North American vs all other English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by ontheleft, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm not exactly looking forward to it. But I've had the good fortune to have a predominantly happy, productive life, so neither am I dreading death because of a bucket list with most of the items not yet checked off.

    Huh? I tell you that I want my family, friends and favorite charities to prosper instead of allowing the bureaucrats and lawyers who run a nursing home to siphon off my estate. And your analysis of that philosophy is that it's about economics? What a quintessentially American attitude! Why is it not about love, caring, doing what's right, fighting for justice until the bitter end? In many (most? all?) of the instituions I've observed, those lawyers and bureacrats don't even share their loot with their staff, many of whom are deliberately hired for less than full-time work so they're not legally entitled to minimum wage. We did our best to augment their pitiful salaries, but this is a national issue that we can't solve locally.

    And what exactly do you mean by "sacrificing your life" anyway? Unless you're in on some top-secret project developing an immortality vaccine, we are all going to die one way or another, at one time or another. My life is not exactly mine to sacrifice. But I see nothing wrong with taking as much control as possible over the timing and consequences of my death. I know from personal experience and that of many other people (we're all in our 60s and 70s so we've observed a lot of deaths) that people generally do not appreciate watching their loved ones lose their memories and other cognitive skills, slowly turning into a vegetable with no signs of life except a bunch of tubes. Nor do they appreciate watching the corporation that keeps those tubes pumping steadily suck up the modest estates that those loved ones had carefully tended in order to bequeath to them.

    And most importantly, the loved ones themselves don't want this either, in most of the cases I've observed personally. I've never seen so many very, very, very pissed-off people as in a nursing home.

    If you see something worth sneering at in this scenario, please explain. I'll be quite happy to skip the vegetable part of my life, even if it means erring on the side of caution and missing a couple of years of still being able to feed myself but unable to do 90% of the other things that make my life worth living. And as already noted, I'll be even happier to leave my house, investments and other possessions to people and institutions who need it and deserve it, rather than letting Big Business scarf it up and use it to lobby for even more consumer-hostile legislation.

    Well it's fine that she is still at a point in life where the benefits outweigh the suffering. My mother became a vegetable 20 years ago at 87. And I'm hardly recommending that children pull the plug on relatives who don't want to die yet, just to inherit a bigger estate.

    What I want is to be able to enlist a loved one or two to help me with the end-of-life apparatus if there is a discontinuity in the aging process and I wake up some morning unable to do it by myself, without those loved ones being prosecuted by a legal system based on the principles of a religion we all loathe. Moreover, I would really like to see DNR orders actually honored in this country. The way medical professionals explain it to me is:
    "Every year a dozen or so doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other members of our professions are successfully sued for honoring a DNR. They can never work again; it destroys their lives. On the other hand, no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for failing to honor a DNR. So we are all forced to err on the side of self-preservation, and dutifully wheel the obvious vegetable into the ER."​

    I'm so happy for you, since neither you nor your grandma apparently need to take real-world economic issues into account when contemplating end-of-life issues, so it's all angels and bedside vigils for you. For the rest of us, letting even a $25K estate be dissipated into the coffers of a nursing home corporation is a tragedy.

    Besides, your grandma is not yet at a point in life where she and her loved ones are suffering (physically for her, emotionally for you) due to her condition. Write back when she's screaming in pain, or simply drugged into semi-consciousness, and has no idea who you are. My mother did not know who the lady with me was, even though she and my wife had known each other for twenty years. Needless to say, our visits were pointless.

    For every Hallmark scene, like the one I saw, of a daughter dancing with her sweet but brain-dead mother because she happens to still have physical coordination and a pleasant demeanor, there are a hundred scenes of a parent screaming, cursing, weeping, and/or begging for mercy.

    And how is this going to improve the plight of the dying???

    We're all entitled to have whatever thoughts we want. That's the way we assess right and wrong, by thinking something through and projecting the consequences, rather than simply doing it and hoping it works out right. It's easy to imagine killing someone who has done you wrong, but if you're careful not to stop there but keep the tape rolling and see yourself in prison while your family starves and your children are humiliated, it might stop you from actually doing it.

    I'm not a Jain. I don't think we have a need to be kind to all animals, even the ones without a forebrain and/or a central nervous system. I lobby for more humane treatment of farm animals, and I could probably be cajoled into giving up meat. But flies and ants? Be serious. Where do you draw the line: lice, tapeworms, amoeba?

    I regret having taken this thread off topic because it was a good one. I thought if I shut up it might veer back on course, but apparently that's not going to happen.

    Fortunately the Linguistics subforum gets so little traffic that I don't have to be hard-nosed about off-topic meandering.

    This is still the Linguistics subforum, so please learn the difference between the verbs "exult" and "exalt."

