Wow, nearly 80 people filled in lethargic_man's poll about how to pronounce schedule. As of midday today, the results are as follows:
(Excuse the ugliness of the table HTML; I auto-generated it from Excel — yes, I know — and I tried to clean up the output a bit but I know it's not wonderful. Data also available as comma separated format in case anyone wants to do anything clever with it.)
The normal US pronunciation is sk-.
English people are about equally likely to use either pronunciation.
Several people use both pronunciations interchangeably; most but not all were able to pick one that they favour.
Scottish people are liable take offence at the use of the word England, even if it is in fact being used to refer to England.
Anyway, now I'm really into this whole poll game, and some of the interesting clarificatory responses from that poll set me wondering. So, for your delectation, a poll about how to define one's dialect.
Just to make things clear, when you tick the factors that are relevant, I mean you to choose factors that are relevant to your dialect, not factors that you think people in general should take into account when describing their dialect. So if you think, for example, that having non-native speaker parents would be likely to have a major effect on your dialect, but your parents are both English speakers, you shouldn't tick the "Parents' first language other than English" option. Likewise, if you have always lived in the same country, you shouldn't tick any of the former country options.
This is a phenomenon I have observed at first hand in a variety of ways:
Basic data: Grandparents all from Southern Lancs. Classic accents of their respective towns. Parents grew up in S.Lancs and definitely had classic accents but they have now lived in the South for almost 40 years and their accents (especially my mother) are close to RP. Me: Born in Manchester, primary school in Bradford, prep/public school in Hertfordshire (moved South at age 9), moved to Canada twenty years ago and have worked extensively in the US and Australia. Accent progression: W.Yorks to RP (with flatter vowels in some situations) to RP stripped of many Britishisms and a slight mid-Atlantic twang. Brother (two years younger) From West Yorks to Essex man (might have something to do with his wife being from Sarfend) My kids: Moved from Canada to Australia at ages 11 and 13. Canadian accent disappeared completely within a year. My son sounds like Barry Humphries.
Conclusion. Kids change their accents very quickly. Adults still change but it's a longer and less complete process.
Ooh, thanks for this description, that's really interesting. Had a friend at uni who did her PhD on accent change when people move between regions, on the grounds that most linguistics assumes that people keep the same accent throughout their lives. And I always thought of this as a very interesting topic!
Was that a certain person at Merton who successfully managed to determine that I came from California? Though I wish I'd run into her in my fourth year, rather than my second, because my accent was further altered by that point!
I live in a non-English speaking country now (yes, everyone in NL speaks English, but you should hear the accent! :P), and whilst perhaps my Dutch has affected my English syntax, I wouldn't say it's modified my accent.
I sort of got in trouble because my primary caretaker from infancy thenceforth to puberty was actually not my parent, but my grandmother, who was a native speaker of Acadian French and taught me that as a first language. My parents were around and taught me English. I spoke French more easily for years; now I find French awkward to speak and rarely use it.
I don't think so since I learned it simultaneously. Also, my English is a bit overnormalised, I suspect, due to a voracious love of books -- I learned a lot of ins and outs of sentence structure and voice and such through reading so many dramatized characters. So the vagaries of Acadian French syntax probably aren't present anymore just due to so many years of modeling English sentences on sentences originally written by English-fluent or monolingual writers.
Thanks for the results. FWIW, I've yet to point my department at work at either the poll or the results (not least because I don't have access to intradepartmental mailing lists at home).
As regards the new poll, there seem to me to be people who change their dialect according to where they live, and people who don't. My own speech has resisted large-scale change as a result of spending a year off with, largely, a bunch of Londoners, then three years in Cambridge, one in Birmingham, four in Edinburgh and four in London; but I have picked up any number of mannerisms from the people I've been around.
My basic speech is that of the middle class in Newcastle; pronounced pretty much the same as southerners barring only the short A in words like "grass" (and "Newcastle"), though with some north-isms in my vocabulary. (Plus some ones I've not heard outside my own family: does anyone else refer to the kind of latch you get on doors, as opposed to gates, as a "sneck".)
Thanks for the results. No problem; it was good displacement! There probably is a way to process the results dynamically and automatically, but I don't really know where to start with either so you get my manual count at a particular moment when I judged that most people had finished voting.
there seem to me to be people who change their dialect according to where they live, and people who don't I think it's hard to tell from the poll; people might simply always have stayed in the same place and that would give pretty similar answers to someone who'd moved around a lot but kept their base dialect.
