Author Topic: English language pet peeves  (Read 4244 times)

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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2010, 01:11:59 am »
Ok, so you are saying that English is ambiguous and there are many mistakes?
Then you should learn Portuguese and you'd see what is ambiguous, mistakes and hard stuff.
That said, I will tell you some things that are really hard, sometimes stupid, in Portuguese and also some mistakes.

<cut for length>


Sran, European languages...  ::)

Though in terms of spelling, the potential messiness of Portuguese doesn't compare to the messiness with English.  There are so much more spellings for any given letter, or even a digraph, which are based mainly on French, Latin, Germanic languages, and sometimes Greek.

As such, here are the spelling-to-phoneme correspondences (do I dare try the reverse...):
A

Final aC: {æ}
Medial aCC: {æ}
Final aCe: {eɪ}/{eː}
Medial aCV: {eɪ}/{eː}
{ɑ} in the word father, and also loanwords
ae digraph that used to be written as an æ: {iː}
ai/ay: {eɪ}/{eː} (possibly the vane-vain MERGER), excepting said/says, where it is {ɛ}
air/ayer: {ɛ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɛɚ}/{eɚ}
al: {ɑ}/{ɒ}/{ɔ}
ar: {ɑɹ}, {ɑ} in non-rhotic dialects
are: {ɛ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɛɚ}/{eɚ}
au: {ɔ} ({ɑ} if the father-bother and cot-caught MERGERS are used)
aur: see or-spelling
Unstressed letter/vowel digraph: {ə}/{ɪ̈}

B

b and bb (and bh in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {b}
Silent after an m except when there's a syllable break (plum-plumb MERGER).
Also silent before a t

C

c before e, i, or y: usually {s} except for etymological reasons (e.g. Celtic, cello)
c elsewhere: {k}
cc before e, i, or y: usually {ks} except when treated etymologically as the geminate of a single consonant (e.g. capuccino, soccer)
ch: {ʧ}, although {k} is not uncommon, and used to be {x} (cord-chord MERGER), rarely is it actually {x}
ci: {ʃ} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a vowel hiatus
ck: {k} (not geminate)
cn, ct: used to be {kn}, {kt}, but now the initial element is dropped, while the spelling remains intact
{ʃ} in ocean, for a reason I do not know

D

d and dd (and dh in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {d}
Sometimes a {t} for morphemic reasons
du: {ʤu} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a syllable break (this is because normally, a u is pronounced using the sequence {ju})

E

Silent vowel-lengthening marker at the end of words
Final eC: {ɛ}
Medial eCC: {ɛ}
Final eCe: {iː}
Medial eCV: {iː}
Sometimes may be {i} in word-final position
Unstressed at the beginning of words: varies from {ə} to {ɪ} to {i}
ea: {iː}, although may also be {eː}, {ɛ}, and it is {ɪ} in the word really
ee: {iː}, {ɪ} in the word been (compare to the above and you get the meet-meat MERGER)
ei/ey: {eɪ}/{eː}, although it is also {aɪ} in the word height (comparing to ai/ay above there is the vein-vain MERGER)
Unstressed er: {ə} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɚ}
Stressed er: {ɜ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɝ}, or even {ɛɹ} in rhotic dialects without the fern-fir-fur MERGER
this can also be {ɛ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɛɚ}/{eɚ}
ear/eer/ere: {ɪ} (non-rhotic)/{ɪɹ}, (and elsewhere in dialects without the fern-fir-fur merger)/{iɹ}
Unstressed letter/vowel digraph: {ə}/{ɪ̈}

F

f and ff are pronounced the same: {f}
{v} in the word of

G

g before e, i, or y: usually {ʤ} except for a few words (get, give) where {g} is used, also {ʒ} in French loanwords (e.g. beige, rouge)
g elsewhere: {g}
gg before e, i, or y: usually {ʤ}
gh: silent, and used to be {x} (taut-taught MERGER).  It is also {f}, and also {g} in syllable-initial position
gn: used to be {gn}, but now the initial element is dropped, while the spelling remains intact.  In loanwords it is {nj} (based on the traditional etymological pronounciation of {ɲ}).  Yet it is just {n} in words like sign (MERGED with sine)
gu: {g}, used in words like guess, and a spelling based off of French

