Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Linguistic License

I'm taking Spanish 401 at SCC this semester (yay!), and I'm so very much enjoying being back in a language classroom. I am a bit concerned that I may start to lose some of my French or at least start mixing languages, but at the same time, I'm really excited to learn Spanish and hopefully get to the point where I can actually hold a [basic] conversation in a 3rd language.

All of the new vocabulary has made me reflect even more on the linguistic similarities and differences between not only English and Spanish but also between various regional versions of English. One of the benefits of having lived in 3 of the 4 US time zones is that I've been able to notice the diverse pronunciation changes or interesting word usage in different regions while remaining mostly accent-neutral myself (phew!).

Keep in mind that my own personal standard comes from New England, having been born and raised in a medium-sized town about 4o miles south of Boston. So anything that I remark as "new" or "different" is in direct comparison to what I grew up hearing and learning and using.

So, for example, the correct prounciation of aunt is "ahnt" rather than "ant." Likewise, roof is "rewf" rather than "ruhf." Route is "rewt" not "rowt."

(and for those few of you who may understand phonetics, I know these are not the proper phonetic spellings, but I think they get the point across to the average lay person a bit more effectively...)

The state of Oregon is "OR-e-gin," but the city in Wisconsin is "Or-e-GAHN" (stress on the last syllable). In most places, recycle is "re-CY-cle," but in Wisconsin, it's "REE-cy-cle." Oh, and that water fountain over there? It's a "bubbler," dontcha know.

I think fruits and vegetables are referred to interchangeably as "pro-duce" or "prah-duce" - haven't pinpointed that preference to a particular region.

Most of the time, I find regional differences interesting and fun. Sometimes I'll even integrate them into my speech patterns.

But there's one linguistic oddity here that drives me absolutely crazy - people who pronounce the word height as "highth." Really, now, do you see an extra "th" at the end of that word? I think not!!!! It's "hight," people - y'know, rhymes with "night" or "tight." I really don't know where this oddity comes from, but it's quite irritating to the ear and, frankly, tends to sound rather uneducated, regardless of whose mouth it emerges from.

Honestly, it just makes me hecka mad...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LNJ fancies-

Hecka mad? HEHEHE
I need me a sip from the bubbler!
As for you, you have done well to get rid of the New England soft A sound in your diction. In fact, when I met you I wouldn't have known, so props to you. :)

8:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home