Submitted by Hairy Scot on January 1, 2013

Preferred forms

What would be the preferred form of each of these:- 

a) “in hopes of” or “in the hope of” 

b) “a change in plans” or “a change of plan”

c) “apprise” or “inform” 

d) “envision” or “envisage”

I favour the second of each of the above, but no doubt there will be different opinions.

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Anwulf -
In fact I said that Americans retain the old-fashioned pronunciation of 'solder' as 'soda'.
'Soldier' would indeed have formerly been pronounced 'sojer' - by all classes.

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It should come as no surprize
That a word like apprise
Is not a word that I apprize
It cannot be otherwise

Apprise is in the "The Dictionary of Worthless Words: 3,000 Words to Stop Using Now"

@Skeeter ... As a former Soldier, I'v never heard it said as 'soda' ... It may be heard as sojer, soljer, or even soldjer. My guess ... and it's only a guess ... is that the i = j sound may come from the time with i/j were the same letter and/or since it came from French that to an English ear it sounded like 'soljer or soldjer' ... Kind of the same for sergeant which is said like 'sarjant or sarjent'.

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Perhaps 'eat' in the past tense is more standard than I allowed.
'Sayz' et al are, again, the speak-as-you-spell tendency. Pronunciation has its own integrity: it doesn't have to imitate spelling.
'Mischievious' has been around as an error for a long time now.
'Haitch' drives me nuts.

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Hi again. Oxford Dictionaries put "et" first, so I'm not sure know where you get the idea it's thought of as uneducated - verb (past ate /ɛt, eɪt/), and I would have thought it to be pretty standard Oxford - (gasps to himself - how dare he call me uneducated!) :)

As regards age, this is from a piece about a British Library survey on pronunciation - 'Linguists say pronunciation is constantly evolving. Young British people are more likely to call the eighth letter of the alphabet “haitch,” rather than “aitch,” and pronounce the past tense of “to eat” as “ate” instead of the old-fashioned “et.” '. - I'm old-fashioned, apparently.

http://dawn.com/2010/10/28/ate-or-et-british-li...

And this is from the BBC - "Indeed the younger you are, the more likely you are to make says rhyme with lays rather than fez, ate rhyme with late rather than bet and to add a whole new syllable to mischievous, turning it in to miss-CHEEVY-us rather than MISS-chiv-us."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11642588

You're right about Fielding and spelling. These are from Tom Jones (at Gutenberg) :

"While Mr Wilks, therefore, was thundering out, "Where are the carpenters to walk on before King Pyrrhus?" that monarch very quietly eat his mutton, and the audience, however impatient, were obliged to entertain themselves with music in his absence."

"The squire was so delighted with this conduct of his daughter, that he scarce eat any dinner, and spent almost his whole time in watching opportunities of conveying signs of his approbation by winks and nods to his sister; who was not at first altogether so pleased with what she saw as was her brother."

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/6593/pg6593...

And it wasn't only Fielding; these are from Pepy's Diary for 1660:

"so Mr. Moore and I and another gentleman went out and drank a cup of ale together in the new market, and there I eat some bread and cheese for my dinner. "

"My father and I went down to his kitchen, and there we eat and drank, and about 9 o'clock I went away homewards"

Pepys also often uses non-stressed did in affirmative sentences: "This morning Mr. Shepley and I did eat our breakfast at Mrs. Harper's"

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4125/4125-h/4125...

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While Mr. Wilks, therefore, was thundering out, "Where are all the carpenters to walk on before King Pyrrhus?" that monarch very quietly eat his mutton, and the audience, however impatient, were obliged to entertain themselves with music in his absence.

Tom Jones Book IV Chapter I

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I'm sure Fielding in Tom Jones used 'eat' (so spelled) in the past tense - presumably pronounced 'et'.

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I pronounce it to rhyme with late. The 'et' pronunciation is often looked down on as uneducated (particularly in the US) but in fact it has been around for a long time and is perfectly acceptable. I heard Stephen Fry say it that way - for what that's worth. I'm intrigued that you say it has to do with age.

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A propos of nothing and one for British contributors. I think this is more about age than accent - but do you pronounce "ate" to rhyme with "bet" or "late"? Skeeter? Hairy?

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@Skeeter Lewis - re half-tones - there's a scene in an episode of "Keeping Up Appearances", when Hyacinth says to the unfortunate Richard - "I hope you're not going to spoil the day with lower-middle class humour, dear." We must have one of the most nuanced class systems in the world, although it's rapidly changing, thank God. And we haven't even got on to the topic of "U" and "Non-U", those words forbidden to me when I was young such as "toilet, serviette, pardon" and "lounge".

