It is amazing that one person can so fluently change accents. UK Accents
As a French native speaker who learned English as a second language my late teens, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the structure of the English, and how it explains the most common mistakes that French people make when speaking English (as illustrated in the video).
Firstly, even though verbs and tenses have considerable areas of overlap in French and English (both have auxiliaries, participles, active/passive voice, past/present/future tenses), there are some major differences which may lead to a wrong choice of tense in English:
Also, there isn’t the auxiliary do in French to ask questions. Therefore, learners may say the statement He is rich? With a question intonation:?. They may also invert subject and verb as they would in French: How often call you her?
Even though English and French both use the same basic Subject-Verb-Object syntax, there are a lot of variations in the word order of sentences, which are more complicated than the straight forward I ate a salad for lunch. A few common errors are:
Finally, the use of articles in French is not identical to English even though similar. French pronouns are based on the gender of the noun they are associated with. Also, the possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they qualify, which leads to the following mistakes:
I would like to introduce about varieties of English. In general, a lot of people may think that English is all the same. But, there are so many differences depending on countries; and, they are pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and grammar.
US: Have you gotten?
British: Have you got?
US: Did you eat?
British Have you eaten?
These differences are very interesting. Even though technically people who are in a English-speaking country use same language, but there are a number of differences.
You can click and link to videos on Youtube.
English is a global language. This means that it is used all around the world. Unfortunately, as English has spread worldwide, the level of native proficiency has not been maintained. In many places English has become lost in translation – many communities that do not speak English natively have translated instructions and signs accordingly to what makes sense in their native language, without realizing that the rules of expression can be different from language to language , culture to culture. Some signs and instructions have been that poorly translated, that they have become unrecognizable and incomprehensible to the native eye. The most concerning thing out of all of this is that, not only learners of English in these societies are unaware of these flaws, they actually learn and reproduce these flaws and incorporate them in their English interlanguage.
The versatility of the English language is fascinating. I particularly like the flexibility with which English not only embraces new words, but also inflects them. Although English is often criticised for its multiple irregularities, it has many standard suffixes, such that once a new word is created it is easily inflected to form a noun, a verb, an adverb, and even an adjective.
For example, if I created the word “linguished” (meaning linguistically exhausted), most native speakers would intuitively recognise it as a past tense verb. As a present tense verb it would be “linguish”, in the progressive it would be “linguishing”, as a noun it would be “linguishment”, as an adjective it would be “linguishtic” and as an adverb “linguishingly”.
Specific industries are particularly adept at the creation of new words. For example, the cosmetic industry has taken the adjective “matt”, meaning dull or without shine, and created the verb “mattify”, to describe the process of using cosmetics to reduce skin oiliness. This is further inflected to form “mattifying” and “mattified”, as well as the noun form, “mattifier”.
Interestingly, although “mattifying” is listed in online dictionaries as a verb, its most common usage is as an adjective, “mattifying powder”. This can be checked using B&B rules for adjectives:
For the creative among us who are interested in making their own mattifying powder, learn how to on this YouTube video:
I recently came across an interview with Stephen King regarding his book On Writing. In the interview King reminisces on his earlier years of grammar teaching and explains how he approached high school students. Rather than forcing tedious old books and grammatical theories onto his students, King preferred to use contemporary novels and treated diagramming as a game. Additionally King discusses a few of his grammatical pet peeves and rule discrepancies.
Despite this modern teaching style, King appears to abhor all abbreviations, such as LOL and YOLO, and broad generalizations, like “some people say”. Although these terms are commonly used, particularly among younger English speakers, King feels their use is “lazy” and “make(s) me want to kick something”. Unfortunately the interview does not explicitly clarify whether or not King is opposed to the terms in general or only when used in academic writing.
Later in the interview King deviates from the norm when discussing commas. King explains his preference for either using or not using the Oxford comma, depending on the effect he is looking for. When he is aiming to list items, King places the comma before and, however if he “wants to feel that whole thing as a single breath” then he removes the comma. I found that this was a particularly unique take on the use of the comma. Instead of having one size fits all rule King’s approach is context based. This is a principle which I feel could apply to various other grammatical rules.
Please feel free to read the entire interview at the link below:
I am a supporter of Norwegian singer PelleK and he posted this video about singing in foreign languages that he doesn’t actually know by using the distinct sounds each language has.
Although I must apologise, there are a couple of inappropriate comments when he puts on his glasses and at the very end. If you don’t mind that then the language part of the video seemed relevant and amusing.
