phile ( meaning lover of) meant that a paedophile was a lover of children. Using the now 'in use' spelling of Pedophile with ( ped meaning foot ) and Phile meaning 'lover of' then are we to assume that a Pedophile is a lover of feet?
Same goes for the oft used word of Homophobic - Homo means Man and phobic is 'fear of' ergo being homophobic must refer to someone who is in fear of man or men.
It is one thing to simplify a language or its spelling to be more phonetic ( meaning sounds ) but when it changes the entire meaning of a word then I cannot see why it is done because if you are not going to abide by the rules of our language then you should start changing the spelling of say Phoenix to Feenix because Phoenix has its roots in old Greek/latin/French.
If the above is the case then the whole of biology, science and chemistry would have to change and then instead of understanding a word because of its roots we can get in a bigger pickle than we are already with the language.
I wonder if the changes of late are to do with the fact that Latin and Greek roots don't seem to be taught anymore.
lizF is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 08:58 PM
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I take a more relaxed view than Liz. English is a flexible and constantly changing language. We can't read Chaucer as easily as modern Italians can read Dante, and we can't read Old English at all.

The Americans haven't done anything more to the language than the British have been doing to it for centuries - rather less, in fact. As recently as the 1940s an English newspaper was pouring scorn on Americans for using the neologism "seafood", for heavens' sake.

Spelling conventions are no more than that, although I agree that wholesale spelling reform would tend to obscure the origins of many words. Worrying about "pedophile", though, is too pedantic for me. In fact I'm seriously thinking about adopting the American spelling "maneuver" because the French spelling is a pain. That might sound like heresy to Anglophiles, but the English have done their fair share of Angicising French words, haven't they.

Americans have hung onto spellings (such as the -ize ending) which the English have changed, so I expect Liz to give the Poms a serve too.

Australians have shared some terms with Americans for a long term - like kerosene rather than paraffin, and the way we apply the word "creek", which doesn't denote quite the same thing in England.

There never has been a time when English reached some mythical state of perfection, never to be altered. Arguably the golden age of the language was Elizabethan times, but that was the very time when spelling and grammar were in a state of flux and a virtual "anything goes" approach ruled.

The important point (IMHO) is that since then, British and American English have separately developed in somewhat (but not greatly) different directions. The language Australians inherited from the British about 200 years later was NOT the same language that the early American colonists inherited. So - "our" language? Whose would that be?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 12:22 AM
  #39  
 
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Just because you are an Irish, or is it a Scotish heretic Neil does not give you the right to alter the meaning of words.
Having spent two years in North America I now am never sure of any spelling so using an ize or ise is in fact acceptable according to the boffins within the dictionary world and is, ok, according to me because there never was a "rule" when it came to those suffixes.
I most certainly agree that the English language is a changing one and one only has to listen to BBC World, for the short time that you can stand it, to know that according to the Poms a book is a booo-ook together with some other bastardations of the language. No, my main whinge is the changing of the meaning of words by altering the spelling. I went off with one young relative one weekend with a list of Greek and Latin roots and he was amazed just how many words he could understand when he knew the roots of them. In fact, or at least going further than that, the idea of using Latin and Greek roots when adopting words used in Biology, Science and Chemistry was that it was an International language and because at the time everyone knew the roots of these words they would immediately know what family a particular plant came from or what sort of germ something was but its spelling. So we are in fact moving away from an International language and understanding to a more complicated one built on mere whim to change the spelling of a word.
Who faid that I could not underfand Chaucerian English?
lizF is offline  
Apr 15th, 2005, 04:22 AM
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melnq8

just a quick note - we don't pronounce aluminum as al-loo-men-e-um, we pronounce aluminium as al-loo-men-e-um. Note the extra i in the spelling! Just as well you're off to en zud for a few weeks - they'll fix up your spelling AND your pronunciation.

Another thing - what's with "water faucet" - it's a tap for goodness sakes.
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