American English is Often Weird

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    The Word of the Day for December 21, 2007 is:

    passel • \PASS-ul\ http://www.merriam-webster.com/images/audio.gif • noun
    : a large number or amount

    Example Sentence:
    Knowing that there will be a passel of phone and e-mail messages to deal with, Rob is dreading going back to work after his two-week vacation.

    Did you know?
    Loss of the sound of "r" after a vowel and before another consonant in the middle of a word is common in spoken English. This linguistic idiosyncrasy has given our language a few new words, including "cuss" from "curse," "bust" from "burst," and our featured word "passel" from "parcel." The spelling "passel" originated in the 15th century, but the word's use as a collective noun for an indefinite number is a 19th-century Americanism. It was common primarily in local-color writing before getting a boost in the 1940s, when it began appearing in popular weekly magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and the Saturday Review.
     
  2. No_Strings

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    Speak English.
     
  3. BiItalianBro

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  4. Mem

    Mem
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    American Chinese is even weirder.:wink:
     
  5. SpeedoGuy

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    Overuse of the word "weird" itself seems to annoy English speakers from other countries.
     
  6. whatireallywant

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    That's such a weird thing to say! Why would English speakers from other countries be weirded out by the word "weird"? That's just too weird! :biggrin1:
     
  7. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    Geordie word for the day = Wattle eg I bought some new shoes but they were too tight so I took them back and bought a pair wattle fit me. :wink:
     
  8. jorpollew

    jorpollew Member

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    Interesting. I consider myself as sort of a wordsmith. I am fascinated by native and slang vernacular, as well as the derivation of words.

    There are so many "Americanized" words and phrases that we often forget (or never know) its original usage or purpose. To speak the English language is one challenge, but to learn American English is a bigger challenge. I have friends that are bi-lingual, and they agree American English is among the hardest to learn and to teach.
     
  9. slate_australis

    slate_australis New Member

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    Oh please... American English is NOTHING compared to Australian english.
     
  10. earllogjam

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    Pray tell jorpollew, what is an "Americanized" English word?

    Is that like giddyup, chaw, vittles...etc.
     
  11. Calboner

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    They might have mentioned in this connection the American use of "ass" for the posterior— a conflation of "arse" (posterior) with "ass" (donkey). I think that it is a terrible loss that we haven't got the delightful word "arse" over here.

    I don't know what Jorpollew meant by "Americanized" English, but of those examples, "giddyup" is probably the only one of American origin (from "Get ye up," I imagine). I would bet that "chaw" is just a dialectal form of "chew" that came over from England. "Vittles" is just a quasi-phonetic spelling of "victuals" (as "chitlins" is of "chitterlings" and "britches" is of "breeches"), so at most it is an American spelling rather than an American word.
     
  12. D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah

    D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah Account Disabled

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    I still don't know

    :confused:
     
  13. hotguy8884

    hotguy8884 New Member

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    Well, this thread is... cool...
     
  14. simcha

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    How weird. I just find it so weird that we are discussing our weird way of speaking this already weird language called "English." It's just so weird that all of us would weirdly find this weird thread at the same time. That's just weird.
     
  15. Principessa

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  16. sjprep06

    sjprep06 New Member

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    Well American English is a bit of a mutt language...
     
  17. str82fcuk

    str82fcuk Member

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    All languages are mutt languages and all languages are difficult and all languages are weird, all of which is why I love all languages and all versions of them. There really is no one correct form of any language no matter how many people are convinced their version is the correct one. I might also add that the distinction between languages and dialects is linguistically arbitrary and is primarily political.

    The interesting thing about English is that as an imperial global dominant language it is now going the same way as Latin, being spoken in more and more places that all ultimately craft their own version of the language. If you want wierd English you should all try out Indian English for size. (Fortunately that very important version is one of the mere handful I am familiar with, although there are many other versions of English that are even more interesting).

    One of the many reasons most English-speakers never get around to learning other languages is that they are so busy learning different versions of their own language, which is a really good thing, but also really too bad because other languages are really worth learning too (and they usually only have a tiny fraction of the number of different versions that English has).

    Anyway I have to say that in any case I am still learning English even if I do dabble in other languages, so thank you all for all your contributions to njqt33's thread :)
     
  18. jorpollew

    jorpollew Member

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    earlogjam--
    I was referring to simple everyday American expressions that are difficult to translate literally and laterally. For instance: "What's up?" or "Wassup?"/ "I got ya" or "I gotcha"/ "Step on it!", "Do it in a jiffy!" or "Make it snappy!"

    And how often do Americans turn a noun (like "clock") into a verb?
    to "clock in" or "clock out"
    to "clock" someone on the chin
    a runner's time was "clocked" at....

    To a non-American or an ESL student (English as second language), these words and phrases can be quite confusing to learn, understand and/or use.


    Thanks for the giddyup reference. Always like to learn something new.
     
  19. jorpollew

    jorpollew Member

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    Sounds fascinating. Could you please elaborate?

    One of my shortcomings is not learning to speak a foreign language fluently. I really think I'd enjoy it!
     
  20. B_sugarandspice

    B_sugarandspice New Member

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    what is local-color?
     
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