Abbott and Costello’s Who‘s on first base skit reminded me of the different sentence types and their form verses their function. Here, Abbott and Costello repeatedly use the Wh- words that are typically used for questions to make statements. This creates so much ambiguity and you have to really listen to keep up with the meaning. Nevertheless, it is ridiculously funny. There is also a later sequel version that follows the same premise.
So I have tried this about 4 times now and my computer keeps crashing so I’m attempting it on my phone. I have lost everything I wrote basically I wanted to share this clip with everyone as it is amusing. I came across it when I was researching my essay (I was reading about the history of ‘settler Englishes’). I wanted to hear more of the English accents that the Aussie and US accents came from
I’d like to point out that I was really impressed with Truseneye92 not just because of his accents, but also his use of vocabulary and grammar. He has really nailed it! Cutting this shirt if I lose another post I’ll jus about give up!!! Enjoy guys – Sally.
… I was shocked too.
Recently he has released this song; Weird Al’s Word Crimes. Weird Al is apparently quite the prescriptivist and is annoyed enough about how other people speak to write a song about it.
There is an excellent show on Perth’s RTR FM radio called talk the talk.
A few weeks ago Daniel and Ben pulled this song apart and touch on some great language issues and why language peeves are silly. The presenters talk about how language is and has been used in the past, that language is ever evolving and about code switching amongst other things.
The podcast exists here —>Talk the Talk – Word Crimes
This seemed relevant to me in relation to some discussions early on in the unit about how we use words and prescriptivism.
It is well worth the listen and you may just want to listen to more. (There’s also a great one on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis!)
I thought this comic was a perfect example of how English grammar has been changed, and what each English speaker considers good, bad, or even ‘acceptable grammar’. This comic relates to ‘Got milk?’ a very successful campaign ran by the American advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
What is interesting to note is that this campaign is grammatically incorrect, but not incomprehensible to native English speakers. According to Borjars & Burridge (2010), the basic structural characteristic of English interrogatives is (operator (finite auxillary) – subject – rest of predicate). Curiously, ‘Got Milk?’ is completely missing a subject and also considering that ‘Got’ is in its past participle form of ‘get’, this incomplete phrase is also missing the perfect-past marker ‘have’. In English, one typically does not form questions by using the past tense of a verb: “cooked food?” “Made cake?”.
As comically demonstrated in the picture above, a grammatically acceptable interpretation of ‘Got Milk?’ could be ‘have you got (any) milk’? or, ‘do you have milk?’. Interestingly, the use of ‘got’ in lieu of ‘have’ is typical of British English, not standard American.
I feel the advertisers used the past tense ‘got’ to invoke its possessive quality, such as ‘are you in possession of milk? Or ‘have you remembered to pick up milk’, though these long-winded phrases don’t communicate well with the busy consumer.
The ‘Got Milk?’ campaign used a cool, catchy and slange-like way of communicating with its desired audience, even creating a craze out of it.
This campaign spurred many other parodies, such as PETA’s anti-milk initiative ‘Got Pus?’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Got_Milk%3F
It is also interesting to note that the ‘Got Milk’ campaign is not alone in this industry. Many advertising slogans appear to use incorrect grammar in order to reach their audience: Apple’s ‘Think Different’ as opposed to ‘Think Differently’, and Subway’s ‘Eat Fresh’ (Eat Freshly).
Hugh Laurie, the quintessential Englishman, had millions of Americans believing that he was just as American as his television character Gregory House. It’s all in the accent it seems – the pronunciation; learning the phonology of a particular dialect and copying it. Hugh Laurie did it so well that he fooled millions and, even when it became widely known that he is not in fact American, his character of House was still accepted as being so.
What a bobby-dazzler you are Hugh. You’re a bottler! Of course, if I did meet Hugh and told him I thought he was a ‘bottler’ he would not be pleased and accept the compliment; instead, no doubt he would be extremely offended. The reason is that, even though we may be able to ‘trick’ people by sounding like we belong to a certain cultural/social group, it is our understanding (or misunderstanding) of the semantics and different ways of using words within that group which indicate ‘belonging’ and that is harder to replicate. For me a ‘bottler’ is Australian slang meaning that a person is exceptional – their blood is worth bottling. On the other hand, in English slang, a ‘bottler’ is a coward. (http://www.bbc.co.uk).
So then, apart from Standard English and regional dialects and different accents, we also have speech registers that are “varieties associated with particular contexts or purposes” (Borjars & Burridge, 2010, p. 8). Slang, regional idioms and colloquialisms are part of a socio-cultural speech register.
To illustrate this, I have chosen a YouTube video showing Hugh Laurie and Ellen DeGeneres baffling with their slang. Please enjoy.
Borjars, K. and Burridge, K. (2010). Introducing English grammar. (2ed). London: Hodder Education.