Pedants United

A section to discuss matters not related to Chess in particular.
Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:26 pm

How do you pronounce 'porpoise'?

Yesterday a Radio 5 presenter said it to rhyme with 'toys' and it vaguely rankled with me for more than a day, because I would say the last syllable should rhyme with 'purpose".

I have just looked it up in Chambers Dictionary and my version is the only one given, so boo to the Radio 5 man.

I have heard people say tortoise as tortoys in the past too and I have always thought it may be a valid alternative, but now I think it may be valid only in some dialects at best, not in Received Pronunciation.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:59 pm

"I have heard people say tortoise as tortoys in the past too and I have always thought it may be a valid alternative, but now I think it may be valid only in some dialects at best, not in Received Pronunciation."

I agree.

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John Clarke
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Clarke » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:58 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:33 pm
Yes - I agree with that, but maybe the "pet" suggests also, "I don't like this but I would understand if other people disagreed with me".
Good interpretation, Kevin. Amazing how much nuance can be packed into a couple of very short words!

And Paul has to be right about "tortoise" and "porpoise". Apart from anything else, one of Lewis Carroll's celebrated word-plays becomes meaningless with any other pronunciation: "We called him Tortoise because he taught us."
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Andy Stoker
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Andy Stoker » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:41 am

Some "accepted" RP pronunciations change. I believe - though cannot find a reference - that, in the early years of the 20C, "syndrome" was pronounced "Syn-drom-ee" - to rhyme with epitome.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:12 am

"I believe - though cannot find a reference - that, in the early years of the 20C, "syndrome" was pronounced "Syn-drom-ee" - to rhyme with epitome."

I recall the late Kenneth Williams expounding on this subject at length on a TV chat show, along those lines, referencing the pronunciation of epitome, and saying that both words were of Greek origin. But that was nearer the end of the century than the start. Nobody seemed to take him seriously, but it was an interesting point.

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John Clarke
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Clarke » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:48 am

Andy Stoker wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:41 am
Some "accepted" RP pronunciations change. I believe - though cannot find a reference - that, in the early years of the 20C, "syndrome" was pronounced "Syn-drom-ee" - to rhyme with epitome.
Just checked Mrs C's copy of the Shorter Oxford (third edition with corrections, dating from the mid-1950s). It gives the trisyllabic pronunciation and no other (plus a date of origin for the word of 1541). Our second edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage agrees that that used to be the orthodox pronunciation, but adds that the influence of such words as aerodrome, hippodrome, palindrome, etc had prompted the change. I suspect the emergence of the term from the rarefied world of medical science into everyday use, which happened at around the same time, would also have contributed.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:26 am

"Our second edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage agrees that that used to be the orthodox pronunciation, but adds that the influence of such words as aerodrome, hippodrome, palindrome, etc had prompted the change."

Interesting. I don't suppose "aerodrome" is Ancient Greek! You could pronounce "hippodrome" as Hipp-odd-ro-me, but the others don't really allow this.

I think "pharmaceutical" should be pronounced with two hard "c"s - and I was delighted when John Thaw's DCI Morse did the same...

On pronunciation of English words, you might find this Australian lady entertaining https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw25CM1MXlU

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John Clarke
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Clarke » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:54 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:26 am
I think "pharmaceutical" should be pronounced with two hard "c"s - and I was delighted when John Thaw's DCI Morse did the same...
During my time at the V&A Museum, there was one senior curator who rang me up once or twice, identifying himself by surname and department, and pronouncing the latter as "Keramics".
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:44 pm

"pronouncing the latter as "Keramics"."

Quite right too!

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pedants United

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:23 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:26 am
"Our second edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage agrees that that used to be the orthodox pronunciation, but adds that the influence of such words as aerodrome, hippodrome, palindrome, etc had prompted the change."

Interesting. I don't suppose "aerodrome" is Ancient Greek! You could pronounce "hippodrome" as Hipp-odd-ro-me, but the others don't really allow this.

I think "pharmaceutical" should be pronounced with two hard "c"s - and I was delighted when John Thaw's DCI Morse did the same...

On pronunciation of English words, you might find this Australian lady entertaining https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw25CM1MXlU
I think you mean standardized pronunciation I don't know how pronunciation can be collocated with orthodox. As we know the valid, if not highly objectionable, criticism over the prominence of RP is that it is a poor indicator of the reflexivity of language and how it is used since a very small minority (estimates are usually 2% at most) actually speak like that since nearly all of us have accent to some degree.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:05 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:44 pm
"pronouncing the latter as "Keramics"."

Quite right too!
Reminds me that my classically educated headmaster told us that cinema should be kinema. On conveying this learned information at home I was squashed by my mother's unanswerable comment: 'Well, we don't speak Greek, do we?'

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pedants United

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:27 am

Which are you more likely to say, 'he told me he had had a good time' or 'he told me he had a good time'. It seems like some people don't like repeating the verb 'had', especially in speech.

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John Clarke
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Clarke » Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:24 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:27 am
Which are you more likely to say, 'he told me he had had a good time' or 'he told me he had a good time'.
Most of us when speaking would contract "he had" to "he'd".
It seems like some people don't like repeating the verb 'had', especially in speech.
Perhaps then they shouldn't be confronted with that well-known sentence which contains "had" eleven times in a row (suitably punctuated of course). :mrgreen:
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pedants United

Post by MJMcCready » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:32 pm

Do you ever hear people say 'my bad' instead of 'my mistake'? I hear it a lot among non-native speakers but can't tell if this is just a trend or has been said for some time now.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Pedants United

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:55 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:32 pm
Do you ever hear people say 'my bad' instead of 'my mistake'? I hear it a lot among non-native speakers but can't tell if this is just a trend or has been said for some time now.
A google search led me to the following:

"'My bad' came into widespread popular use in the mid to late-1990s in the USA via the 1995 movie “Clueless”. This starred Alicia Silverstone and contains what seems to have been the first use of the phrase in the mainstream media."

I too have heard the expression a lot amongst non-native speakers. I have also found that young non-native speakers attribute their excellent English, or rather their excellent American, to watching American films.

However, I think that I first heard the expression less than five years ago.

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