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Honored Contributor
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Registered: ‎11-08-2014

A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

Thought of a few amusing ones from the past,  that the old  "ham-a-rhymes-with-drama" one reminded me of.

 

In certain academic and other circles, and definitely among some radio announcers and some broadcasters of the past, it was considered more 'high falutin' to adopt certain British pronunciations, regardless of the American origin of the speaker.

 

Three words especially come to mind--  saying "veddy" for "very";   saying "styoudent" as opposed to stoodent or stewdent, and the way "happiness" is pronounced.

 

The "happiness" one is subtle, but unmistakable.  American and Canadian speakers do say the "ee" sound in the word.  Quickly, but they do say it--   "happeeness".

 

Brits, however, have traditionally glossed over the "ee" and said something that sounds like "happaness" to American ears. 

 

You'd hear these British pronunciations adopted by Americans in the old newsreels of the time, in speeches, and in some old movies--  typically in a scene where there was a formal occasion, like oh, speechifying at a fancy banquet.

 

Unlike the "drama rhymes with ham-a" syndrome,  these weren't widespread. The distinction is,  huge numbers of regular Americans just automatically rhymed drama with hama, until that gradually changed over time.  

 

But, in the case of veddy, styoudent and happaness,  these were definitely considered as affectations by "regular" people, and weren't used outside of the restricted circles mentioned.

 

I do realize that this stuff is veddy interesting mostly only to me.... 

 

   

Honored Contributor
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

And thought of a similar example that is peculiar to Canadians.  Certain Canadian English speakers, even to this day, insist on the British "shed-yool" with no hard "c" sound that most other Canadians and virtually all Americans give-- "sked-jool"....

 

You can guess a lot about a Canadian who says "shedule", ha.

Honored Contributor
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

@Oznell 

 

Your posts are always veddy interesting. Heart

~My philosophy: Dogs are God's most perfect creatures. Angels, here on Earth, who teach us to be better human beings.~
Honored Contributor
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

@Oznell 

 

Your recent posts about the quirkiness of our language got me thinking about The Story of English.  I remember how much I enjoyed the PBS series in the 80s and I had the book (just another I lost in our housefire).

 

The Story of English by Robert MacNeil

 

But there was another program I recall from that time period that focused on dialects.  I'm not positive, but it could have been the documentary called American Tongues.

 

I believe this is how I learned about...

 

Weird and wonderful regional words still used in the US - American Tongues episode #6 - YouTube

~My philosophy: Dogs are God's most perfect creatures. Angels, here on Earth, who teach us to be better human beings.~
Honored Contributor
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

I think it all depends on how your  grade school teachers spoke...

♥Surface of the Sun♥
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

And then there are the old standbys of a-lum-in-um/al-u-min-ium, and in-sur-ance/in-sur-ance.

 

And my particular Canadian favorites: "oot and aboot".

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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

I think the dialects in this country are so varied and interesting too!

 

@Oznell

 

Did you ever hear of The Silent Language by Edward T Hall? One of my favorite books about the vast differences in how different cultures and countries view time and spatial relationships and many other things. 

I'm sure this knowledge comes in so handy today with businesses too that are international. Though all these things are probably taught in college these days.

 

@just bee,

Those books look so interesting. I'd never heard of them.

I'm so sorry about your losses from the fire. I was just thinking of that this morning while I was reading through a Storybook my daughter gave me-writing stories about your life.

 

 My niece and her family lost everything they owned in a fire too. I imagined more than ever how devastating that could be. Not having pictures, and cards saved, so many treasured things. My niece said too that the pictures and things from her grandmother that couldn't be replaced was the hardest for her.

I know people say what is important is that we are safe and still here and that is true. Still it can't make the fact that all the rest of what your life was is gone aside from remembering. 

"If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew. Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

@on the bay 

 

What was difficult about the fire was that it started in the garage, so we lost both vehicles and items in an antique mahogany chest (mostly family photos and school pictures).

 

There was soot and water damage in the rest of the house, but most of our possessions were intact.  Plastics and pottery, for the most part, couldn't be saved.

 

What bothers me about the experience is that I had to make hard choices about items to restore and items to send to landfill.  Art objects and books that I'd collected for decades were sacrificed.

 

But it could have been so much worse.  The fire started in Better-half's truck.  It was the middle of the afternoon and we were cooking.

 

Just an hour or so before the fire were had been out erranding.  The fire could have started when we were in the vehicle.  Could have started when the vehicle was parked with our dog inside.  Could have started when we were all asleep.  Could have damaged our neighbors' properties.

 

As it turns out, we were very lucky.

~My philosophy: Dogs are God's most perfect creatures. Angels, here on Earth, who teach us to be better human beings.~
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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

Hi @just bee 

 

I totally say gum band.  ha!

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Re: A FEW MORE OBSERVATIONS OF QUIRKY WORD PRONUNCIATIONS...

Thanks for alerting us to those resources,  @just bee ,  and @on the bay !    Of the three, I'm only familiar with "The Story of English",  which was really good.  The other two sound absolutely fascinating too.