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Up until the 70s, BBC English more or less meant RP, and so for many people of my generation the two expressions are nearly synonymous. Here's David Crystal in "The Stories of English" - "By then (1926), of course, it (RP) had been further institutionalised by being adopted by the BBC" (p 470).

I don't know the background to the Ed Stourton story. He may no longer be at the "Today" programme, but he's still at the BBC, as far a I know. Are you suggesting he was replaced because he was too posh? And here's the opposite side of the coin - "Even in 1980, listeners to Radio 4 were expressing concern over the Scottish accent of the presenter Susan Rae". (ibid., p 474)

RP is changing, just like the BBC is changing, and what Crystal calls general or mainstream RP is certainly more relaxed than it used to be. Crystal points out that many with a mainstream RP accent find posher forms "affected". In other words, RP is neither static nor monolithic.

But its use is decreasing. A recent phenomenon is how many children of RP-speaking parents adopt a more general accent, like Estuary, a prime example being Jamie Oliver. Oliver speaks, I would say, typical Estuary, although his accent is sometimes classed as Mockney. But I heard his parents and his sister on his show once, and they're pure RP.

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I'm half-Welsh, brought up in Lancashire, went to a public school and Oxford and speak RP. It's the half-tones in British life that make it so entertaining.

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@Skeeter Lewis. I would say you're being a wee bit restrictive there. I certainly didn't go to Oxbridge, for example, although I did go to a public school. Public schools are certainly the bastion of RP, but not just the major ones. Old Etonians and Harrovians, for example, often tend more to URP than simple RP. Oxford Dictionaries Online defines RP as - "the standard form of British English pronunciation, based on educated speech in southern England, widely accepted as a standard elsewhere.". I would qualify that by saying that it's the standard middle-class accent of the South-east. RP is largely what we teach foreign students, and we certainly don't teach them an Oxford drawl.

In Scotland, however, it is seen as English, although this is not strictly true, and I know people who went to one or two Scottish public schools who have just as posh accents as those who have been to English ones. And I've heard people from Dublin with much posher voices than mine, and I've no doubt that you can find them in Wales as well, but it is certainly more restricted in those countries. What used to piss me off, was that if you are the Laird of Aucheltymuchelty (sic), or the Chieftain of Clan MacSporran or whatever, you can have the plummiest old Etonian accent you like, and nobody will accuse you of being English. But for a normal Joe Bloggs like me, there was the constant question, "And which part of England are you from?", or the blunter, "You're no Scottish!" (said with a glottal stop).

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I would say that RP is the accent associated with Oxbridge and the major public schools. The BBC accent is not RP, indeed Ed Stourton (Posh Ed) has suffered as a result and the former India correspondent (whose name escapes me) lost his job because of it.
It's probably just the meaning of the labels that divides us on this. URP I haven't heard of.
I think that cockney and upper-class English were broadly similar at one time. The newly-emerging middle classes were the engines of change, with their tendency to alter pronunciations to conform with their spellings - the speak-as-you-spell phenomenon against which Fowler inveighed so much.

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@Hairy Scot - It is to my deep regret that I don't have a Scottish accent, or any other regional accent. RP, "Received pronunciation"as Skeeter Lewis says, is simply an accent that doesn't have any regional aspects, sometimes known as a BBC accent. It was quite normal in the area of Edinburgh I lived in,where nearly everyone was packed off to boarding school, and I only realised I "spoke funny" when I went to university.

RP is on the decline, with the rise of accents like Estuary English (Paul Merton, Jamie Oliver et al), and what is known a modified RP, where certain softer aspects of regional accents might be present in an otherwise RP accent. For example it is common on the radio to hear people form the North with a more or less RP accent, but with a northern "U" - as in oop North. And regional accents are viewed much more favourably by the BBC in news and continuity nowadays. So Radio Four (and World Service) listeners are now able to hear the dulcet tones of Kathy Clugston (Northern Ireland) and Susan Rae (Scotland), although RP is still very present (Charlotte Green and Corrie Corfield).

But RP isn't the same thing as upper-class English, sometimes called URP, i.e. the English spoken by Sloanes, Yahs (from their habit of saying, "Oh, yah"), or whatever they're called nowadays. I can assure you I don't pronounce any "r" in law either, that's a feature of Cockney and fairly extreme URP.

@Skeeter Lewis - I hadn't thought that about tour, but I think you're right. I imagine that would be a feature of upper-class English rather than standard RP. I think the poor/paw thing is rather London (both Cockney and URP). It's strange how many things Cockney and Upper-class English have in common,as in your example "gorn orf". And I think it was still fashionable in the 1920s for upper-class young men to use "ain't", à la Bertie Wooster.

