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Language usage questionnaire

There have been requests for me to post more about linguistics (no, seriously; there have), so, here are my usage-questions for you. There are no right answers in usage questions; I'm just curious. And, please, in order for this to be scientific (hah), let me know what variety of English you speak (i.e., where you learned to speak English - and try to be more specific than "America" if you wish to be useful).

1. The past tense of "dive" is:
a. dived
b. dove

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
a. Wrong wrong wrong! Bad bad bad!
b. Fine, if it makes the sentence flow better.
c. What the hell does "splitting an infinitive" mean?

3. For me (i.e., you) there is a difference in pronunciation between "which" and "witch"; and between "Wales" and "whales": True or False?

4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True or False?

5. Pepsi, 7-Up, Orange Crush, root beer: collectively these are all called:
a. soda
b. pop
c. Coke
d. other (write-in)

6. Just for fun: the shibboleth question: give me the name of a town/locality near you that no outsiders can pronounce right, and try to tell us how it's really pronounced. My example: Willamette, in Oregon (name of a river among other things), is pronounced with the stress on the LAM, not the WILL. Saying WILL-a-met is the sure mark of an outsider.

Comments

( 72 comments — Leave a comment )
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evil_holls
Mar. 23rd, 2003 06:22 pm (UTC)
Yah for distractions! I learned english in western PA, where we "red" up our rooms. ^_~

1. b
2. c
3. False
4. True
5. B
6. Lebanon, PA. Pronounced with the stress on the "ba", with a short "a" sound. It's le-BA-non, not le-BAN-non
raethe
Mar. 23rd, 2003 07:50 pm (UTC)
Lebanon.
I always got a kick out of people that came through thinking Lebanon Bologna was a middle eastern sausage. Oh, and that the streets were teaming with little clones of Danny Thomas.
(no subject) - jennae - Mar. 23rd, 2003 10:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
versinae
Mar. 23rd, 2003 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oooh... quiz = not doing biology reading...

I grew up in Massachusetts, altho I do go to school in Oregon now, and learned about the WilLAMette River when I moved here.

1) dove

2) b

3) no difference

4) Verb usage (she addressed the crowd and he addressed the letter) has the second syllable accented. Noun form (my address is...) has it on the first syllable.

5) soda

6) Town in Massachusetts, which I admittedly have never been to, Scituate, is pronounced SITCH-you-it. First syllable is SITCH as in "snitch" minus the N. Second syllable is "you" like the pronoun, and third syllable is "it" like the other pronoun. The second two syllables are short and kind of clipped. Yeah.
cenire
Mar. 23rd, 2003 06:32 pm (UTC)
1. The past tense of "dive" is:
b. dove

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
a. Wrong wrong wrong! Bad bad bad!
(I used to be more choice "b" until I learned it was bad, and I am a Grammarbitch so it now bothers me intensely.)

3. For me (i.e., you) there is a difference in pronunciation between "which" and "witch"; and between "Wales" and "whales": True or False?
False, actually, but I sometimes do hand motions to emphasize which one I mean.

4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True or False?
True. When I use it as a verb, it's always with the accent on the second syllable; as a noun, usually with the accent on the first.

5. Pepsi, 7-Up, Orange Crush, root beer: collectively these are all called:
a. soda

I'll try to think of an answer for #6 later. :)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 23rd, 2003 06:49 pm (UTC)
Jen (http://jenspeaks.blogspot.com) here.

I love linguistics...I should have studied that in college rather than communications.

To answer your questions:

Where I learned English - hard to say since I'm a military brat and lived all over the US and England as a kid. My parents were a huge language influence on me and both are from Northern Virginia/DC area.

1. a
2. a
3. f
4. t
5. a
6. Potomac (it's puh-TOE-mick, but many say POT-o-mack)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 23rd, 2003 06:52 pm (UTC)
my two cents
I received my education almost exclusively in New Hampshire.

