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Regional dialects of English

This my first discussion here at Italki and I want to start it since I believe there doesn't really exist any consent rules regarding the "correct" pronunciation in English. Some people may not agree with that but it's true that it varies to a great extent from city to city or from town to town, not only country-by-country. For example, in Long Island where I had spent my teenhood for short period of time, people tend to speak English in a subtlely distinctive way according to my observation.

Below are some of the examples that come up in my mind right now, apart from the famous "tawk" or "cawfee." Maybe I'm not correct about some examples for almost a decade has passed since I moved back to South Korea.

I'd like to hear from all of you if the following pronunciations or sentences carry some regional characteristics compared to what you'd speak or use. I'd be glad to know if there are any more distinctive way of pronunciation of expressions used by people in New York, or other parts of the US, or other English-speaking countries.

1. "I" in many words are pronounced as "eye."
Italian as "eye-talian"
Iran as "eye-ran"
Iraq as "eye-raq"
vitae as "vay-tee"

2. Frequent use of double negation. Not everyone though, but I could hear it quite often.
"I don't have no time"
"You don't have nothing to lose"

3. "Not" tends to be used seperately rather than as an abbreviated form.
"You're not a child" rather than you aren't a child.
"He's not the boss" rather than he isn't the boss.

4. Unique vocabulary. You may already know some.
"Sprinkles" for jimmies.
"Soda" for coke.
"Sneakers" for tennis shoes, and so on.

Feb 15, 2015 10:27 AM
Comments · 17

From a UK perspective:


1. None of these pronunciations exist. These countries/nationalities are pronounced with a short /i/ at the beginning.


2. Double negation exists in the informal language of the less educated. However, I think that everyone knows, at some level, that this is inappropriate for more formal contexts. A teenager out on the streets with his friends might say 'I ain't done nothing', but he may instinctively switch to 'I didn't do anything' when speaking to the head teacher of his school.


3. This isn't a regional dialect. 'He's not a child' and 'He isn't a child' are equally acceptable alternatives.


4. In the UK, 'soda' is a flavourless colourless fizzy water, such as you might add to whisky.

In the USA it is a generic term for any flavoured sweetened carbonated beverage - Seven up, Dr Peppers etc are all 'soda' - not only Coke.

'Trainers' are the usual word used for sports-style shoes in the UK.

I would guess that 'sprinkles' are little bits of chocolate or similar which you sprinkle over drinks or desserts. I'm afraid I don't know what 'jimmies' are, though, so it doesn't help much as an explanation for 'sprinkles'.



February 15, 2015

I think what happens in the United States is that by and large, we have all of the regional variants in our passive vocabulary, even if we only use our "native" variant in our active vocabulary. Quite a lot of the time we don't even notice the regional variations. We don't think of "pop" as Midwestern, it's just what Uncle Milton from East Lansing calls "soda."

Ira Gershwin immortalized one variation in the lyrics

"You say eether, and I say eyether,

You say neether, and I say neyether;

Eether! Eyether!

Neether! Neyether!

Let's all the whole thing off..."


February 16, 2015

I just found this website

It has examples of what I mentioned. Its actually pretty interesting, the difference in pronunciation is quite pronounced.

February 15, 2015

"Eye-talian" often, but not always, has a derogatory or mocking sense to it. There's a discussion about this pronunciation here:

February 15, 2015

In the US "sprinkles" is the more common term for the bits of candy you sprinkle on desserts. "Jimmies" is primarily used in New England and Philadelphia, and some people say it refers only to the chocolate bits, and not the multi-colored ones.

February 15, 2015
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