H

Only sounded as a {h} in syllable-initial position, although it can be silent in words like hour honest and vehicle (yet not vehicular)
Other times, it is used more as a phoneme-quality marker

I

Final iC: {ɪ}
Medial iCC: {ɪ}
Final iCe: {aɪ}
Medial iCV: {aɪ}
ie: usually {aɪ} although it can also be {iː} in words like field
ir: {ɪ} (non-rhotic)/{ɪɹ}, (and elsewhere in rhotic dialects without the fern-fir-fur merger)/{iɹ}, could also be {ɜ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɝ}
ier: {ɪ} (non-rhotic)/{ɪɹ}, (and elsewhere in rhotic dialects without the fern-fir-fur merger)/{iɹ}
Unstressed letter/vowel digraph: {ə}/{ɪ̈}

J

Usually {ʤ}, {ʒ} in French loanwords (e.g. julienne)
{j} in hallelujah, fjord, and maybe other Germanic loanwords
{h} (etymologically {x}) in jalapeño and other Spanosh loanwords, yet is silent in marijuana

K

k and kk (and kh in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {k} (kh may sometimes be {x})
kn: used to be {kn}, but now the initial element is dropped, while the spelling remains intact

L

l and ll are pronounced the same: {l}.  Sometimes may be the solidified (velarized) {ɫ}
le (also word-final el and il): {əl}/{l̩}
Silent letter in these unbroken combinations: olk, alk, alf, and sometimes alm (I still pronounce the l there, though ;))
Also silent in could, would and should

M

m and mm are pronounced the same: {m}.
mf: {ɱf} due to nasal assimilation
mn: {m} or {n}, depending on its location in the word, or {m.n} (MERGES dam with damn)
mv: {ɱv} due to nasal assimilation

N

n and nn are pronounced the same: {n}.
ng: {ŋ}, or {ŋ.g}
nk: {ŋk} due to nasal assimilation

O

Final oC: {ɒ} (sometimes {ɑ} or {ɔ} depending on the dialect)
Medial oCC: {ɒ} (sometimes {ɑ} or {ɔ} depending on the dialect)
Final oCe: {ɵʊ}
Medial oCV: {ɵʊ}
single o may also be {ʌ} in words like one, done, son (MERGING son with sun)
oa: used to be {ɔə}/{oə}, but later coalesced to {ɵ}, except where there is a vowel hiatus.  Modern pronounciation: {ɵʊ}
oe: digraph that used to be written as an œ: {iː}
oi/oy: {ɔɪ}/{ɵɪ}, but also {oa} in French loanwords
ol: may be {ol} instead of {ɵʊl}
oo: {u}, but also {ʊ}/{ɤ}, and also {ʌ}
ou: {aʊ} is expected, but {ɵʊ} is prevalent (though, cantaloupe), as is {u} (group, through), {ʊ}/{ɤ} (could, should, would), and also {ʌ} (country).  Perhaps now one of the messiest of spellings in English... ever!!
ow: {ɵʊ} (earlier {ɵu}, and even earlier {ou}, but merged with plain {ɵ} causing the toe-tow MERGER).  There is also {aʊ} in words like now
or/ore: {oɹ}/{ɔɹ} ({ɵɹ} may also be quite common), another possibility here is {ɜ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɝ} (stressed) or {ə} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɚ} (unstressed)
oar: {ɔɹ}/{ɔəɹ} ({ɵɹ} may also be quite common)
NB, the above 2 spellings may have the same sound because of the horse-hoarse MERGER, and in non-rhotic dialects, are pronounced {ɔ}
oor: historically {oɹ}, now it is usually {ʊɹ} ({ʊə} in non-rhotic dialects)
our: historically {uɹ}, now it is usually {oɹ}, except for a few words like tour (those have {ʊɹ})
Unstressed letter/vowel digraph: {ə}/{ɪ̈}

P

p and pp (and ph in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {p} (ph may also be {f})
pn, pt: used to be {pn}, {pt}, but now the initial element is dropped, while the spelling remains intact

Q

Usually {k}, but only spelling exists is qu
qu: {kw}, but also {k} in French and Spanish loans (liquor, queso)

