Tuesday, 23 September 2014

three things I wondered about today

This blog has been fairly quiet for a while. It's a trick for us all to remember to post here when we have little wonderings. But let me revive it by pointing out some things I wondered about language today.  I've not really researched them (that's not my job here--they're wonderings), but I have had a look to see if there's any recent work on the topics and will link to them here as starting points. (I am linking to the public-facing journal sites, so if you want to read the articles, you're better off searching for them through the library, where access may well be free.)

  1. English learners are taught to pronounce the as 'thee' before vowels and 'thuh' before consonants. The whole story is more complicated.  I'm wondering: are there dialectal differences (including national US/UK differences) in this?  Do learners follow the 'rule' or pick up other uses of 'thee'?
  2. Ad-hoc abbreviations to fit the 140-character limit in Twitter: which words do ppl shortn? How? Why? Where?  Here's a possibly interesting article re this & age.
  3. Here's an article about the language of restaurant menus in 1970s United States. What do menus tell us today? Which non-English words make it in (and why)? How are the descriptions structured? What do they tell us about class, food, consumerism...? The new book by Dan Jurafsky, The Language of Food, might cover some of this.

1 comment:

  1. I hear a lot of BrE who can't have been taught about the being pronounced thee. Often hear thuh answer etc nowadays. Don't suppose it is AmE influence.