I was at lunch today and asked my friends "Why don't American's have British accents in their speach?" They were dumbfounded and began to wonder themselves so I turn to Ask MetaFilter to find the answer.
After Georg Friedrich Händel became George Frideric Handel in 1727, I have it stuck in my mind that he once said, to a Brit who called him a German, "No, Sir, I am more English than you, because I chose to become English, whereas you were assigned your nationality willy-nilly," or words to that effect. But no amount of googling has found a reliable quote or reference to this. Has anyone else heard this story, or did my mind make it up? Anyone have a reliable source? [more inside]
I learned English as a second language (native is Finnish). The emphasis in school was on vocabulary and very basic grammar; we did not to my recollection deal with stuff like passive voice etc. So in terms of writing in English, much of my "voice" has developed simply from what sounds right inside my head. However, I've been told that the way I write is overly complicated. Is this so? [more inside]
I need one word, in singular form, that is synonymous with product, service, and experience (experience as in, taking a tour, sitting for a lecture, watching a live band..) The company I am working for provides many products, services and experiences for their customers, and I need a single, general noun that describes all of these. Help!
I am looking for a text file of a list of words (roughly the 5000-10000 most common English words) and their root word and root word language. My Google Fu only turns up single words or pages that I can type in a word to get to another page to get the etymology. Wikipedia has some stuff, but it is sorted by language root, which is not what I am looking for. I would like to have a long list of words in a text file so that I can manipulate it programatically. Comma separated or whatever, any format would be great. Here is one use case: Yoke - [list of words that have yoke in the etymological history] (Many, many many English words come from the root work for Yoke.) All answers appreciated!
These two YouTube videos, Video 1 and Video 2, contain men speaking English with a similar accent. Is this an accent? Can anyone identify it? [more inside]
I'll be in Montreal and Longueuil, Quebec, Canada for two weeks. What budget-friendly things should I do there? [more inside]
Can you translate this Italian phrase into English? "Nun so' fesso ma faccio o' fesso perche' facendo o' fesso te faccio fesso." [more inside]
How to advertise a small French property in the classifieds ? [more inside]
I wonder if someone translates the Finnish theme song for Moomin into English. I cannot find the English translation in the internet. It would be very nice to understand what this interesting and classic Finnish song is about. [more inside]
I first came across this about 20 years ago in a Calvin & Hobbes strip where Hobbes taunts his friend: "Calvin and Susie, sitting in a tree. Kay-Eye-Ess-Ess-Eye-En-Gee!" I never understood why Hobbes was making "words" out of letters; I assumed it was something unique to comics (or tigers). Then today, a poem linked to in this FPP reminded me of that old comic strip and got me thinking: Why is there an entire parallel alphabet to spell out the letters of the alphabet? [more inside]
For the last 12 years, I've worked as an adjunct English professor. It's time for a change. [more inside]
Where is this mystical land where it is acceptable to answer statements with: "So?" [more inside]
There are Latin fonts designed to mimic Cyrillic, Asian characters, and many other scripts. What are some examples of foreign-script fonts which mimic Latin characters?
Hello, I'm a French student preparing for English interviews and in my last mock session my interviewer talked about my accent that could put me at a disadvantage. I can't afford and don't have the time to see a speech therapist so I'm looking for books with audio tracks that are aimed at mastering the standard American accent. Do you know or know somebody that had had great results with a particular book? Thank you!
Hi Mefites! So I'm wondering if anyone can help me in finding something to argue in a 5-6 page paper regarding 'cultural contact zones' in Orwell's essay ' A Passage to India'. Specifically, "the concept of a “contact zone” emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other, usually involving conditions of coercion, inequality, and conflict. It treats the relations among colonizers and colonized not in terms of separateness but in terms of interaction and interlocking understandings and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power." ( this is part of the prompt). Any suggestions? I'm usually a fairly competent writer but am having trouble here. [more inside]
Hello, Hive. I'm working on a historical graphic novel and a portion of it involves four sentences in German. I've made an effort to hammer something out by testing Google Translate's gibberish against some German language textbooks and grammar sites. I'm sorta confident about them, but would love for any bilingual native German speakers to give them a once over. Particularly, if you have any insights into generational differences in the German language, as this piece is supposed to take place during WWII. Posting them after the jump. [more inside]
I teach for a living but have a lot of linguistic baggage that I'd like to get rid of. Specifically, I have some weird pronunciation/accent issues and would like to speak "General American" or newscaster English. Is this something I can do on my own? What resources should I use? [more inside]
Alright all your grammar masters. My wife is foreign and she announced "It work." when I rubbed her shoulder and fixed her pain. I corrected her by saying "It works." to teach her well. She then proceeded to explain to me the English of "plural" with adding an "s" to the verb. Is this correct?
