This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books.
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Latest Posts : Misc
I suppose I should know the answer to this observation as an Englishman, but I don’t. I listen to the BBC news and I frequently hear the word “headquarters” pronounced as “headcorters”, “Quebec” pronounced as “Kebec” and the word “one” pronounced as “won” with the “o” as in “hot”. When I lived in England 32 years ago I never seemed to hear these pronunciations and they bother me now. I always pronounce “qu” as “qw” and “one” as “wun” (”u” as in “hut”). Are they really just affected speech fads that will die out? Merry Christmas to all
Is the phrase “I’m afraid not,” such as in the below exchange, an idiom? It does not seem to make sense to me.
“May I please have the newspaper?” “I’m afraid not.”
Would that construction not indicate “I am not afraid?” To me, it seems that perhaps the phrase came from the shortening of “I’m afraid I can not” by dropping the “can” which completely ruins the ability of the phrase to make logical sense.
Even if I am correct in my assumptions, the phrase is still commonly used and understood. However, in formal writing, should I purposely avoid using this phrase due to my above concerns?
My wife and I have this ongoing battle over the word sundae. She always pronounces it sunDUH while I say it’s sunDAY because when they were first made, one could only get the ice-cream treat on Sunday. She says I’m nuts - I say she’s kinda douchey. Who’s correct - anyone know?
Does anybody know why the ‘n’ in the word ‘autumn’ is silent? May it be possible that the ‘n’ sound got lost somewhere at some point in the historical development of English? Or maybe our ancestors mispronounced this word and such is the case up to this day? Or is it just a matter of the English phonology system, which does not allow for pronouncing ‘mn’ clusters? Can any phonologist help?
At a dinner last night, my friend at the table put a scoop of whipped cream on his cup of coffee. I then asked, “That’s called Wiener Coffee, right?” Everyone laughed, but I wasn’t joking. As funny as “wiener” may sound, “Wien” is the proper name for “Vienna”, and “Wiener” the proper adjective for “Viennese”. In fact the word “wiener” to mean a type of sausage came from wienerwurst, “Viennese Sausage”.
Then someone else at the table said that the word “India” is never used among Indians. The same goes for “Japan” too. The proper name is “Nihon”. It seems that every non-English speaking country has an alternative name that has nothing to do with the original. Why is this? Why are English speakers compelled to ignore the original and invent their own? (Or, perhaps, this has nothing to do with English.)
The reason why I knew about “Wiener Coffee” is because in Japan, they honor the original names of most countries.