My own speech has resisted large-scale change Same here. There are one or two little habits which might give away the time I spent in Oxford, a long relationship with an American and another three years in Scotland, but they're too minor to be relevant to my dialect, I think.
You've also filled in the poll differently from how I intended it; you were brought up in the same country where you currently live, and your parents also come from the same country, yet you've listed all three of these as separate factors. I obviously didn't explain myself as well as I was hoping!
some ones I've not heard outside my own family That counts as idiolect, not dialect, I think. I don't count my dozen words of Yiddish as an ethnically determined variant dialect, for example.
I ticked 'native level fluency but not first language' but I'm not sure that I should have done. Technically, I did speak Gujarati first but English was a very close second and my English started to be better than my Gujarati by the time I was about 7 (as I'd started reading vast quanities of English prose and very little Gujarati). I'm also not entirely sure if my parents really did affect my dialect. They haven't affected my accent, but they have (I think, anyway) affected the way I phrase things.
I also think that close study of other languages affects dialect (although I put school down in the other box as I think it's more important), as I definitely find that I'm more inclined to write English in a way that is more appropriate for Latin or Greek. I went through a phase of finding it very difficult to start sentences without the equivalent of a Greek particle second word as it just sounded too abrupt and a similar phase of putting subject up front and main verb at the end as you do in Latin. Also, I think potentially your job can affect your phrasing too - if you have to constantly think and write in short snappy phases (spindoctor/advertising) or if you constantly think and write academic things with long words and sentences, etc etc.
Technically, I did speak Gujarati first You know, I never knew that you were brought up speaking Gujarati. Cool!
close study of other languages affects dialect You may be right; I think your situation, or making a close academic study of another language rather than simply learning to speak the language and / or spending time in a non-Anglophone country is fairly unusual, but I can see that it might be important.
potentially your job can affect your phrasing too Very good point. The way you use written English is also part of dialect, I think, and I think I do sometimes use overly formal, academic-style phrasing even in speech.
Anyway, thank you for these comments, you're really thinking in different directions from how I was!
are we talking about dialect here, or accent, or a combination of both? A very good question. I wasn't being terribly rigourous about the distinction I think. I was using dialect to mean the general way you speak, including but not limited to accent. But now you ask I fear that may not actually be a valid definition of dialect.
I think one also has to be careful in distinguishing between dialect and idiolect. Persegirl-babblespeak is definitely not a dialect, but by associating so much with you and other Persegirls, I've incorporated a lot of the way you speak into my own language. That shifts my idiolect, but I say my dialect was affected by the time I spent in England. Yet a lot of that may well have originated as your idiolect. In some cases I can make that distinction, but in other cases I'm less certain. Which leaves open the quesiton, do you think it's possible for one person's idiolect to be a part of someone else's dialect?
As I have remarked to livredor (and then forgotten what she said in response :-(), I would describe such speech as an oligolect. I doubt such a word exists, but I reckon it ought to; and if enough of us use it, maybe it will. :o)
I think one also has to be careful in distinguishing between dialect and idiolect. I agree entirely. I think the way I was thinking that each individual has a particular idiolect but that you can detect a few major dialectical influences on that overall pattern? Is that a fair way of looking at it?
Persegirl-babblespeak is definitely not a dialect *snort* No, hardly. I don't think it's significantly distinct from the class / regional norm other than that we tend to speak too fast.
do you think it's possible for one person's idiolect to be a part of someone else's dialect I don't think so. I think if you have picked up bits of my idiolect, or the Persegirl oligolect, that's part of your own idiolect. It's only if you've picked up speech patterns from me that are general to English people or some other significant group that you could call that a dialect influence, IMO.
It's only if you've picked up speech patterns from me that are general to English people or some other significant group that you could call that a dialect influence, IMO.
Except that's really silly. I picked up set X of speech patterns from you, and set X contains bits of set P (Persegirl oligolect) and bits of set E (general English/Cantabrigian/Oxonian/whatever dialect). In some cases I may happen to know which set the speech pattern originated in, but not in many cases. So while perhaps it's all an idiolect influence or all a dialect influence, I don't think that in my own speech patterns one ought to separate out the two.