    I have been quite concerned about end-of-life issues for many years. I'm pleased that there has been some progress in the U.S. As I noted earlier, I'm certain that when the Baby Boomers reach this point in their lives, the laws, customs and attitudes about death will change, because the alternative is to spend half of our GDP keeping them breathing. Since my generation is healthier than theirs, with a little luck those laws, customs and attitudes will have already changed when it comes my time.

    In the meantime, my preparations for my own death must of necessity be kept private.
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  3. ontheleft Registered Member

    Fraggle Rocker=newguy

    A waste of time.
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  5. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    You’re all over the place, Fraggle. Maybe you’re time is coming to an end. We don’t want to see you suffer and you’re starting to be a wee bit forgetful. Hmm…you won’t defend yourself because you’re a diehard pacifist. You have a little bit of money. You even own a Mercedes. Your wife does own a gun, but she’s living on the other side of the country, and who could blame her. You would never call the cops because of their sociopathic career choice. They’re a lot like those fucking trained killers, e.g., soldiers, sheepdogs. Sounds to me like you’re a sitting duck…quack-quack.

    Didn’t the Japanese say the same thing during World War II?

    Been there, done that.

    About half of patients dying of cancer have severe pain. Yet, only half of these patients receive reliable pain relief. We can relieve the pain, but because of the misconceptions regarding the drugs used, many patients die in agony. In my father’s case, the nurse was dumb enough to put this in her notes, “Moaning and crying out-will continue to monitor.” Criminal liability is a concern for most, but her reasoning stemmed from her religious convictions.

    What we should address is our deficiencies in providing adequate end of life care.

    The plight of living, Fraggle, living. There is nothing futile about buying or spending time, when it is the only thing on the counter.

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  7. ontheleft Registered Member

    That's it. We are born, we get to play with consciousness, and then we die. What a waste it is to be afraid of playing with life. Of eating it wholeheartedly.
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Er, no, marked by the shortest article on wikipedia. Manifest Destiny ends at the 49th. This is your stop.
  9. ontheleft Registered Member

    This might be long enough for you.

    The most recent work documenting and studying the phonology of North American English dialects as a whole is the Atlas of North American English by William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg,

    It's $806.00 new, $329.00 used from Amazon. Labov and Ash are from Pennsylvania, Boberg from Montreal.

    Thy must have had a reason to call it 'Atlas of North American English.'

    Got any ideas on the word "understanding?"
  10. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Do you have any? You start a topic in the linguistics thread not even knowing the difference between "than" and "then", meander downhill from there, and then say that?

    As with most countries, it really does depend on where one might come from. I'm in the far north, and I don't think anyone does anything quickly up here.
    Other than play footy, or drink a beer. The latter, of course, is simply due to the fact that if one does not, it becomes warm very quickly, and one does not want to waste a cold beer.

    I have, however, listened to some easterners who do speak quickly (excluding Queenslanders).

    That isn't a uniquely Australian linguistic characteristic. Ever been to England?

    If this were a race for stating the bleeding obvious, you'd be somewhere among the front runners.

    Not necessarily true in a movie, but it does apply to the 'net. You may want to pay some attention to that point, you know. Verbal queues.
    I've never, as an aside, considered eating a village for the main course, let alone dessert. Perhaps you should consider taking more than one class in Communication?

    And lastly, regarding your last post:

    If you're going to Wiki something and present it as evidence of your own knowledge, at least have the grace to use your own terminology.
    One does garner the impression you'd be somewhat lost in gatherings where actual knowledge is required when positing evidence for an opinion. Lazy.

    I'm no stranger to the pithy reply, ontheleft, but when one is trying to present an impression of arrogance, one should first ensure that he is on a fairly solid grounding from which to do so. Getting caught using whole sentences from Wikipedia articles merely makes you look like a try hard.
    I wonder if you realise the impression you're creating, at least for me, is probably not the one you fantasized about when you signed up... ostensibly to create this thread.
    I'm of the opinion you're a pseudonym.

    Back on topic, and more generally:
    I have watched a few old American movies, most notably for the purpose of this point "Citizen Kane". The difference in pronunciation between accents now and then: due to sound quality changes, or an actual evolution? Is there a modern American accent which sounds similar? Mere curiosity.
  11. ontheleft Registered Member

    By golly! That was a "right good drubbing." I'll have to be more careful. Had to edit one post for forgotten quotation marks. I guess they also belong around Wikipedia sentences.

    I haven't seen "Citizen Kane" and not sure what accent you might be talking about. Maybe someone else can answer that.

    And now, I have to go find some bandages.
  12. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Are we still talking about the differences in regional dialects (is that the word Fraggle?) of English?
  13. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Well, that’s what you get during those Friday night fights that you so love.

