Thursday, September 6, 2007

Interesting...and annoying.

Brian and I are in the middle of a(n) discussion/argument. He asked me yesterday if I wanted to make a bagel pizza for dinner. He pronounces bagel "baggle", like Fraggle. When we go to the grocery store he puts the groceries in a "bayg". A slur for a gay person is "fayg". He also insists that "wagon" rhymes with "Reagan". We were in the car when I realized that he doesn't just pronounce bag wrong, he hears the difference between "bayg" and "bag" and he thinks that "bag" is the wrong pronounciation.

As far as "bag" is concerned I may be wrong I guess because in the Webster online dictionary it says it's pronounced "bag" or "bAg". All the other words we discussed were pronounced as I said. I read Brian this list from the web page of a linquistics buff and he said that most of them had the same vowel sound:
banger cater wager rag rake dragon drag wagon rage bagging bang blank flank range rang brag hang rank plague clang lagging crag crane dragging flagged flake gangly hanger plank lag fanged deranged plagued crank rank gauge

A lot of them have very different vowel sounds so this makes me crazy. He even said aloud "rake" and then "dragon"( almost sounded like draygun but leaned toward the correct pronounciation) and he insists that they have the same vowel sound.

Apparently he thinks I am making fun of him by going on about it, but it's gone past that now. I just want to know how he thinks certain words are pronounced. It's really interesting to me, though it's sometimes annoying.

So now the argument has evolved to be (somehow) about beliefs. Brian says that he doesn't "believe" that anyone can trace how an accent in a certain region evolved. I say I don't really know if they can but suspect that they may be able to trace some aspects of a regional accent by the languages that the areas inhabitant's ancestors spoke. I don't have any linguistics knowledge at all really so how could I possibly have any beliefs about the subject? So then it just turns into an argument about how can you have a belief about something that you know nothing about...Wow, This whole thing sounds even more stupid when I type it out. Can anyone recommend a book on the subject? If you can figure out what the subject is that is because I don't actually know.


Blogger Jeff VC said...

This post has been removed by the author.

September 7, 2007 8:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff VC said...

There was a pretty good documentary that I watched in one of my linguistics classes at UT. It think it may have been one or several of the episodes of The Story of English. Most of what I remember is a segment about the variety of accents around Boston, and another one about the Minnesotan accent, which was traced back to Norway (I think -- it was a long time ago).

The same guy has done another documentary more recently: Do You Speak American?. The PBS website is pretty good. At least I had some fun looking around.

Living in the UK and France, the thing I've realised is that everyone has an accent, even if they don't hear it as an accent. I particularly enjoy listening to people from the North and South of England argue about the proper pronunciation of the word 'bath'. Good times.

September 7, 2007 8:30 AM  

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*Filling The Hole is a Duckism for that horrible empty filling that will not go away until you go buy something. Shopping for household needs at Target will usually do the trick but sometimes it has to be a little more extravagant. Related to "Getting the Kicks" or "Throwing the Daily Fit"