A recent post by Rosemarie Ostler on the OUP blog summarises the historical roots of today’s American dialects. Four main groups of colonists arrived in British North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. They came from different regions, bringing their own dialects: Puritans arrived in Massachusetts from 1629, coming mainly from East Anglia in…… Continue reading Where dialects of American English came from
I went along yesterday to an event at University College London (UCL) called English Grammar Day. This was the first time I have been, though it has been held for the last 10 years. The event seems to be aimed mainly at school teachers and academics. I give below summaries of the 6 talks, which…… Continue reading English Grammar Day
I listened to a 10-minute online talk about the Irish language in the Black Country. The Black Country is an area in the West Midlands, adjoining Birmingham to the west. The talk The Irish Language in the Victorian Black Country (Gaeilge sa Tír Dhubh Victeoiriach) is by Simon Briercliffe, a doctoral student at Birmingham University…… Continue reading Irish language in the Black Country
I have just read a paper describing 16 differences between Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian. The description was in a paper that looked for the border between language varieties separated by each difference. The paper also looked at whether those borders match national borders and how close the varieties are to each other. The authors…… Continue reading Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian
I’ve written before about confusion about the term dropping your g’s. The Time columnist Claire Foges waded into this debate on 20 September. Her article argues that people can improve their life chances by learning to speak and write what she calls Standard English. I agree with her on that. But her comments show some…… Continue reading Different accent or bad diction?
I see Cologne has named a tram after the local Kölsch dialect band Bläck Fööss. Amazed to see the band is still going. In my gap year 40+ years ago I spent a couple of months trying to sell magazine subscriptions door to door between Cologne and Düsseldorf. The two guys who ran the sales…… Continue reading Cologne names tram after dialect band
Phonetic spelling of ‘use’. Written by someone from Liverpool? (In Liverpool, some people say yous as a plural of you.)
Two features of the pronunciation of the Berlin dialect of German are very striking. They are the pronunciation of the consonant written g in standard German (but pronounced as if written as j) and of the diphthong written ei (but pronounced as if written as ee). Consonant written g In the Berlin dialect, the consonant…… Continue reading Berlin Dialect