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linguoboy
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-28, 19:39

OyVey wrote:Hmm. I guess I'm not good at recognizing different accents. It's surprising though, that you say "y'all". I didn't think that was used in Chicago, which is in the North. Or are you originally from somewhere else?

EDIT: I see, you grew up in Saint Louis. Can you post a link of someone from there speaking? It would be interesting to hear.

It's a real mystery how I ended up with the pin-pen merger. It's not typical of the St Louis area. (If you look at this map, you'll see how the isogloss even dips south to leave it out.) No one else in my family has it.

Y'all is actually used all the time in Chicago since it's a common feature of AAVE. Recently, I've begun hearing it from speakers with no connexion to the South. I think the stigma associated with it is fading and people are beginning to appreciate its usefulness.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby OyVey » 2016-10-30, 16:29

That means that you can't hear it when other people make the distinction between pin and pen, right? After studying linguistics, are you now able to hear the difference?
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-31, 1:15

OyVey wrote:That means that you can't hear it when other people make the distinction between pin and pen, right?

It's not the case that you always lack in perception what you lack in production. I can hear the difference perfectly well, I just don't make it unless I'm formally reciting a text.

OyVey wrote:After studying linguistics, are you now able to hear the difference?

Ironically, I was sensitised to the distinction by a German instructor who docked me for saying Englisch with [ɪ]. (I say "ironically" because, of course, English is pronounced with /ɪ/ even in dialects which preserve the distinction.)
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby OyVey » 2016-11-02, 2:58

Does the pin-pen merger work with other nasals as well, or just /n/?
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2016-11-02, 3:05

OyVey wrote:Does the pin-pen merger work with other nasals as well, or just /n/?

All nasals. Hem and him are homophones for me.

I don't think even General American contrasts /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ before /ŋ/, does it?
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby OyVey » 2016-11-02, 3:53

linguoboy wrote:
OyVey wrote:Does the pin-pen merger work with other nasals as well, or just /n/?

All nasals. Hem and him are homophones for me.

Interesting, didn't expect that. So you would say himp and himisphere for hemp and hemisphere.

I don't think even General American contrasts /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ before /ŋ/, does it?
I don't know if General American does, but I know that I do (not that there are many words with /ɛŋ/ to begin with, and most are place names or proper names that come to mind at the moment), with the words English and England being the exception, because I say them with /ɪŋ/. Interestingly enough my dictionary lists /ɛŋ/ as a rare variant pronunciation of England and English.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby OldBoring » 2016-11-02, 11:44

Here in Beijing I met an American who introduced himself to a bunch of Chinese people saying "My name is Bin". The average pin-pen merger seems unaware that this kind of pronunciation can confuse non-Americans.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby OyVey » 2016-11-02, 16:41

OldBoring wrote:Here in Beijing I met an American who introduced himself to a bunch of Chinese people saying "My name is Bin". The average pin-pen merger seems unaware that this kind of pronunciation can confuse non-Americans.
I met someone named "Bin". I thought it was a foreign name. :P
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2016-11-02, 20:18

OldBoring wrote:Here in Beijing I met an American who introduced himself to a bunch of Chinese people saying "My name is Bin". The average pin-pen merger seems unaware that this kind of pronunciation can confuse non-Americans.

Oddly, my brother's name is "Ben" and I pronounce it with [ɛ]. Probably because that's how he says it. I noticed some years ago that when I spell my surname aloud, I use [ɘʊ̯] because that's what my Baltimoron father uses when he spells it. And even though I'm Mary-marry-merry merged, I pronounce names like Harry, Barry, and Carrie with [æ] when their bearers hail from the Northeast (and therefore contrast these to hairy, berry, and Kerry).
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Mars80 » 2016-11-05, 0:34

i have the pin-pen merger where [ɛ] becomes [ɪ] before nasals. "lemme" as in "lemme see" however is [lɛmi] for me. it's the only word where i have [ɛ] before a nasal consonant.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby md0 » 2016-12-16, 13:05

How common is for "kilo" in English to refer to kilometres instead of kilogrammes?
A lot of subtitles translate Japanese "kiro" (which means kilometre or kilometre per hour in Japanese), as kilo in English, and I find it very annoying because it seems to me like they all fell for a false friend and never bothered to do research before translating.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2016-12-16, 22:47

md0 wrote:How common is for "kilo" in English to refer to kilometres instead of kilogrammes?