All of this talk or regional differences in dialect reminds me of the Harvard Dialect Study, which I believe darcydodo actually participated in while they were still collecting data. It is probably quite a bit more interesting to American readers than it is to you Brits and Scots, since it maps dialect differences in the US. Still, it does illustrate regional dialect differences very nicely, and shows what these surveys that you are doing would maybe look like, if taken to their logical extreme.
After all the English vs. Scottish discussion in the comments on the last poll, I thought it might be prudent to address both separately. I guess I should have just said "Brits" or, alternatively, "Anglos and Scots". Oops.
Nono... you did good. It's nice to see someone making an effort to be polite about such things. I just wouldn't want you to be confused. Well, actually, I would want you to be confused, as confusion reflects a full knowledge of the facts :(
I had to try to find a term for 'Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, The Isle of Man and The Channel Islands' recently. There is no such term, unless you count 'The British Isles' which offends many people.
I'd suggest you just wave a hand towards the mainland, mutter a bit and hope for the best ;)
Several people mentioned school as a factor that influenced their dialect. This makes a lot of sense; I think I'd been working on the assumption that most people go to school with people with a fairly similar dialect to their own native one, but of course this is far from a given. So yes, good point.
jpallan pointed out that primary language development can be influenced by people who are not one's parents: yes, good point and my poll wasn't really worded to allow for that.
chickenfeet mentioned a spouse's dialect, and by extension, I'd left out partners from different linguistic backgrounds.
zdamiana talks about a family that I spent a lot of time with when I was a young child; this is something I would not have expected to be a big influence, to be honest. But picking up the dialect of a close friend is perhaps in the same kind of category as a partner.
rho included speech therapy from someone with a different base dialect from her; I would guess this is a fairly unusual case but still an interesting possible influence.
She also mentions the internet as an influence on her dialect, which is an interesting thought. I suppose I don't think of the internet as intrinsically different from interacting with people from different linguistic backgrounds in general.
darcydodo spent time in England long LONG after the age of 9, but I'm not quite sure why this is in the 'other' section when there was a perfectly good option in the original poll for 'Country or countries where you lived in the past after the [age] of 9'.
The family that I referred to in my comment was my childhood best friend's family, and they were dialectically significantly different from my family. Both my parents were born in the US to parents who had also been born and raised in the US. My best friend's father was British, and her mother was bilingual in French and English. I think she had been raised in the US by French speaking parents, but I am not positive about that.
In any case, I remember noticing many dialect differences between our households, and opted to pick and choose the idioms that I liked best. For instance, my friend's family pronounced "either" as if it started with the word "eye", while my family pronounced it with a long "E" sound. I preferred the "eye" version, and still pronounce it that way.
Because I think that had I lived in England from age 10 to age 18, say, or even age 10 to age 14, my dialect would be very, very, very different than having lived in the US until I was 18 and then living in England for four years.
idiolect means the speech of an individual person at a particular point in time
dialect is a loaded and confusing term. Max Weinreich defined it thus :
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<b>idiolect</b> means the speech of an individual person at a particular point in time
<b>dialect</b> is a loaded and confusing term. Max Weinreich defined it thus : <a href="http://www.olestig.dk/scotland/weinreich.html>"A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey un a flot"</a> (a language is a dialect with an army and a navy). Chambers Online defines it as :<i>"a form of a language spoken in a particular region or by a certain social group, differing from other forms in grammar, vocabulary, and in some cases pronunciation."</i>
I probably shouldn't have filled in the poll as I don't think I have a dialect: I have an extremely idiosyncratic idiolect. I don't have a dialect because my vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar etc don't match anyone else's that closely. Either that or I have more than one dialect (Perhaps I am 60% East-Coast Scottish, 30% university-educated-Brit and 10% South-African-Jewish?)
My mother is South African. My father is English (and a grammar school boy to boot). In my early years I was exposed to a myriad of Scottish accents from as far away as the Orkney Islands. I identify as Scottish, British, Jewish, (upper) middle class, female and reasonably well educated. These are in no particular order (and yes, gender often influences dialect).
Incidentally I pronounce "either" and "schedule" both ways at different times. I don't know what determines which pronunciation I use at any given time. Friends have commented that my accent changes dramatically depending on the context and interlocutor, so I'm ready to believe there is a pattern to when I use the different pronunciations of these two words, if only what my interlocutor said first.