Help me find a dialect map for the pronunciation of the word "data". [more inside]
When did people stop using the term "model minority"? [more inside]
In my lab I was hired in part so as to have a native speaker of English on hand to improve the general knowledge of the language if only by osmosis. So, deciding to take my duties seriously, the other day I drew the Oh Snap Flowchart on the whiteboard of our break-room where it was a big hit, what other amusing flowcharts are there floating around the internet that I could use to explain any of the various oddities of the English language? [more inside]
Which is correct? a) "Led Zeppelin is a band" b) "Led Zeppelin are a band" [more inside]
I'm considering taking online courses/doing a part time degree in English for interest reasons. Will this be worth it? [more inside]
What is it like working in Asia? [more inside]
How long did it take for the United States to lose all traces of a British accent among its citizens? [more inside]
Does anyone have any resources to find historical forms of Ebonics? [more inside]
We are considering naming our soon-to-be-born son Gael. I have a few questions about that. [more inside]
I'm looking for specific book recommendations for high school exchange students. [more inside]
How do you edit writing written in a different dialect than your own? I'm very soon going to be responsible for editing some English technical/business writing by a team in a highly multilingual south-Asian country. [more inside]
Years ago Jack Hart, the esteemed editor and writing coach at The Oregonian, posted the rough drafts of Tom Hallman's Pulitzer winning story The Boy Behind the Mask somewhere online. Perhaps to a writers'/journalists' forum or mailing list. One editor's reaction to seeing the progression of the story through the drafts was to call it the most instructive lesson he'd ever had in newspaper writing. Help me track down those drafts!
Help me teach the stories of San Francisco! [more inside]
As a rule, when writing out a woman's full name in a formal manner, should the nickname, if present, be positioned just before the maiden name, or just before the most recent (married) name? Example: Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier Kennedy Onassis vs. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy "Jackie" Onassis. [more inside]
What does this Egyptian Arabic song mean in English? Listen to the song here. Thanks! : )
How does a Scotsman (or woman) pronounce the town Ae, Scotland?
What do I need to know to create a bilingual blog that uses left-to-right and right-to-left languages simultaneously? [more inside]
What qualifications do I need to teach humanities, beyond the normal education teachery qualifications? Victoria, Australia, to be specific. I am a Spanish/English methods teacher, but would love some more advice on applying for all those English/Humanities jobs out there. [more inside]
Are there any famous English catchphrases in foreign language television and cinema? Think of this as the Foreign language equivalent to "Hasta la vista, baby!" [more inside]
Hermann Hesse apparently published a book called Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte (Trees: Reflections and Poems) and I'm trying to find a version in English, because it sounds awesome. Look. [more inside]
I need to address a formal letter to five recipients of different rank and gender at once. How? [more inside]
I know that the real English countryside is not as violent as Midsomer County -- no place is -- but how realistic are the other aspects of country life portrayed in the show? (specific questions inside) [more inside]
I'd like to get a copy of the Child Ballads, but there is a frustratingly large selection and very few reviews of any of them. Any suggestions on the best version? [more inside]
Doing research for my new book on age-discrepant relationships and ephebopilia, I just watched the film Twinky (1970), which was partly filmed in Britain and a British (?) word was used that I can't seem to find the correct spelling for. Spelled phonetically the word is - nym-phe-ta-tish. From the context of the film, it appears to be a combination of nymphet and fetish and refers to one who has a fetish for nymphets. Does anyone the correct spelling of the word? Thanks!
What size population do you need to maintain an accent? [more inside]
This is the nicest men's shirt I've ever seen! what the heck is it? [more inside]
Need help naming a small HR development business [more inside]
Can someone who speaks Spanish tell me what this song means? [more inside]
There's a famous limerick I'm after which I suspect was the work of a major or minor Irish poet. It mocks the Gaelicisation of Irish place names and has a last line which goes (Anglicised) something like "which makes driving in Ireland so dreary". [more inside]
Suggestions for a British-friendly bar in Chicago, for Olympics viewing? [more inside]
How could I describe in a non-technical way how certain English-speakers maintain a distinction between the "w" and "wh" sound? A certain amount of technical description could help. Its for a character in a story. For example: "The beginning of his 'what' still comes from deep within his throat." I don't know if that's technically true and it sounds awesomely terrible but something like that. [more inside]