I don't recall hearing this. Normally it's abbreviated to "k" (pronounced /keː/), e.g. a "5 k" is a five-kilometre marathon. Armed forces slang is "klick", e.g. "We're now five klicks from the last checkpoint."
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby mōdgethanc » 2016-12-17, 1:47

I've heard "kilo" in reference to weight, but never distance, so I would say it's not a thing in English.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby md0 » 2016-12-17, 17:13

Thanks. I thought so too.
I hate it when translators mess up things like that.
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-11, 1:01

linguoboy wrote:In Chicago, we often refer to them as "Chicago's finest". (This is irony, as no one thinks that the finest people we have here work for the police department.)

I've seen a similar usage here, too (from the Peaceful Streets movement in reference to the Austin Police Department). Sometimes, "Finest" is also capitalized.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Kenny » 2017-04-30, 15:11

I was wondering if you could maybe help me with a play on words (I am currently subtitling an old Hungarian movie).

The dialogue, translated literally, goes something like this:

Boy: So you're researching the adrenal gland?
Doctor: Yes.
Boy: And what is that?
Doctor: How do I explain this? It possesses many functions, operating in as many as fifty different ways. We don't yet know all of them, but...
Boy: And where is it? Next to the kidney?
Friend: You know why he's so into kidneys?
Girl:Why?
Friend: Because he wants to have four.
Girl: Four kidneys?
Friend: That's right. ---> here comes the pun
[Egy jobb vese, egy bal vese, egy hitvese és egy kedvese.]
Vese means kidney.
A right kidney, a left kidney, a wife and a sweetheart.

I gave this quite a lot of thought, but couldn't really come up with anything witty.
I'd need something that:
- refers to some part of the body a simple man (the boy in question is a peasant I believe) wouldn't know the location of
and
- could be used to a create a pun like the pun above, not necessarily about the same thing, but keeping a similar theme would certainly be nice.

Heart + sweetheart doesn't really work because most people, regardless of their level of education, probably know where it is, more or less.

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby linguoboy » 2017-05-01, 2:09

Wow, tough one. Heart is the only organ English speakers really use as a term of endearment. I was trying to think if I could come up with three different puns on vein but I don't I can
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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Kenny » 2017-05-01, 6:32

It might be of interest to add that kedvese and hitvese are not compounds made up of noun+"kidney", but rather it's that the latter part of both words sound the same as "kidney". Not that this makes things easier, for sure.

kedves (lit.) - kind, gentle, as a noun: someone's love/partner/sweetheart; kedvese - his/her sweetheart
hitves - spouse; hitvese - his/her spouse

We were also unable to keep the theme in the French version:
Oui. Un rein droit, un rein gauche, un rein-n'à-foutre, et un rein-n'à-perdre !

I also don't think it's absolutely necessary to keep the same number of puns if it's nigh-on impossible. One pun is better than no pun, after all.

Thanks for giving it some thought, though. :-)

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Saim » 2017-05-01, 8:07

linguoboy wrote:This may be more of an Indian English question than a generic English question per se, but the other night I was passing the local jamatkhana and overheard part of an argument. A woman yelled at an older man, "I respect you as an elder but don't put the finger!" I don't know any idiomatic interpretation for put the finger in English, so the sentence makes no sense to me. Can anyone help?


In Urdu there is the following expression, which means to criticise, abuse or disgrace according to the Oxford Urdu dictionary:

انگلی اٹھانا (to raise one's finger)

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Re: Discussion Group

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-05-01, 15:49

Kenny wrote:It might be of interest to add that kedvese and hitvese are not compounds made up of noun+"kidney", but rather it's that the latter part of both words sound the same as "kidney". Not that this makes things easier, for sure.
I've been thinking about possible puns (including ones just based on chance similarities), but I think one problem is that most semi-obscure organs have distinctive names in English. Very little sounds like "kidney" or other organs I considered, like the liver, spleen, tonsils or appendix. There are actually probably a few puns to be had in "appendix", but they'd all be vulgar. Don't know if that's something you're open to. :o


Here's a "spleen" pun I thought of. I'm not impressed with it, partly because I wonder if viewers will know you're only supposed to have one spleen. Like, they might be pretty sure, but two of a given organ doesn't sound so outlandish either.

Boy: And where is it? Next to the spleen?
Friend: You know why he's so into spleens?
Girl: Why?
Friend: Because he wants a second one.
Girl: Two spleens?
Friend: Right. He's already vented the first one.
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