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Thanks Skeeter.

Even after 30 years away from Scotland I probably still don't have that. :-))
I still don't pronounce the 'r' in law.

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It's 'Received Pronunciation' - what in Britain is perceived as an 'educated' accent.

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@WW

RP?

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Agreed. I'm English and I've never cared for the 'paw' rendering for 'poor'. 'Tour' can't possibly be 'taw' but many English people do say it that way.

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How about "oo" in poor. My phonetics trainer (London) insisted it was /ɔ:/ (to sound like paw), but for us in Scotland it's /ʊə/ (like tour) (even for me with my RP). Mind you, for many Scots, food rhymes with good. Just one of the things that makes English so fascinating.

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Americans, I notice, drop the 'l' in solder. It comes out as 'soda'. This is old-fashioned English. The 'l' in 'soldier' was also dropped at one time. That's why Kipling, in his phonetic rendering of cockney speech, uses the word 'sojer'.

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Yes, "an 'otel" was correct Englisn until not so long ago. My 99-year-old mother-in-law still says it that way. "An hotel" is an absurdity.
Good for the Americans with their " 'erb"!
Cockneys are great preservers of old-fashioned pronunciation. The cockneys still say "gorn orf" for "gone off", as did the upper classes until recently. And also "awspital" for "hospital". Good old-time English.
In the nursery rhyme 'Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross' the word 'cross' has to be pronouced 'crawse' in order to rhyme - the cockney way.

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@HS - saying "an 'otel" or "an 'istoric" at least has some sort of logic to it, if being somewhat old-fashioned. But using "an" before a sounded "h" makes no sense at all; that's not what "an" is for. That was my point. If you pronounce the "h", "a historic occasion" is rather more logical than "an historic occasion".

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Reading the latest Baldacci offering and have just come across another "alternate" form of a common phrase:-
"I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less".

If it were not for American TV, films, and authors, old farts like me would have nothing about which to moan.

:-))

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@WW
I have heard "an 'otel" and even "an 'istoric" instead of "an historic" on occasion.
Even that doyen of Oxford English, Inspector Morse, favoured those. :-)

As for American TV, it's not so much a love of that as an insatiable appetite for sci-fi films or programs, which I purchase online and watch on my PC.
Don't watch much TV at all, mainly because Sky in NZ is NWAF. Doesn't have a sci-fi channel.

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It could be argued that Americans who pronounce herb without the "H" and stress ballet on the second syllable are actually being closer to the original French than we are. It wasn't so long ago that some British people pronounced hotel and historic without the "H" as well, for the same reason. And there are still parts of London where everything is pronounced without "H" (but for different reasons). You know what they say - variety is the spice of life. Enjoy it! You obviously enjoy American TV!

Much stranger, I think, are people who pronounce the "H" in historic (as I imagine most of us do), but say "an historic occasion" and suchlike (which I imagine most of us don't).

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We really use both. I think it's a preference thing.

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EEK!!

It had to happen!

Good old 'erb has just cropped up.

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Since I did not wish to influence the discussion I did not mention in the OP that the examples I quoted were all heard on an American TV programme.
(The same one where they mispronounce McKay and ZPMs.)
I have the full collection of DVDs for the programme so there may be a few others cropping up.

@WW
"New Years" or "New Year's" is also quite popular with English speaking South Africans.
Heard it quite a lot in my 25 years in that lovely country.

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While we're on the subject, can some of you Americans tell us which is more popular in the States, "Happy New Year's" or "Happy New Year". In BrE, we only use the latter, and I though Americans mainly used the former, but I heard on the radio today that you use the non-possessive form too.

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Three of these seem to be simply a difference between British and North American usage.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, as Skeeter Lewis says, "envision" is mainly used in AmE, "envisage" is used more in BrE.

And the same with the idiom - "in the hope of something, in the hope that…(North American English also in hopes that…)".

"A change in plans" is an interesting one. According to Ngram, a "change of plan" is much more commom in BrE, and used to be in AmE as well. But since about 1980 "a change in plans" has taken the lead in AmE.

According to both the OALD (BrE) and Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary (AmE) "apprise" is formal, so probably seen as a bit pretentious in both.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+...

Incidentally, the reason I prefer learner's dictionaries is that they tend to tell you more about usage than standard online dictionaries.

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'Inform' is nice and simple
'Envision' is virtually unknown in British use but it's the standard American word.
The other two - either way.

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If they are grammatically correct, the rest is all about their contexts, no?

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