1. dove
2. c
3. false
4. rarely, but i've done it a couple of times
5. soda
6. Two that come to mind are Worcester and Reading, MA. Worcester is 'wo' - as in wood, and 'stir'. But if you want to sound like a real native, it's 'wo-stah'. Reading is the past tense version of 'read', not the present.
poo_head
Apr. 15th, 2003 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: my two cents
.. Is that Worcester spelled the same as in Worcester Sause? 'Cause everyone I know (i come from australia) says it 'wo-stuh-sheer' Emphasis on wo, as in wood.

Odd.
maidazia
Mar. 23rd, 2003 07:10 pm (UTC)
I grew up in the midwest [Illinois] and on the east coast [Maryland].

1. The past tense of "dive" is:
b. dove

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
a. Wrong wrong wrong! Bad bad bad!

3. For me (i.e., you) there is a difference in pronunciation between "which" and "witch"; and between "Wales" and "whales": True or False?
After careful testing, I have come to the conclusion that I make a slightly different noise when saying "whales" and "which" than "Wales" and "witch". Little bit of a "whuh"

4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True or False?
Both. Not in everyday speech, but when asking customers for their addresses, I tend to stress it, especially if there is a lot of background noise.

5. Pepsi, 7-Up, Orange Crush, root beer: collectively these are all called:
a. soda [when living in Maryland]
b. pop [grew up saying it this way]

6. Just for fun: the shibboleth question: give me the name of a town/locality near you that no outsiders can pronounce right, and try to tell us how it's really pronounced.
Newark. As in Newark Delaware. Not pronounced New-Erk [as in New Jersey]. Said New-Ark. Also Charleston Maryland. Said "Charles-TOWN". Yes. We're odd.
mira_fastfire
Mar. 23rd, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC)
Re: O_O
1. b
2. c
3. false
4. true
5. a
6. Soquel. "Quel" is pronouned "kel" -- it's Spanish. But nooooo...outsiders pronounce it like the Qu in Quail. LOL if that makes any sense.
raethe
Mar. 23rd, 2003 07:46 pm (UTC)
Learned something resembling english in north central pennsylvania.

1.b
2.b
3. True for part a. False for part b.
4. True.
5. soda or softdrink (Which is a rather silly term for it.)
6. New Berlin, I guess. New BURL-en, instead of that kraut burg.
celli
Mar. 23rd, 2003 08:05 pm (UTC)
I learned to speak English in the Midwest--specifically, South Dakota. :)

1. The past tense of "dive" is:
a. dived
b. dove


Either? Although I'm more likely to use "dove" in writing, and "dived" in conversation.

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
b. Fine, if it makes the sentence flow better.
c. What the hell does "splitting an infinitive" mean?


b. Antiquated Latin rules. Oy. *g*

3. For me (i.e., you) there is a difference in pronunciation between "which" and "witch"; and between "Wales" and "whales": True or False?

Yes, but only a slight one.

4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True or False?

True.

5. Pepsi, 7-Up, Orange Crush, root beer: collectively these are all called:
a. soda
b. pop
c. Coke
d. other (write-in)


b, although I submit to peer pressure and use a on either coast.

6. Just for fun: the shibboleth question: give me the name of a town/locality near you that no outsiders can pronounce right, and try to tell us how it's really pronounced. My example: Willamette, in Oregon (name of a river among other things), is pronounced with the stress on the LAM, not the WILL. Saying WILL-a-met is the sure mark of an outsider.

hee! The capitol of South Dakota is Pierre. Not Pi-erre, like the French word, but one word, peer.

Similarly, the town I was raised in, Lead, is pronounced like the thing you do that others follow (leed), not the stuff in pencils.
jennae
Mar. 23rd, 2003 10:46 pm (UTC)
Whoa....that's not somewhere I ever expected anyone to be from. I got married in Mystic, SD. :)
Re: - celli - Apr. 1st, 2003 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: - jennae - Apr. 1st, 2003 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
curvature
Mar. 23rd, 2003 08:28 pm (UTC)
I come from New Zealand.
My own family are originally from England and Norway, and while the typical NZ accent sounds similar to Australian but softer spoken, rounder vowels and not nasal (if they say the word Six, it sounds like 'sex' wheras we say it the way the english and Americans do), I don't speak like most kiwis and have a much more English sounding accent. It doesn't fool any British folks, but it definitely confuses kiwis ;)

1. dove

2. understandable considering how many people don't know what one is..