R

r and rr (and rh in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {ɹʷ}

S

s and ss are pronounced the same: {s} (though {z} is common in final and intervocalic positions)
sh: {ʃ} or {s.h}
si: {ʃ} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a vowel hiatus, this can also become {ʒ} because of both s-voicing and {j}-coalescence
stle: {səl}/{sl̩}
su: {ʃu} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a syllable break (this is because normally, a u is pronounced using the sequence {ju}), this can also become {ʒu} because of both s-voicing and {j}-coalescence
sw: {s} in sword, answer
Sometimes {ʃ} in the word parmesan for a reason I cannot explain

T

t and tt (and th in loanwords) are pronounced the same: {t} (th may also be {θ} or {ð}... a confusing subject all of itself)
ti: {ʃ} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a vowel hiatus (based off of yet another French spelling)
ts: usually {ts}, but {ʦ} in quick speech
tu: {ʧu} due to {j}-coalescence, except where there is a syllable break (this is because normally, a u is pronounced using the sequence {ju})
tz: {ʦ}

U

Final iC: {ʌ}
Medial iCC: {ʌ}
Final iCe: {ju}/{ɪu}/{u}
Medial iCV: {ju}/{ɪu}/{u}
{ʊ}/{ɤ} in a few words like put
ui: {ju}/{ɪu}/{u}
ul: {ʊl}/{ʌl} or even just {ɤl}/{l̩ː} due to the hull-bull MERGER
ur: {ɜ} (non-rhotic dialects)/{ɻ̩}/{ɝ}, or even {ʊɹ}/{ʌɹ} in rhotic dialects without the fern-fir-fur MERGER
Unstressed letter/vowel digraph: {ə}/{ɪ̈}

V

v and vv are pronounced the same: {v}

W

Usually just {w}, occuring only immediately before vowels
wa: {wɒ}/{wɑ}
wh: {ʍ} ({w} in those dialects that have the whine-wine MERGER)
wr: {ɹʷ} (right-write MERGER)

X

Usually {ks} in final position, {gz} in medial position, and {z} in initial position (I say {gz}, despite that initial plosives are usually dropped)
also pronounced {kʃ}/{gʒ} in instances of {j}-coalescence

Y

Usually just {j}, occuring only immediately before vowels
Sometimes acts as an i (see above)
Word-final y after an iterated consonant (or an equivalent) is pronounced {i}
Used as what would be a u in Greek loanwords (this is because older Greek had {y} instead of {u} like modern Greek, and so the spelling with a y was adopted at the time)

Z

z and zz are pronounced the same: {z}
Pronounced {ʦ} in Italian loanwords (e.g. pizza)




...and all of the above can be prone to exceptions as well.  See how many times you can find a MERGER.


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« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 10:47:38 pm by 'Oma Tirea »
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Offline MIPP

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2010, 04:06:55 am »
God, I haven't ever noticed that there are so many sounds for a letter.
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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2010, 10:50:36 pm »
Oe omum XP

Perhaps this is partially due to the fact that English has never really had any sort of official regulation, unlike French, Spanish, Italian, or many other languages.
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Offline kewnya txamew'itan

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #63 on: September 10, 2010, 12:37:23 pm »
never really had any sort of official regulation

Alas, this may no longer be the case with British English ever since, at some point in this last year, the Queen's English society was founded (I don't know its official status) although I'm sure that it will be just as widely ignored as the proscriptions of L'Académie Française.
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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2010, 11:02:24 pm »
Also the language has undergone a number of soundshifts from Middle English through early Modern English, with most of the old spellings retained.
You were probably thinking of the Great Vowel Shift.  It explains a lot of the weirdness with English not really having many so-called continental values.  Even before then, English has undergone shound changes, such as the loss of the front, rounded vowels that still exist in many other Germanic languages (they got unrounded).  However, this one is the turning point because the great respellings apparently stopped here.

Here's how it happened with the tense vowels and diphthongs:

