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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do you like your eggs short or long?

Usually I play the critic in language debates, but today, Ian flipped the criticism onto me over the word eggs.

I say "ayggs", long vowel sound.

Ian says "ehggs", short vowel sound.
Normally I would agree that Ian's version is correct, because in general, you will have a short vowel whenever a double consonant follows. But this is how I have always (or oh-weez, as I say), pronounced the word, and so naturally I feel my way is correct.

Ok, ok, I concede. It must be fun to win for once, eh M'Love? But I'm still going to say it my way.

How do you, dear readers, think "eggs" should be pronounced?


Here are further samples of my idiosyncratic pronunciation and understanding of language, from back when I was first learning to read:
  • I used to say "enn-velope" instead of "on-velope" (which, you must admit, is understandable).
  • I thought the T in "often" was silent, and argued as much when my pronunciation was called out by a fellow classmate in about 2nd grade.
  • I also used to think there were two distinct words for the two uses of the word "used":
used as the past tense of the verb meaning "to implement"
  • Pronounce: youzed
  • As in: "I used the Kleenex."
used as an adverb of time when combined with "to" to mean "at one time but not anymore"
  • Pronounced: youst
  • As in: "I used to go there often."
In first grade, I didn't comprehend that these two words were even related, although I didn't know how the second one would have been spelled. When I very first read a sentence like the second variety, I thought there was something missing between the used and the to, such as, for instance the bus.


What are your language idiosyncrasies?


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11 comments:

miss. chief said...

Having studied linguistics for a bazillion or so years now, I am of the descriptivist opinion that any form of communication is "correct" as long as it is understood by both interlocutors.

So keep on saying AHHHYYYUUUUGGGZZ or whatever it was.

Sra said...

I, too, am of the descriptivist school, but that doesn't mean I can't be critical and opinionated in my free time ;)

Claire said...

My sisters will give me a quarter to say the word "Tangerine."

Also, all of my friends have long mocked me for my inability to properly parse acronyms, so that instead of saying "Dee-Vee-Deeeee" I say "DEEvidee" Apparently, I also say "TAHcoBell" instead of the slow and weird (to me)sounding "Taaaa-coh-Belllll"

My theory regarding this last is that Spanish timbre and tempo creep into my English, so that I put my emphasis on the wrong syllable and have a Sofia Vergara accent for two words.

Now, if only I could get the rest of her along with it.

*ahem*

But I digress. Other than these weirdnesses, I am a language Nazi (as you know).

Dena said...

I grew up in Upper Michigan. It's not Canada, but close enough. I left Gwinn, MI, in 1989 but I still hold on to the midwestern accent. Just this morning, someone laughed about the way I say "box" because I pronouced it with a little bit of a short "a" sound.

When I say "bowl" or "bull", there is no difference.

Are you or your parents from a different area of the country than Ian's? I think that makes a difference, too. My mother hails from Wisconsin so it seems my accent is sticking around for good :)

B.R. said...

I'm not getting this, i.e.,:
*used: Pronounced: youst
* As in: "I used to go there often."

A verb used adverbially? I lack experience with this.... I get what you're saying semantically but syntactically this is not quite computing for me.
At least in the realm of Indo-European languages, adverbs modify other adverbs and adjectives. So, is is the adjective/adverb that's subservient to other content words. However, adverbial verbs, hmm, it's an utterly unknown genre to me, I'm afraid.
Interesting notion, though. I look forward to further explanation. Thanks.

Sra said...

Well, "used to" is adverbial in that it is modifying the verb "go". In English at least, adverbs modify verbs while adjectives modify nouns. So, the base sentence is, "I go there often," but you qualify how you go there by saying "I used to go there often." It means that at one time you frequented a place, but you don't anymore.

Of course you said you get the semantics and not the syntax. That was my problem too when I was a kid. To me, the verb "used" and the adverbial form are two different words. they certainly serve two different functions.

Not sure if that clarifies anything or not.

Bejewell said...

I was raised in Texas so my language skillz are all fucked up. It's not so much pronunciation as bizarre USAGE I've got issues with. I'm still trying to kill my use of "y'all" -- I almost had it down, but for some reason it came back and now I can't seem to shake it. I also have a tendency to say I'm "fixin" to do something, as in, I'm "about" to do it. "I'm fixin' to go to the store, do y'all need anything?"

It's really just sad.

Erin said...

I struggle with the pronunciation of my own name. Most people say it with sort of a long-e edge. Not quite Eerin, but close. Then the guy I had a crush on in high school pronounced it closer to "Ehrin." That sounded way better to me. But if I pronounce it that way on the phone, people think I'm "Karen." So I say it the ugly way.

Erin said...

I struggle with the pronunciation of my own name. Most people say it with sort of a long-e edge. Not quite Eerin, but close. Then the guy I had a crush on in high school pronounced it closer to "Ehrin." That sounded way better to me. But if I pronounce it that way on the phone, people think I'm "Karen." So I say it the ugly way.

Bejewell said...

I was raised in Texas so my language skillz are all fucked up. It's not so much pronunciation as bizarre USAGE I've got issues with. I'm still trying to kill my use of "y'all" -- I almost had it down, but for some reason it came back and now I can't seem to shake it. I also have a tendency to say I'm "fixin" to do something, as in, I'm "about" to do it. "I'm fixin' to go to the store, do y'all need anything?"

It's really just sad.

Sra said...

Well, "used to" is adverbial in that it is modifying the verb "go". In English at least, adverbs modify verbs while adjectives modify nouns. So, the base sentence is, "I go there often," but you qualify how you go there by saying "I used to go there often." It means that at one time you frequented a place, but you don't anymore.

Of course you said you get the semantics and not the syntax. That was my problem too when I was a kid. To me, the verb "used" and the adverbial form are two different words. they certainly serve two different functions.

Not sure if that clarifies anything or not.

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