Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by G. F. Schleebenhorst, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Donnal Registered Member

    must be terrorble to live in a world where everyone dont speak the same as your self
    me i dont give a shit who can speak or who cant
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    They do a really good job then. Apparently they can't pass as British, but they can pass as Americans. We just think they're from some vague other part of the country.

    They're rhotic and they flap their intervocalic T and D. ("Latter" and "ladder" are homonyms in American English, and that is neither a T nor a D, it's an Italian R.) That makes them sound convincingly American to us. Doesn't it make them sound very much not British to you? Or are there British dialects that are rhotic and have flapped T's and D's? To my ears those are the two phonemes that easily and consistently distinguish British and American speech.
    Additionally it might be handy to point out to Americans that "Britannia" is the entire island on which Scotland, England and Wales are located. Before the Romans sailed there and named it that, the Greeks called it "Albion." Unfortunately nobody knows what the native people called it. The "British Isles" are Britannia and Ireland and all the little islands around them like Man and Skye.

    "Britons" is a noun for all the modern British people: the citizens of the United Kingdom. But in a historical context it also means the Celtic people who inhabited Britannia 2000 years ago before the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Norsemen, Irish, Norman French, etc. got there and mixed up the gene pool and the languages. The name "Brython" has lately been established for these earlier people, to avoid the confusion.

    "Brythonic" refers to the Eastern Celtic languages of Britannia, represented today by Welsh, Cornish and Breton (just to confuse us some of those original Britons fled to the mainland when the Anglo-Saxons came). (And to confuse us further a huge wave of Irish immigrants settled in Scotland more than 1000 years ago and brought Gaelic, their Western Celtic language, with them, completely obliterating whatever language the original Pictish people of Scotland spoke.)

    "English" is a Germanic language, descended from Anglo-Saxon. "England" is literally "Angle Land," the land of the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes (along with the Saxons and Jutes) who sailed across the North Sea and took over the place when the Romans left it unguarded. England is regarded by most foreigners as the "main" country in the United Kingdom, to the consternation of the people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But what really bothers them is when we forget that those other countries are even part of it. (Or even there--I wonder how many "products" of the American schooling "process" have ever heard of Wales.)

    If you're talking about the nation you should call it the U.K. and the people are British. If you say England or English you had better mean just that one country and its people.

    Or the language they all speak.

    *sigh* Confusing enough.
    So do I in casual speech. . . .
    . . . .but I say it that way in more important conversation, not just formal speeches.
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