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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

( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
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celticmommy
Mar. 24th, 2003 01:41 pm (UTC)
language stuff
1. dove
2. WRONG WRONG WRONG!
3. false (but I'm southern ... lol)
4. false
5. soda
6. Vidalia ...yes, where Vidalia onions are grown. Its "VIE dal (short a) ya". Do NOT pay attention to how Bobby Flay pronounces it on Food Network. It irks me to NO END.

Oh, you meant THOSE chemical weapons??? LOL

I swear the Iraqi military is using a DIFFERENT copy of the Geneva convention. "We're treating the POW's according to the Geneva convention and will continue to do so" and yet photographing the POWs and showing their interrogations on live tv is a direct infraction of the Geneva convention.

That, and the whole "if you suspect the other forces have pilots down in a river near you, shoot into the water, and set the banks on fire. They'll come out of hiding quicker and allow you to take them prisoner." Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
mollyringle
Mar. 24th, 2003 03:02 pm (UTC)
The P.O.W. situation is quite chilling, indeed. Well, they've been warned: we're keeping track of war crimes and we will prosecute.
Re: language stuff - (Anonymous) - Mar. 30th, 2003 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: language stuff - mollyringle - Mar. 30th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: language stuff - (Anonymous) - Mar. 30th, 2003 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: language stuff - mollyringle - Mar. 31st, 2003 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: language stuff - (Anonymous) - Apr. 1st, 2003 05:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Mar. 24th, 2003 03:41 pm (UTC)
I'm 17, white, from Ann Arbor, MI (college town in southeastern Michigan)
1. dove
2. splitting an infinitive is technically wrong, thus should not be done in writing, but it's alright to do so in speech because it's natural.
3. the "h" is silent (you probably already know this, but the "h"s used to be first, as in "hwat" instead of "what". i don't know how they got switched around.
4. i'll stress either sylable, they both sound natural.
5. soda, but only because my parents are from the east coast, and people look at you weird if you ask for "pop" there.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 25th, 2003 04:06 am (UTC)
Hi! Habitual lurker here...

1. Dove

2. "What the hell does "splitting an infinitive" mean?" Our English system is just bollocks... we seems to stop grammar at about grade 3 and spend the rest of our school lives pretending its not there and hiding under desks...

3. True

4. Never, also my name is Christine and i am always refered to as chris-TOIN.... O_o

5. Softdrink... i thought soda was something you use when cooking...

6. Indooroopilly... we all pronounce it indrapilly... i'm not sure why....

Oh, by they way... i'm from Brisbane, Australia

*waves somewhat*
mildred
Mar. 25th, 2003 05:19 am (UTC)
1 - I use a and b in different situations...
2 - c
3 - False, all the same to me :)
4 - False
5 - b, or more usually "fizzy stuff" or "fizzy drink"
6 - Ha, most Welsh places get mispronounced by non-Welsh people. Anything with a "ll" or a "ch" or a "f" (which should be pronounced as a v sound) gets mispronounced.

I guess some "foreigners" mispronounce places like Worcester (in England) as well which should be pronounced Wo (like in wo-man) - ster but some pronounce Wor-chester or Wo-chester.
bexone
Mar. 25th, 2003 05:52 am (UTC)
Born in Germany and lived there for two years, grew up in CA near San Francisco, currently live in Boston...

1. (b)
2. (b), unless you're writing a science lab report or a term paper in anything other than creative writing, in which case it is (a)
3. there is a tiny, tiny difference that you probably can't hear unless you're inside my head with me
4. true
5. (d) soft drinks, although very occasionally (a)
6. the aforementioned Worcester (Woostah) and Reading (Redding). Also Tremont Street, with no long "e", the accent on the first syllable, the second sounding somewhat like the "-ment" in "vehement."

Oh, and it's a milkshake, not a frappe, a drinking fountain, not a bubbler, and I eat plain old sandwiches, not heros, hoagies, or subs.
lordreaibn
Mar. 25th, 2003 07:58 am (UTC)
ehehehhehheh great!
starfishchick
Mar. 25th, 2003 10:35 am (UTC)
I grew up in Pickering, just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1. The past tense of "dive" is:
a. dived
b. dove
I've used both, but my preference is 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?
I'm an editor and I want to say a. but I have to be honest and say b. (I like "to boldly go" over "to go boldly".)

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.

4. I sometimes pronounce the word "address" with the accent on the first syllable (AD-dress): True or False?
True. Depends if I'm using it as a verb or a noun. I will ad-DRESS the delegation, but I have to write my AD-dress on the paper.

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

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.
Does this count? People who aren't from Toronto say To-ron-to, using the second "T". People who are from Toronto say something that sounds more like Tor-on-no.

Thanks for letting me play!
yukonqueen
Mar. 25th, 2003 02:14 pm (UTC)
Language Usage Questionnaire
1. The past tense of "dive" is:
b. dove

2. Splitting an infinitive is:
b. Fine, if it makes the sentence flow better.


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 (always. I'm Canadian)

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

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.

Shall I even get started on this topic? I live in Maritime Canada, and because of the large First Nations population, a vast majority of our areas have Malameet or Mic'q Maaq names.

