Posts Tagged ‘dialects’

Guise, I ‘m a generally irritable and mercurial person. However, I try to be fair (not really) and don’t make scenes when people disagree with me although I’m obviously totally right all the time (actually, it’s just laziness). Nevertheless, there are several pet-peeves and other things that will get your comment deleted wherever I can delete things:

1) Leaving a racist comment without your real name/recognizable and characteristic internet alias (and I mean you, white supremacist scumbagshit from this post. In fact, I haven’t deleted your comment, but rather sent it to the Comment Limbo, so if you’re reading this and wanna come back and sign it with your real name this time I’m totally gonna publish it, darling. Send me your FB profile so I can verify.

By which I mean, racist shitfaced fuckwads like you should be shamed publicly)

2) Ruining my mood

3) Insisting that certain languages/dialects are just better than others. In fact, my stance on this issue has been briefly summed up here and is absolutely non-negotiable.

4) Using the word “teabonics”

So if you think you’d like your local old media thingy to publish something like that:

British English More Natural, Scientists Say

A recent survey analysis carried out by a team of evolutionary psychologists at LSE suggests that British English might be more intuitive and more natural, and thus easier for human brains to learn. “It’s very likely that British English, a dialect of English that has been around for a very long time,” so says the team leader Hitoshi Kanazawa, “and yet survived until today, and is also used internationally and widely considered to be very easy to learn did not just survive by accident. We think that English, especially its British dialect, might be the language that is actually closest to the language used by our savannah ancestors thousands of years ago”.

90% of the responders of the LSE survey claimed that British English is the easiest language they have ever learned, with over 60% claiming it to be the only language they can speak fluently. “British English” was most frequently associated with such adjectives as “good”, “nice”, “pleasant”, “natural”, “poetic”, “educated”, and “high-brow”. The language most frequently associated with concepts such as “strange” and “uncivilised” was Polish, while the one responders classified as most “foreign” was Urdu.

(“English Dialects and Prototypicality”, Evolutionary Psycholinguistics 17/2011, Hitoshi Kanazawa, Stanley Binker, Richard J. Herrnstier. The survey was conducted on 900 white male British undergraduates)

(hurr hurr, sauce)

(ETA: this thing above about a survey is a parody of course *facepalm* I thought it was obvious, but yeah, it is eerily evocative of some evo-psy research, hurr hurr, so I get that it’s somehow *almost* like the real thing, but nonetheless, a parody. Not real. Don’t haaaaaaaaaaaaate)

you can as well save yourself the trouble and not comment at all, because I’m gonna be, like, a Cyberman to your London!civilian!person, and DELETE! everything and also seriously, I feel really energetic today, by which I mean, trigger-happy.


The dialect of English I was taught, when I was a very tiny Sendai, by a series of mostly interchangeable mostly middle-aged ladies with perfect RP (or a perfect imitation thereof) was invariably the British one.

This left a mark: I’d normally say torch, lift, football, pavement, trousers, lorry, rubbers, bonnet, and also tend to spell colour with an extra “u”. Hopefully, though, my pronunciation is not a perfect imitation of RP: one must always strive to surpass one’s teachers.

Once, an American prof from the American Lit department and I were waiting for the lift in Sendai, but he apparently felt the necessity of ascertaining my intentions towards the lift(1), because he asked

“Are you standing in the line?”

It took me 90 seconds of helpless blinking to establish that he meant  “queue”.

There are, however, exceptions:

1) A trunk is a trunk. “Boot” is a shoe.

2) The differences between stuff like “cake”, “cookie”, “biscuit” etc, are completely elusive to me. It is my utmost conviction that there should be less words for food. In fact, a good, thrifty, efficient language could just get away with bare necessities, like:

edible food, poisonous food, spicy food, coffee

I could seriously do without the rest.

3) When I was tiny, I read a book about teddy bears or something. An important part of the plot was one of the bears trying a jumper on. Unfortunately, the idea that wearing a jumper is something a bear from a children’s book would do persisted, and I switch between “sweater” and “jumper”, but probably say “sweater” most of the time.

4) “Plimsoll” is a word whose ridiculousness is only equal to that of “kaloryfer” and “palimpsest”. DNW.

The biggest hangup, of course, was getting over the instant visualisation of a guy in pants-pants, instead of a guy in trousers, when someone says “guy in pants”, which is something one has to do when one wants to stay sane on teh internets, which are teeming with AmE dialect speakers.

So there.

Any words (in any language, any dialect) you’ve ever had problems with?

(1) 責任を取りましたwwwww。


So, I participated in the programme three times, in Oogawara, Ishinomaki and Sendai; all three times I was the ALT.

Short version: Fun, fun, fun, DIALECTS :D :D :D

Long version behind the cut.