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British English: Why Left-Tennant?

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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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British English: Why Left-Tennant?

I could Wikipedia this but it's so much more fun to get takes from FodorBrits -

Isn't Lieutennant spelled exactly like that but prounced Left-Tennant?

I can speculate on the derivation of Left-Tennant - an aide standing on the left

But Lieu in French means place, not left

Why do Brits pronouce the word Lieutennant Left-tennant?

makes no sense - seems they should spell it Lefttennant but in books it's always lieutennant?

Baffled in Tunsbridge
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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That would be lieutenant
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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There is no such thing as 'British' English.

It's just 'English'.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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And I think the answer is taht it's Old French.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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OK Americans speaking English say Lieutennant like it was written

Canadians and Brits when speaking English say left tennant and i can't figure out why as they indeed spell it lieutennant???
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Sheila - we were posting at same time so i didn't see you answer before i responded to RM.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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I don't think it has anything to do with the word "left".
I imagine it's just a corruption of the old French pronunciation (like Beauchamp or Saint Jean or so many others...)
I believe that in the US in the 19th Century there was a strong trend (thanks to Mr Webster) to regularise spellings and pronunciations, which might well explain the slightly more regular US pronunciation.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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We don't have to explain why English is spoken the way it is: the burden of explanation lies with speakers of odd foreign dialects

Why, for example, on the wrong side of the Atlantic do they pronounce lieutenant (= "place holder") as if it were spelt "lootenant"?

And why can't they spell it right?
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Sep 18th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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And why can't they spell it right?

cause i didn't go to Public School?
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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An American is staying at a hotel in London and goes to the front desk to ask where the elevator is.

The man at the desk says, ``Sir, the lift is directly on your left.''

This annoys the American, who repeats his question about the elevator.

The Londoner says, ``As I mentioned, Sir, the lift is right over there, on your left.''

The Amercian says, ``Look Buddy, Americans invented the elevator, and I know what its called.''

The Brit says, ``Yes sir, but we invented the language.''

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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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If there is one thing that sends me mad is to have an American correct my pronounciation.

I was once reliably informed that Italian was pronounced Eye-talian, and master pronounced "Meeaahsturrr" or some such nonesense.

Fume!!!
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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ih-talian is the way educated Americans pronounce it

Anglos may have invented the language and English colonization spread it

but it's only America's importance in the world that makes it now the world's language - Brits went along for the ride

If U.S. had been Spanish speaking or French, English would be like Dutch - spoken only in England and perhaps not even Ecosse or Eire
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Get out of bed on the wrong side today, Bob?
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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I think you are right about Brit English being in its position due to history but I don't think that is purely a US driven effect but merely the logic of the two key super powers in a row (British Empire and USA) speaking vitually the same language.

I think this actual pronunciation is covered by the US author who wrote about walking along the Appelation way (now I just know I spelt that wrong and I pronounce it the French way) anyway check out Bill Bryson "Made in America"
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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"but it's only America's importance in the world that makes it now the world's language - Brits went along for the ride"

Tosh and piffle.

The USA didn't stick it's nose outside its borders until 1941, and you are going to take credit for Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria, South Africa etc etc etc?

The Lowland Scots have always spoken a dialect of English.

Ireland speaks English because of the Americans? LMAO!

America came onto the scene YESTERDAY
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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you're trying to say "thanks to america" for english? what?
I've never seen so many mis-spelt signs as in the states.

Besides that, it's quite bad that a lot of beautiful languages are dying out or being pushed to the side, or under-prioritised as the world scrabbles to compete in the English-speaking world of commerce.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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RM67 - David Crystal may disagree with you.

For everyone else only the Americans use orthography as a guide to pronunciation of this word. And as usual they do this because of Webster.

Bloody Noah Webster - no respect for the origins of words, no thought for Latin or Greek just change a whole language's spelling for the sake of politics.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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waring, sadly, has fallen lock stock and barrel for American nationalistic propaganda.

The United Stares has been sticking its nose where it's got no bloody business practically since the day the slave owners decided to make their part of North America safe for keeping slaves and wiping out Indians.

From the next hundred years of (successful) unprovoked aggression on North America's indigenous population, to the (catastrophically unsuccessful) unprovoked aggression on Britain in 1812, there was
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Well i think i either wrote in a tone taken too seriously when it should have been sarcastic

in reality the great cultural influence of Great Britain and the United States and Canada and Aussies and Aucklanders - all prosperous wealthy states - the cohesion of all makes English the international language it is today.

fueled now by American culture - films, TV, etc and music - and not forget English rock-and-roll

I've always consider U.K. and North America one cultural block and the most important such one in the world

Anyway thank God English has become the world's defact language of communication, even in all its variances - the printed word, with a few minor exceptions like liuetenant, being the same everywhere.
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Sep 18th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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a succession of uninvited visits. Sometimes, like the Soviets, masquerading as bailing out neighbours. But most often, simply beinmg honest.

The Halls of Tripoli (early 1800s). Cuba. Mexico. The Philippines. America's rarely been backwatd at coming forward.
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