British and American pronunciation: a link

All you pronunciation hounds out there, you might be interested in Lynne Murphy’s post “Filet, fillet and the pronunciation of other French borrowings.” It takes up some of the  issues I raised in “British and American pronunciation and other ways of getting in trouble,” only she’s a linguist and–oh, this is so sad–far more knowledgeable than I’m ever likely to be. Go visit. Enjoy yourself.

11 thoughts on “British and American pronunciation: a link

  1. Very fascinating read, Ellen. My husband makes fun of me because I sometimes find that I actually think in an English accent. Sometimes I have to remember I am living in America, LOL. It might have something to do with being a theatre major. Yes, I realized I spelled or spelt it the British way. ;)

    Liked by 2 people

    • At one point I had my computer divided so that Word on one side was set to American English and on the other side to British, so I didn’t have those nasty little lines complaining about Zs and Ss. It was a great idea, and I was forever on the wrong side, so I gave up and learned to let it complain while I ignore it. It’s probably good practice for life in general.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I get annoyed by the ‘could care less’ (American English) and ‘couldn’t care less’ British English. I saw an explanation of the American version being ironic. But that doesn’t do it for me as the British version is, too! Once upon a time my brain wasn’t as foggy as it is now and I could probably have explained (and understood) the grammatical logic behind both, but those days are gone.

    Something I think a lot of fellow Brits don’t realise is that sometimes American English MUST be used: for computer language. For instance, ‘centre’ won’t work to format a word, sentence or paragraph, but ‘center’ will. Ditto ‘colour’ won’t work, but ‘color’ will. It’s been written in American English and we Brits are stuck with it… But I’m happy to use American English if it gets a good result.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s all a plot to undermine British independence.

      Oops. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Sorry.

      I think the American could care less grew out of shorthand colliding with a lack of attention to the actual meaning of the words. But words and phrases do change their meanings and have throughout history, so why shouldn’t that one? Literally is doing the same thing, coming to mean figuratively. It drives me nuts, but that won’t stop it.


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