Wednesday, 24 September 2014

four things I wondered about on Wednesday

So, yesterday I (Lynne M) listed three things I had cause to wonder about during the day. I have  more today! Two have to do with the pronunciations I heard during the ROLLS talk today. As you know, I'm not a phonetician/phonologist at all, so I'm asking these questions out of ignorance.

  1. Many British English speakers pronounce monolingual and bilingual differently from how dictionaries say the word is pronounced. The dictionaries say something like 'bilingwel' (what I say), but what I often hear is 'bilingyu-el'. (Similar is British pronunciation of jaguar with an unreduced and front-glided u.) Is this a change in progress? Does it have to do with the /g/ beforehand? Do dictionaries just have it wrong? Who says it which way? Are there other words like this?
  2. I heard someone today (not for the first time) say inVENT(o)ry rather than INvent(o)ry. This seems to be related to the change by which CONtroversy is now often rendered (in British Englishes) as conTROVersy. How broad is this pattern of change? Who's doing it and who's not? How regular is it?
  3. Signs people make to ask people do (not) do something are interesting. Sometimes people put "POLITE NOTICE" on top, which is often explained by others as "they want you to misread it as POLICE".  But I saw one that said 'COURTEOUS NOTICE' in a Brighton shop window. Why isn't saying "Please don't park your bicycle here" enough? Why do people feel like they need to give these signs a title?
  4. Still on the topic of signs, this came around on Twitter last night:

    When and why do people personify objects in this way, to give information or instructions? And why did this:
    end up like this?

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