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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.


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.