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Say What?

Say What?

Could you repeat that?

Well, at least, they understand themselves.

After all, Eliza Doolittle sounded natural to herself, before ‘enry ‘iggins tried to mold her into “a lady.”

Paul Kerswill, professor of sociolinguistics at Lancaster University, claims the cockney dialect will become extinct in three decades, morphing into a new hybrid language, which he describes as “multicultural London English.”

“Cor Blimey!”

Dialect is from the Greek Language word dialektos and is used mainly to apply to regional speech patterns, distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

Accent, from the Latin accentus “tone, signal, or intensity,” is more concerned with pronouncing a language.

Yes, the differences between the two are confusing even to the experts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance, speaks English with an Austrian accent. Or is that Austrian with an English accent?

Different dialects often bring up something called “Why do they have to talk like that” snootiness, where we look askance when Bostonians drop their r’s and says “caw,” as if they could help themselves.

Or Eastern Kentuckians indulge in something called prefixing (attaching an a where it doesn’t belong) at least to non-prefixers.

Like, “Here she comes a crying and a moanin.”

Or when someone in Brooklyn, which seems like a foreign country, might say, “I’m gonna see my Muda in Lawn Guyland.”

Yiz? If you lived in Philadelphia, the cradle of Democracy, you’d know it was a plural of “you.”

Meanwhile in New Orleans, Louisiana, it’s easy to pick the locals by the way they say “Nawlins.”

According to linguists, it all depends on who settled the area first, or in what combination, whether it was the French, Irish, African, Creole, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, Jewish or Italian.

If you live in isolated areas, where there are few contacts between regions, you’re going to keep your little insular peculiarities.

In some cases, dialects fade from generation to generation, as we get further from the original source.

They’re also disappearing since residents buy into the idea that something’s wrong with their dialect, according to a study by American Dialect Society Professor Dennis R. Preston.

Someone said, “English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway.”

Fun is good to keep around.

So “Yiz,” “Y’all,” and “Youse” have a great weekend.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. You’uns have a good weekend, too. Have ya et yet? I’m a getting hungry myself. My big guts is eatin’ my little guts.

    I have a friend in Indonesia who is learning the English language and one never really understands how truly difficult it is until you try to explain read and read, there/their/they’re and words like rendezvous. In the end, one just comes to realize that as descriptive a language as it is, it makes very little sense sometimes.

  2. LOVE IT!! I speak FLUENT REDNECK, occasionally w/ some Brit tossed in…Y’all AIN’T NOT gonna BELIEVE this SHEET!! Other languages, I’m fluent enough in to get drunk & find the loo, or the head, or the lav…. which, when y’all think about it, is all we really need to know! And of course, the drunker it gets out, the thicker the accent is! Needless to say, I have ALL kinds of fun when I travel!
    And I think most of us speak at least understandable computer-ese now, even us oldsters! Gotta love the English language, such that it is!

    1. I think all a tourist needs is “how much is it?” and “Where is the toilet?” to navigate an urban environment in most places.

  3. Today is the Birthday of our beloved Ivan Jalopkin. I tried to call him but the phone number no longer belongs to him. If anyone out there knows his whereabouts please wish him a Happy Birthday. And maybe give us an update.

  4. When did you reopen thesepiatrain??? Have you told everyone? Anyone?

    I’m heartsick we’ve lost so many dear ones, but I think many would return if they knew.

    If I hadn’t come for a pair of trousers I’d never have known.

    I’ve dreamed about drinks in the club car. Hazel’s “Nos da”. Stoney’s every word. He’s ill you know. The heart of everything. Chef Deb. I still think of her every single time I pass through New York., which is frequently. The daily topic. Berting.

    You can never go home, and I’m late because I received no invitatiom. Has anyone?

    I shall suppress my bewilderment and tell you of an event yesterday that made me think of you JP. More than once.

    The Argentinian force-to-be-reckoned with, Nacho Figueras, left Aspen’s fields of snow for southern desert climes. I watched ponies being unloaded into the stables from the comfort of The Tack Room, sipping a Glenlivet 18 Stoney introduced me to. Soon, the Sport of Kings and ginger Princes, will resume. I do wish I’d. Bought that jersey while you had it. It had his number, didn’t it? I’ll go look, just to be certain.

    So much has changed, but I never stopped mourning the Eye.

  5. Some years ago, I did Peterman’s Eye…and I am glad to see it again! I love reading the entries and posts and delight in the cleverness of it. It makes me feel erudite. Actually it makes me feel among clever people! Anyway…here’s my contribution to dialect:
    “Ya ete yet?”
    “No, daghu?”
    “No, ya ont to?” or
    “Ya ete yet?”
    “Whaja ete?”

    I am from VA…born and bred…or bread! Trying to perserve Southern Dialect while trying to teach students to use the King’s Standard English!

  6. Ironic that in the “age of diversity” homogenization is, sadly, the grim vision of our future. Being from the Pittsburgh area I can say that there are still those who speak genuine Pittsburghese. Yinz no who younz are. But with each passing generation less and less of them.

  7. Ironic that in the age of diversity homogenization seems pervasive . While dialects and accents remain with us, (Pittsburghese here), it is inevitable that with each passing generation they are not just slipping away but doing so at an ever increasing speed.

    Love the EYE and have been with you for nigh on a quarter century.

  8. It occurred to me early in life, when learning conjugation of verbs, that second person plural is a glaring flaw in the English language (my first language), however beloved. The results being: “Yiz,” “Y’all,” and “Youse” and my own addition in an effort to correct or clarify the fault: YOU singular is also the plural! = “You Guys” which was invented before I was born but is most used by me, when absolutely necessary.
    Try as I may with this language, I can never quite live up to the name I use for reviews or comments online: “Literally Literate!

  9. Hmmm, shall I dare offer this Ohioan colloquialism? Hmmm . . . okay, fire away, Nadine.

    When I lived in western central Ohio for a couple of years, I heard a number of fantastic expressions — but my favorite was . . . and you must first picture a group of lean and tanned cowboy-hat farmers sitting down at a table with friends at the local Holiday Inn bar. If it was raining outside, one would inevitably say, “Raining out so haaaard, s’like a cow pissin’ on a (long “a”)flat rock . . . ” Those wonderful Ohioans wasted nary a word or syllable. You could occasionally also see a line written in the newspaper saying, “To the blazing barn the firemen rushed.”

    Few people outside of Western Ohio would ever know just how delicious to the senses that area can be — so close to the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, the summer sun finally set around ten p.m., the sound of the winds blowing through the literally unending cornfields, and the sounds of the birds and wildlife singing and chanting intoxicated! Long summers and autumns, short winters with classic springtime seasons and the constant winds that blew in puffs and waves . . . I’ll never forget it. Not surprising that the Ohioans spoke in color!

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