3. True. I come from an English (as in from England) family and we pronounce all 'wh' words significantly different than 'w' words. But most kiwis do pronounce wh as a hard w.

4. True - but I'm not American, we speak entirely differently to you guys.

5. Fizzy Drink, or we refer to these drinks by their actual names - cola, lemonade, sparkling orange etc (we don't have rootbeer or orange crush)

6. Pupuke. Pronounced Poo-pookie it causes endless problems for anyone not from NZ. Also Whangaparaoa (fonga-pa-rower), Ngaruawahia (narru-wahee-ah), and Paraparaumu (correctly pronounced Para-para-ooh-moo, the locals just say para-param). Actually, outsiders have problems with just about any Maori place name here.

7. um, what's a shibboleth?
curvature
Mar. 23rd, 2003 08:41 pm (UTC)
ooh, and we call fizz drink 'softdrink' as well. Sorry, I forgot about it until one of your other respondants wrote it :)
(no subject) - poo_head - Apr. 15th, 2003 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
valarltd
Mar. 23rd, 2003 09:00 pm (UTC)
OK, I learned English in rural western Missouri (miz-ur-uh to you!)
1) dived
2) b, Ok for dramatic effect or flow. Too much is German.
3) There is a difference now, because I'm careful and have scraped the rural accent off my tongue. I was raised pronouncing them the same. I also said "worshington"
4) True, all the time
5) pop. If you say Soda you're from St. Louis
6) Missouri (miz-ur-uh), Desha county (De-shay), Hughes (hell, I'm joking)

(Anonymous)
Mar. 23rd, 2003 09:47 pm (UTC)
From Iowa, where we don't have any sort of accent whatsoever. Also English major, and student of Greek and Latin. Avoid religiously the use of the pronoun "I". ;)

1. Dove in writing and formal speaking, dived when I'm not really thinking about what I'm saying.
2. Splitting infinitives: Don't pay much attention in speaking, avoid as much as possible in writing, unless it's funny. ex: (Douglas Adams) "...to boldly split infinitives no man has split before!"
3. Slight difference pronouncing the h, but only in careful, formal speech.
4. AD-dress, noun, place where someone lives. ad-DRESS, noun, speech; verb, write address on envelope, speak.
5. Pop, but I usually drink Coke brand pop.

6. State capital: Des Moines (Duh MOIN); nearby towns Madrid (MA-drid) and Nevada (ne-VAY-duh), just to throw people off.

-Nithy
miriad
Mar. 23rd, 2003 10:11 pm (UTC)
1) dove
2) a
3) true, although the difference isn't very much and only really applies to which/witch
4) false
5) b pop
6) Ypsilanti, MI - pronounced with an 'IP' sound at the beginning, so Ipsilanti. Saying "Yip" (like the sound a little dog makes) is a sure sign of an out of towner.

Btw, learned to speak english in northwest Ohio.
jennae
Mar. 23rd, 2003 10:40 pm (UTC)
Word Fun YAY!
I learned my English starting in Central California -> San Antonio -> Colorado -> Idaho -> Oregon -> Idaho. :)

1. Dove
2. A - Oh so wrong (unless of course you're doing a creative and unconventional piece, then of course anything goes),
3. No diff
4. Sometimes true, but most of the times, it's uh-dress.
5. A/B split - Soda-Pop
6. Boise - If you live near here, it's Boy-See with an equal emphasis on both syllables, if you don't it's usually Boy-Zee with the emphasis on the Zee. Bleh.
sylveraven
Mar. 23rd, 2003 11:05 pm (UTC)
english questions
I grew up in Virginia... right outside of Charlottesville, to be specific. Which would make it... somewhere near Central Va, I guess.

1. b
2. a (although, I will admit to occasionally using b)
3. False
4. True
5. a
6. Staunton, Va, pronounced STAN-ton, not ST-aunt-on. Or, the town where I'm from... Covesville is pronounce COHs-ville. V? what V?
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