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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.


( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 23rd, 2003 11:39 pm (UTC)
Bueno. Lurker here, from Oklahoma. And no, don't sing that*^%&%$ song, please.

1. I guess it all depends on the sentance.. He dove into the water. I dived right into the conversation. I prefer dove though.

2. Given my writing style, probably B. Given my rural high school education.. definitely C.

3. There's no difference between which and witch, but there's a big difference between Wales and whales.

4. I stress the first syllable as a noun, the second as a verb.

5. If I'm not thinking about it, Coke. But I drink Pepsi. :) My dad calls it soda, or soda water.

6. Oh.. boy.. In Oklahoma we have quite a few. One that gets the biggest reaction is Miami. It is not like the Florida sunspot, but rather Mi-am-muh. Coger is another fun little town. Locals pronounce it as it's spelled, co-ger. Every single blessed weather guy here calls it Co-gar.

For the record, ever since I scrubbed the hick accent out of my voice, it's become more of a mimic accent. In my work, I talk to people from all over the states and the world, and they tend to think I have a Wisconsin accent, or another lightly accented Eastern origin.
Mar. 24th, 2003 04:28 pm (UTC)
heh, where I come from soda water is carbonated water with no flavouring, and soda is short for baking soda..
Mar. 23rd, 2003 11:56 pm (UTC)
1. b...both? i think i might interchange those a little bit.

2. b (this is a case of me using things learned while taking french to cover up a lack of knowledge of english grammar rules. certain words are okay to split an infinitive with - usually short ones, while longer ones must be tacked on the end.)

3. there should be a pronounciation difference, but i'm not sure i always make it clear.

4. t

5. B! B! B! (i get a lot of crap for this on the east coast)

6. i always "mispronounce" monticello, mn. i put that in quotes because i think really say it correctly (montichello), but it's actually pronounced montisello by its denizens. oh well.

and i am from st. paul, minnesota, although the last five years of living in virginia and connecticut have tainted me.
Mar. 24th, 2003 01:07 am (UTC)
1. The past tense of "dive" is:
a. dived

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
c. What the hell does "splitting an infinitive" mean?

3. False

4. True

a. soda
d. other: soft drinks

6. Hm, captital then. Oslo. lol. Oss-lo, not Aus-low, lol.

I learned speaking english at an american school in milan in 5th and 6th grand but all norwegians learn both british and american english at school + we pick up a whole lot from tv as everything's in english :) i prefer british english
Mar. 24th, 2003 04:28 am (UTC)
1) dove.
2) Wrong, wrong, wrong! Bad, bad, bad! But I still do it anyway. (We boldly go where no split infinitive has gone before!)
3) Only in my mind.
4) True.
5) Soda.
6) I no longer live near there, but I used to live near Louisville. Most people pronounce it Looeyville. It should be pronounced loo-a-vul.
Mar. 24th, 2003 06:19 am (UTC)
I speak proper English :P I actually learned to speak English in the Middle East, as I spent the first four years of my life there, but the rest of my time has mostly been spent in southern England.

a... I'm not sure actually. Hm.
d soft drinks, fizzy drinks
Erm... No especially tricky names near me, although there are some strange Welsh place names! Harrogate is pronounced more like "Harrow-gut" with the emphasis on the first syllable. In the North, where I am now, vowel sounds are short. A southerner would pronounce the northern town of Doncaster "Don-caaster" whilst a northerner would call it "Don-cah-ster".

Mar. 24th, 2003 06:20 am (UTC)
BTW, we don't even have root beer. What is it?
Mar. 24th, 2003 02:40 pm (UTC)
Not sure if it goes by another name over there... It's a non-alcoholic fizzy drink, originally flavored with some specific kind of root, probably artifically flavored for the most part, these days; sweet in taste (duh); dark brown in color (same color as Coke); gets a lot more foam on top than the average soft drink. Very good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream dropped into it. I don't think it has caffeine, but I might be mistaken.
Root beer - (Anonymous) - Mar. 24th, 2003 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rachel2205 - Mar. 25th, 2003 06:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - poo_head - Apr. 15th, 2003 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2003 06:55 am (UTC)
1. dove (but if you'd asked "dreamed/dreamt" I would have gotten really confused)
2. technically wrong, but ever since "to boldly go" the whole usage thing has been making serious inroads
3. no big difference, but I catch myself with little 'whuhs' in "which" sometimes (and don't get me started on those 'of-Ten' people)
4. true
5. soda
6. "Amherst" with an aspirated "H" and "Ore-GON" instead of "ORE-guhn"