    Some people might call it shit talking, not me,though. But I did mentioned you in another topic.

    Guess’s snowing. :yay:

    See ya later, Lefty.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Dialects have significant differences in vocabulary and/or grammar, but retain enough similarity to be mutually comprehensible with perhaps a bit of getting used to it. British English, North American English, Australia/New Zealand English and Indian English are recognized as the four main dialects of English. (South African English may be a fifth, but I seldom encounter discussions of it.)

    When we talk about the variants of speech within (for example) North America, we're talking about accents. Accents differ only in pronunciation, with only minor differences in grammar or vocabulary. Sometimes the difference in vocabulary is a second-order effect of the phonetic shift. For example, two words which are pronounced differently in the standard dialect are homophones in a regional accent, and so to avoid confusion the people prefer to use a different word for one of them.
  15. ontheleft Registered Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    You remember that, eh?

    Part of the reason I started this thread is because FR is the moderator. I wanted to have my say to him about the stupid and nasty comment he made about your son.

    Now that I've had that say, and in fear that The Marquis will come after me again, I will take my muddy shoes, raggedy clothes and bad spelling and go someplace more comfortable.
  16. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Of course. I have a good memory.

    Thank you!

    I thought that you enjoyed a challenge. It's boring over there, you know. I get, though. They know you and appreciate your wisdom.

    See ya, Lefty. :wave:
  17. ontheleft Registered Member

    I do enjoy a challenge but I also know my limitations. I read through that Chomsky-Rand thread and there is no way, at my age and education, that I'll be able to learn enough to fit in with that. And I don't want to. The world needs that type of discourse but it also needs my type. And, by God, I'm good at my type.

    I wasn't talking about going back there, I meant going to other parts of here. Arts and Culture, Architecture (I had the electrical contract on a remodel of a Wright building on Maiden Lane in S. F.) Fields I'm more comfortable with.
  18. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    That you are, my friend, that you are.

    Oh, I see. Right on!

    I'll see you around then, eh, Lefty.

    Thanks again!
  19. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Architecture, eh?

    I just remembered something, and if my memory serves me right, a few years back, I think you mentioned something about this house. Rand was inspired by his work. I think she wanted him.

    "Dear Mr. Wright," her letter of Dec. 12 began, "I am writing a novel about the career of an architect. . . . I should like to have the privilege of meeting you and discussing it with you."
    Wright and Rand eventually met a number of times. "She had the utmost admiration for him, but not at all the ideas he espoused," said Berliner, an adviser to the Rand archives. Wright was "sort of leftist" and populist in his political views, he said, in stark contrast with Russia-born Rand, whose "objectivism" espoused individual rights and opposed collectivism.

    In "The Fountainhead," modern architecture provided a convenient vehicle for her views. In her 1937 letter, she told Wright that her new novel "is to be the story of an architect who follows his own convictions throughout his life, no matter what society thinks of it or does to him. . . . A man who has an ideal and goes through hell for it. So you can understand why it seems to me that of all men on earth you are the one I must see."

    But she added: "My hero is not you. I do not intend to follow in the novel the events of your life and career. His life will not be yours, nor his work, perhaps not even his artistic ideals. But his spirit is yours -- I think."

    When The Fountainhead was made into a movie, Rand hoped that Wright would be hired to do the drawings of Roark's fictional buildings. Unfortunately, Wright demanded a fee so exorbitant that it amounted to a refusal of the project.

    I know, kind of boring, but these stupid little details get stuck in my head.
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    As a user, I understand that's it's largely horseshit, unless they're referring to accents instead of the written word. Canadian English uses British rules. Done. Search ye for your commonality, but spend not too much time in that desert.
  21. ontheleft Registered Member

    It is horseshit, it isn't horseshit. There is North American English, there isn't. You and others who enjoy this kind of exploration are more then welcome to continue it here. But I got what I wanted out of it and I'm finished with it.


    I'm going to take this quote to the Architecture and Engineering forum.
  22. cornel Registered Senior Member

    North America has Hollywood, so it is the language we learned(except on school)
    Nowadays we have internet which is based on american english, so still easy to learn.
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    For people who don't live in a country in which English is the native language (or a standard language, as in India), North American English is more commonly heard in movies, music, TV shows, etc., than any of the other standard dialects. Therefore, I would not be surprised it if is a little easier for non-native speakers to understand, simply because they have more experience listening to it.

    However, North American English has one characteristic that may actually make it slightly easier: It is spoken more slowly than British English. This gives the listener more time to decipher the words and parse the sentence.

    Of course this is not universally true: people in New York City generally speak faster than the rest of us. On the other hand, the Southern American accent (Texas, Alabama, Georgia, etc.) is even slower than average. But many of the vowels are somewhat different so this may cancel out the advantage.

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