Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

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Cartollomew
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Cartollomew » 07 Jan 2009, 21:54

As an aside, I've always found the obsession with all things American that the Japanese developed after having two major civilian centres bombed by them to be a little... unnerving.
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Philondra » 08 Jan 2009, 01:20

I find it pretty unnerving too, but probably for different reasons -- what I find more bizarre is that Japan never saw any kind of post-war Anti-American backlash akin to the Japan Bashing that America had in the 1980s -- particularly in the 1990s/early 2000s, in the post-cold War era when America was (probably) at its most powerful, given that China hadn't yet developed into a major world force, Russia was in shambles, and Japan's economy tanked.

But let's be honest -- the age of American domination is almost over. The 2008 financial crisis just signaled a turning point in history, and I think that we will see China step in to fill the void.

Although I think I have said this before -- as annoying as it was to have America as the only world superpower (let's be honest, Americans are pretty arrogant), the only other country in the world more arrogant than America is China (let's set aside the French for purposes of this discussion) and I am pretty afraid of living under a world defined by Chinese Hegemony.

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Dropdeadqt » 08 Jan 2009, 04:41

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Dropdeadqt » 08 Jan 2009, 04:56

Write "a herb"
Say "a herb"
Write "an herb"
...
Fail your English exam.

Phonics fuck you.

You will never be able to reduce this to something that anyone can agree on. Honestly it comes down to how fast your spoken speech is. Myself and Qt when speaking to each other, are ridiculously fast. Many native English speaking people have difficulty understanding our regular speech that we have to take steps when dealing with such "lesser beings" to ensure they can understand.

The basic point is that the fast you go, the more sounds you can omit and simply leave up to the recipients brain to fill in. 'Anerb', is much easier to say quickly than 'A Herb' because you have two hard sounds in the later, (Ah, Huh), as opposed to a single drawn out string in the first, (Aner). The faster you try to say "A Herb" the more it sounds like you are trying to hump something, or, at the very least, attempting to rock out an Elvis song.

Yes, this is often referred to as "Lazy". It's along the same lines as the same way we reduce the majority of "er" sounds to "a" like better becomes betta.

This is all put into perspective with the following "The more we have to talk, the less time we have to drink" As seen below.

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by dukkha » 30 Jan 2009, 13:35

Alleycat wrote:Yes, this is often referred to as "Lazy". It's along the same lines as the same way we reduce the majority of "er" sounds to "a" like better becomes betta.

Oh... *twitch* The Australian accent... I try to pretend it doesn't exist. Though I suppose substituting 'a' for 'er' is better than droppin' the g off the end of words. Mate.

I think my hatred of 'strine is the real reason I avoid the countryside. :) (This vitriol may be slightly influenced by many of the Australian tourists I encountered overseas sounding like Steve Erwin on a bender).

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Philondra » 30 Jan 2009, 13:45

Dialects are so fascinating! Even though my speech patterns have changed a lot over time (most Americans find my accent to be of undetermined origin - even though it's my native language!), there are certain aspects of my pronounciation that most linguists could classify pretty easily:

*Dialects from the north-east USA did not undergo the so-called "cot-caught" merger (I pronounce the two words differently; most midwestern/western Americans pronounce them the same and cannot hear the difference when I pronounce them.)

* I also have the southern-new England habit of swallowing the letter "T" when it comes after an "N":

Santa --> Sanna
Mountain --> Moun'in

* I occasionally slip into the very Connecticut pronounciation of neutering the word "New" in place names:
New Haven --> N'Haven
New York --> Nuh'York

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Cartollomew » 30 Jan 2009, 14:13

I actually like the "sans g" affectation - "How're you doin'?" "I'm moochin' today" "Little Timmy is colourin' in"

No idea why - it's always just struck me as being somehow a friendly casual abuse of language.

"T" swallowing I try to avoid though (it's pretty classically Australian too - "Give us twenny bucks mate?").
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Karjalan » 30 Jan 2009, 15:16

I prefer the British' silent H approach "'ello 'arry. 'ow you doin' then??"
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Chappy » 30 Jan 2009, 15:45

LMAO
mind u there are some australian words with silent letters that should be expressed as often as possible

like "cken oath" but thats only a silent F and a silent U
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Kalifa » 01 Feb 2009, 14:31

Being a US-Southerner, I like to think we butcher the English language into our dialect, and so I won't argue that it's correct English or not. Most educated southerners would actually be able to switch to a "more proper English tone" if they were focusing on it. I've actually had to do this A LOT in India as southern-US English is nigh incomprehensible to them.

On the An vs A issue when it comes to words starting with H. It appears for me that there is no set rule. It's like El and La in Spanish. Some words are just the exception. When speaking and writing I use "an historic event" but would also say "a history book". Like Phil said earlier, it seems that if the air flow stop sounds unnatural then we tend to slur. And the words that are slurred so often such as "an honorable action" have just made their way into the proper grammar rules of the US.

I tend to also think that English is a tool of comprehension and not a perfectionist art. Most people can dumb down to the basic sounds when they need to in order to provide total comprehension with another party who cannot understand your dialect or your speech. That being said when I'm reading a book and there is a blatant grammatical error or misspelling I really want to choke the editor.
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Vampirial » 03 Feb 2009, 12:43

Interesting read. Personally I hate reading books that say an ------ just sounds sleazy. But thats how I was taught in shcool was to say a ------. Makes much more sense with the silent first letter, thanks for the clarification on it here always had me wondering why it was done.
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Post by Rathollorn » 02 Mar 2009, 23:59

Philondra wrote:Well, I've had this argument with multiple people multiple times, and unlike most arguments, this is one I refuse to lose, due to one simple fact:

Wikipedia wrote:66% of the world's native English speakers are Americans.


Don't care, it's called English, or the English language, or more correctly "The Queen's English" since historically the reigning monarch in London, England has authority over the language and it's meaning.
Do you know why so-called Americans speak English? Because you're a former colony. Culturally you change the language out of a deep-seated inferiority complex, like a teenager rebelling and getting tattoos and piercings to be 'independant' and 'individual' and prove you're not really part of the family and don't need your parents (being the British Isles). And like those sad goths and emos you see in high schools the more intelligent and mature-minded of us (being the English speaking world) look upon you with sadness and pity and a small dose of "there but for the grace of God go I".

This rant brought to you from Rath's birthplace in the midlands of England.

Realisitically speaking though, any language is a means for conveying information, if you can understand what's being conveyed who's to say it's "wrong"?

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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Cartollomew » 03 Mar 2009, 00:17

The natural evolution and shift of living languages is certainly a complicated issue and can't solely be attributed to the political/religious climate of two countries long since (arguably) reconciled.

Nobody is really going to win an argument in this arena, because it largely doesn't matter. What minimal confusion any differences might create are easily offset by the mirth resulting from the wonderful sense of superiority either side will feel over the other as a result.

What we can all agree on, however, is that no matter how much a living language needs to shift and evolve, it's utterly abhorrent that the term "lolcat" should be officially (in any capacity) ushered into our language, just as if our language had decided to accept the term "Fursday" due to the speech impediment exacted by many of its speakers.

What next? Fiddy?

Such affectations are preserved through our time's (occassionally for want of a better term) cultural offerings, and don't really need the protection of our "official" reference books.

Just a thought, lolz.
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Re: Split: An vs A - And America vs the World

Post by Mitra » 05 Mar 2009, 20:18

according to stephen fry (and the folfs at Q.I. in singapore you can order an 'Oleng Tzu' and get an 'Orange Juice'.....
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