Kouchibiguac. Pronunciation: KOO-ji-Bi(as in bit)-quack. I've heard it pronounced Kooshi-big-whack
oloriel
Mar. 27th, 2003 05:30 am (UTC)
Don't know if I count...
... since my English really is some mixture of British (at least I suppose it's British English you learn in German schools *g*), American and Canadian English. Anyway, I learned to speak English in Germany. *cough* But I stayed for half a year in Canada, so I suppose I learned some English there, too...
Alright, I'll try it anyway ;)

1. b)

2. b)

3. false

4. true

5. After Canada, I'd say b. But since in German "poppen" is a very informal expression for having sex, I better don't use that here... usually we name the drink. But on the menu, you would find it under "Alkoholfreie Erfrischungsgetränke". Which really is a long and stupid phrase. *g*

6. Coesfeld. It's not really close but anyway: Outsiders usually pronounce it "Kösfeld", the "ö" standing for the sound of French "eu" as in "fleur". Actually it should be pronounced with a long "o". Kawsfeld, sort of.
semielliptical
Mar. 27th, 2003 02:19 pm (UTC)
English language background: I grew up in Western New York state, with English-speaking parents.

1. dove
2. b
3. False
4. True
5. b
6. I'm sure some outsiders can pronounce it correctly, but most people from outside my area take a stab at Ypsilanti (Michigan) and come up with yip-si-lanti rather than ip - a small but significant difference.
shebit
Mar. 29th, 2003 05:05 pm (UTC)
I thought you could use an English set of answers. For the record, I'm from just outside London.

1. Dived

2. Splitting an infinitive quite often makes a sentence flow better.

3. Very slight difference between which and witch, none in Wales/whales.

4. The accent is on the second syllable - ad-DRESS

5. Soft drinks

6. My home town is called Esher, pronounced EA-sher, but outsiders ofter read it as eh-sher.

Very interesting set of questions.

Stubble update....
poopsmoothie
Mar. 29th, 2003 06:32 pm (UTC)
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?
(I waver between a and b; it's a little hard on the eye, but I do it all the time, so.)

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.

Olathe, pronounced O (short)-lay-thuh. Garrison Keillor called it 'O-lah-they' when he was here, eliciting much amusement from his audience.
scheisse_adc
Mar. 29th, 2003 08:55 pm (UTC)
1. a
2. a
3. false
4. true
5. a
6. niskayuna - it's pronounced "nis-KUH-yoo-nuh", not "NIS-kay-yoo-nuh" or "NI-sky-oo-nuh"
terimaru
Mar. 30th, 2003 06:08 am (UTC)


East Tennessee. Great linguistics opportunities at one time could be found here. My grandparents lived in Hancock County, the most remote and poorest section of the Appalachians. They once had a linguist visit them to record their speech. They were of English, Scottish, and Irish decent, and lived in such an isolated pocket of the mountains that they still used many Old English words from the 17th and 18th centuries such as “heerd, seed, Sarie” for heard, seen or saw, and Sarah. I have an extensive list I made somewhere, and I’m glad I kept it since my grandparents have passed. The area is much more modern now; but when visiting, you can still hear some of these great historical words in everyday speech. As for the questions, I look everything up. I’m a librarian-reference books are my life!

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

According to Merriam Webster: Dive, which was originally a weak verb, developed a past tense dove, probably by analogy with verbs like drive, drove. Dove exists in some British dialects and has become the standard past tense especially in speech in some parts of Canada. In the U.S. dived and dove are both widespread in speech as past tense and past participle, with dove less common than dived in the south Midland area, and dived less common than dove in the Northern and north Midland areas. In writing, the past tense dived is usual in British English and somewhat more common in American English. Dove seems relatively rare as a past participle in writing.

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?


The only rationale for condemning the construction is based on a false analogy with Latin. The thinking is that because the Latin infinitive is a single word, the English infinitive should be treated as if it were a single unit. But English is not Latin, and people split infinitives all the time without giving it a thought.

usage The split infinitive was discovered and named in the 19th century. 19th century writers seem to have made greater use of this construction than earlier writers; the frequency of occurrence attracted the disapproving attention of grammarians, many of whom thought it to be a modern corruption. The construction had in fact been in occasional use since the 14th century; only its frequency had changed. Even though there has never been a rational basis for objecting to the split infinitive, the subject has become a fixture of folk belief about grammar. You can hardly publish a sentence containing one without hearing about it from somebody. Modern commentators know the split infinitive is not a vice, but they are loath to drop such a popular subject. They usually say it's all right to split an infinitive in the interest of clarity. Since clarity is the usual reason for splitting, this advice means merely that you can split them whenever you need to.



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

True

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

Always with a street address, never when addressing a question

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

Coke. My dad says “dopes”, a really old word for Coke. Around here only a Yankee says soda or pop.

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.

Mosheim. Pronounced Mo-sheem with accent on the last syllable by out-of-towners and Yankees, Ma-sime with a long “i” and accent on the first syllable by locals.


mollyringle
Mar. 30th, 2003 10:56 am (UTC)
Very thorough - thank you!

I actually have two fellow grad students from TN (which is a little unusual, in California), so I get to hear some samples once in a while. Very interesting speech area.

It's been dismaying how many people are still saying that splitting an infinitive is wrong. I didn't think it would be such a popular answer, but it's got almost as many votes as the "doesn't matter" option.
twilight_star
Mar. 30th, 2003 01:19 pm (UTC)
1. (b)dove
2. (b)fine if it makes the sentence flow better
3. false
4. (a)soda
5. I'm not sure about this one, but everyone who lives here pronounces "Bel Air" as "Blair". It can get confusing.
twilight_star
Mar. 30th, 2003 01:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I live in Baltimore (hon!).
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