Americanisms (was RE: Sorcery and Cecilia and Desert Island books)

deborah.dwj at deborah.dwj at
Tue Jan 18 11:30:27 EST 2005

On Mon, 17 Jan 2005, Margaret Ball wrote:
|Hmm. Possibly speech patterns change over 50 years.

I think speech is just much more regional than any of us suspect.  For
example, I grew up in the incredibly small "tonic" region which is
composed of small localized pockets of New York and New England.

My dialect is incredibly bizarre, because my mother is a Londoner
(formerly Cockney, no less, although there was accent training in her
youth); my father is an over-educated American Yinglish
(Yiddish-English) speaker with diction like a BBC announcer; I grew up
in Lynn, Massachusetts (the aforementioned "tonic" region, and yes, it
is the same Lynn as the poem, thank you very much, why don't you give me
a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it while you're at it); I spend
all my time on the Internet; and I live with Southerners.

So I'm perfectly happy in New England English (tonic or soda, with
occasional pop), Southern English (soda or Coke), English English
(squash or fizzy drink) or Yinglish ("you should want a glass
seltzer?").  Sometimes I slip into the wrong terminology and confuse the
heck out of the person with whom I'm speaking, and it takes me awhile to
figure out why.  Humourous moment: American roomates' facial
expressions  upon being offered "squash" on a hot day.

For the record, they are all "chips".  Screw this fries and crisps
rubbish.  Chips.

ObDWJ: Charles Morgan's need for precise language becomes much more
difficult in a context like this.  What are you asking for when you
request "soda" if you speak multiple dialects?

"Buffy, duck."
"What duck?  There's a duck?"

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