I grew up in NYC.
Mar. 24th, 2003 08:57 am (UTC)
linguistics, bah
3.Ummm, difficult one. I think there's a difference between "which" and "witch" but not between "Wales" and "whales" so yeah.
4. True, when it's a verb
5.c (Yay for Texans, I think we're the few who do this)
6. I love this one. I went to summer camp near a small town, Burnett. Outsiders call it BurNETT. This has led to the nice rhyme, "It's BURnett, durn it, Cantcha (can't you) learn it?" That makes me happy just saying that ;-)
Mar. 24th, 2003 09:33 am (UTC)
1. b
2. a
3. f
4. t
5. b
6. Cornelius, Oregon. Many derelicts around here are fond of calling it "Kernelius". I could also offer up Forest Grove, Oregon. It is commonly referred to as Forest Grave, but then again that is due to the town being dead rather than mispronounced.
Mar. 24th, 2003 09:43 am (UTC)
1. b-dove
2. a-wrong!
3. false
4. true. When it's a verb, I accent the first syllable.
5. b-pop
6. Mille Lacs. People from the area seem to turn it into one word--pronounced MUH-lax.

I learned English in the Twin Cities in Minnesoooota. I never realized that answers other than (b) for question #5 existed....until I went to college out-of-state.
Mar. 24th, 2003 10:02 am (UTC)
I’m from Broadway, Virginia (in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley). I currently live in Winchester, VA (in the northern part of the Valley, 60 miles from Washington, DC). I tend to soften my “O” sounds more often than those around me.

1] b
2] I do not split infinitives in writing; however, when speaking, I’m not so conscious of it.
3] true
4] varies actually – "What is your AD-ress." "Ah-DRESS the envelope" of "The Gettysburg Ah-Dress"

a. soda
b. pop
(or: sodapop)

6. Already used: Staunton, Virginia is pronounced STAN-ton, not St–aunt-on.
Others: Danville, VA is locally pronounced as Denville, not DAN-ville.
Fulks Run is pronounces FAWLKS RUN.
The Shenandoah River/Valley is properly pronounced SHEN-AN-DOH-AH – locally it has been bastardized into SHEN-AN-DORA.
Mozet is pronounced MOH-ZAYE, not MO-ZET

(I could go on… )

Mar. 24th, 2003 10:52 am (UTC)
1. dove
2. always remember to never split an infinitive
3. nope
4. yes, where I live is my AD-dress, the President will ad-DRESS the nation...
5. pop
6. Miami, OK is Mymah, and Berryville, AR is Barville.

From the Missouri Ozarks
Mar. 24th, 2003 11:07 am (UTC)
Yay! Quiz!
Learned English in Denver, Colorado, so generic mid-western variety?

1. b. dove
2. a. wrong wrong wrong! bad bad bad!
3. True
4. True
5. In Denver, it's b. pop, but I've taken to using soda since moving to Kansas
6. Buena Vista - the ue in buena is not the typical diphthong, but rather is pronounced like a female sheep, ewe. Bewena Vista.
Mar. 24th, 2003 11:49 am (UTC)
I learned how to speak in Austin, Texas. I don't have that annoying Texan accent though. I think it skips intelligent people.

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

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
c. What the hell does "splitting an infinitive" mean? (damn, that disproves my intelligent people theory)

3. For me (i.e., you) there is a difference in pronunciation between "which" and "witch"; and between "Wales" and "whales": False
4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True

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

6. This isn't exactly a locality thing: We have a road called Manchaca, and IHOP has a plate called the Machaca. When I worked at IHOP, everyone ordered the MaNchaca.
Mar. 24th, 2003 11:57 am (UTC)
Scientifically speaking, I speak EastBay/NorCal (specifically the Berkeley dialect):

1. b. dove

2. b. Fine, if it makes the sentence flow better.

3. False.

4. False.

5. a. soda

6. What we get are the folks who aren't from here pronouncing the Spanish place names correctly for Spanish, but incorrectly for the way we incorrectly say it. Did that make any sense? Here are some funny examples:
Vallejo: pronounced by the locals as Val-AY-ho (correct Spanish would be WHY-eh-ho)
Alameda: Al-ah-MEE-dah (AH-la-may-dah)
Tiburon: Tib-YOU-rahn or Tib-OOO-rahn (Tib-ooo-ROHN)
Mar. 24th, 2003 02:59 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah...learning the faux-Spanish pronunciations since moving down here has been difficult. I wanted to say Va-ye-ho, at least. :)
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