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TaliesinMerlin

I am a writing center administrator and composition instructor with a PhD in early English literature. My favorite topics in English Language & Usage include the history of the English language (including single word requests), descriptive linguistics, the formation and deflation of standard dialects, rhetoric, and anything requiring archival or corpus research. I like to get my hands dirty with words, and think there is inherent value in trying to explain how language functions.

Dialect

I am American. Based on self-assessments, my dialect shares features with Southern American English and Appalachian English. However, I show thorough intermixing with the Midwestern dialects common in oral media, and my education has effectively standardized my speech and writing save in contexts where I deliberately code-switch for emphasis. In accent, I can put on a few accents faithfully but otherwise I'm hard to place. I've been called English while in the UK and just about everything while in the US.

I took this quiz and used my imperfect IPA skills (and frequent reference to dictionaries) to represent how I think I pronounce several words. Three things I found:

  • I'm pretty noncomittal when multiple pronunciations are possible. I still switch up caramel.

  • Sometimes the lines between, say, /a/, /ɑ/ and /æ/ or between /ɪ/ and /ɛ/, are pretty flexible. (I don't think I distinguish pin and pen, for instance.)

  • For words with an optional /j/ (like after the /k/ in coupon), I tend to omit them unless I'm speaking very slowly for emphasis.

Words:

Aunt /ænt/ or /ant/

Roof /ruf/

Route /rut/ or /raʊt/

Wash /wɑʃ/

Oil /ɔɪl/

Theater /θi’ətɚ/

Salmon /ˈsamən/ or /’sæmən/

Caramel /ˈkɑrməl/, /ˈkarəm(ə)l/

Fire /faɪər/

Water /ˈwɑdər/

Sure /ˈʃʊr/

Data /ˈdædə/ or /ˈdeɪdə/

Ruin /ˈruˌɪn/

Crayon /ˈkreɪˌɑn/

New Orleans /nu ˈɔrlənz/

Pecan /pəˈkɑn/ or /piˈkɑn/

Both /boʊθ/

Again /əˈɡɛn/

Probably /ˈprɑbəbli/

Spitting image /’spɪtn ˈɪmɪdʒ/

Alabama /ˌæləˈbæmə/

Lawyer /ˈlɔjər/

Coupon /ˈkuˌpɑn/

Mayonnaise /’mæneɪz/ (but for mayo /ˈmeɪoʊ/)

Syrup /ˈsərəp/ (possibly closer to /ˈsɪ/ for emphasis)

Pajamas /pəˈdʒɑməz/

Caught /kɑt/ (caught-cot sound the same)

Naturally /ˈnatʃərl̩i/

Aluminium /əˈlumənəm/

Envelope /ˈɛnvəˌloʊp/, or for emphasis /ˈɑnvəˌloʊp/

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