  • TIME: {iː} → {ɪi̯} → {əi̯}{ʌ̈i̯} → {ɐɪ̯} → {äɪ̯} → {ɑ̟ɪ̯}/{ɑe̯}{ɒ̜ɪ̯}
  • SEE: {eː}      →      {iː} → {ɪiː}/{əiː}
  • EAST: {ɛː} → {eː}
  • FACE: {aː} → {æː} → {ɛː} → {eː} →  {eɪ̯} → {ɛɪ̯}{æɪ̯}/{æe̯}
  • DAY:       {æi̯}   →   {ɛi̯}   →   {ei̯}
  • WEY (WAY): {ei̯}
  • LAW: {ɑu̯} → {ɔʊ̯} → {ɔː} → {ɒ}/{ɑ}
  • STONE: {ɔː} → {oː} → {oʊ̯} → {ɵʊ̯} → {ɵ̞ʊ̯}{əʊ̯}
  • KNOW: {ɔu̯} → {ou̯}
  • MOON: {oː} → {uː}
  • SOUTH: {uː} → {ʊu̯} → {ɵu̯} → {ɵ̞u̯} → {əu̯}{ʌu̯} → {ɑʊ̯} → {aʊ̯} → {æo̯}{æɔ̯}
  • NEW: {eu̯}/{ɪu̯}   →   {i̯u} → {ju}
  • DEW: {ɛu̯} → {eu̯} → {i̯u}

...and it even happened to the short, lax vowels, too:

  • CAN'T: {a} → {æ}/{ɑː} → {ɛ} → {ɛ̝ə} → {eə}/{ɪə}
  • TOP: {o̞} → {ɔ} → {ɒ} → {ɑ}
  • PLUS: {ʊ} → {ɤ̹̈} → {ɤ̽} → {ʌ̽}{ɐ}
  • The quality of {ɛ} and {ɪ} got lowered and centralized, like most other vowels, but generally remained stable, as did the diphthong {ɔɪ}

There were also exceptions to this :P:

  • Sometimes an English long i is spelled like it should sound, particularly in loanwords (examples: ski, machine)
  • Shifted English long, tense {iː} later became lax {ɪ} in the words "really" and "been"
  • English ea became {eɪ̯} in words like "break and "great", and merely got shortened to {ɛ} usually before a D or TH (examples: head, dread, breath), and also before {j}-coalescence (examples: measure, pleasure).  An interesting case to consider: read (rhymes with reed) and read (rhymes with red), as well as the two pronounciations of "lead."  Another interesting case to consider: {iː} in clean, deal, leap, and their past-tense forms (except clean) with {ɛ}: cleanse, dealt, leapt. 
  • English long a became {ɑː} in the word "father"
  • English ow took a seperate shift in some circumstances: {ɔu̯} → {ɑu̯} → {aʊ̯}.  This caused "flower" to merge with "flour."
  • English long open o, after becoming English long closed o, in some words, got raised again to {uː} (examples: to, do).  In some words, it became lax {ʌ̽}/{ɐ} (examples: one, done, some).
  • English long closed o, after being shifted to {uː}, also took a couple of lax shifts to {ʊ}/{ɤ̹̈} as in "hood" and to {ʌ̽}/{ɐ} as in "flood"
  • English ou remained {uː} before labial consonants, as in "soup" and "group".  It also became lax after the first step in its shift, and followed the same path as the PLUS vowel above.  Examples with {ʊ}/{ɤ̹̈}: could, would, should; examples with {ʌ̽}/{ɐ}: country, couple, double
  • English short u failed to shift in a few words such as "put".

...and sometimes I wonder why this had to happen so extensively.  Other Germanic languages don't have quite as many chain shifts.
 
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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #65 on: September 20, 2010, 10:19:31 pm »
Dam dam dam. I hate it when people confuse there homonyms; they aught to now better. People seam to stumble through a days of confusing grammar, and although jinn, ails and other alcoholic bruise can affect they're spelling, everyone should be able to due simple sentence construction. To air is human, I suppose, butt I greave the advancement of pore well-constructed sentences by the masses. Sometimes I just wont to beet them, weather its faire or naught.

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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #66 on: September 30, 2010, 11:37:36 pm »
*sigh...* simply cannot be overstated...

I don't understand why no one has cared about the language enough to give it an official regulation, and not make it look like a total mess in all its aspects :P

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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: English language pet peeves
« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2010, 12:38:30 am »
Here's a pet peeve about what points out a pet peeve: unstressed syllables are given little attention in English, and there are some mergers tha involve unstressed syllables:

"saver" with "savor" (merger of [oɹ]/[ɔɹ]/[ɵɹ] with [əɹ]/[ɚ]/[ɹ̩])

Notably though, most of us distinguish "confirmation" from "conformation".

"counsel" with "council" (merger of [ɪl]/[ɨ̞l] with [əl]/[l̩])

...and others as well, most of them dealing with spellings of Vr, or Vl/le :P

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