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March 4, 2013 6:53 AM   Subscribe

If a shibboleth is a way to determine an "insider", by saying something that only an "insider" could say, what is something that an "insider" would never say? How about a 'Frisco'?

Friscos For Scientists I: 'Correlation Does Not Imply Causation'
What civilians fail to understand is that causation is never directly observable and causation is never in the data but in the theory. And data (correlational or otherwise) simply support or refute the theory. Data themselves without theory do not tell us anything; data are always equivocal.
posted by the man of twists and turns (209 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
What if you know the terms insiders don't use, so you use them just to piss those people off? This was so easy to do in the 80's when goth both wanted to be and refute the cool kids.

I also run into this in sports. I know how some of the terms are used, but don't care enough to get them correct, and sometimes getting it wrong on purpose is more fun for me than the game.

Yeah, I know, I am an asshole. Stuff it in your five hole.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


Heh, as an Angeleno, I always call it 'Frisco. Always.

I guess an anti-shibboleth for Angelenos who are climatologists might be "desert." The climate here is not desert. It's Mediterranean.

Another might be our freeway nomenclature. We don't say "I-5" or "Interstate Five" or "The Santa Ana Freeway." We call it "The Five".
posted by notyou at 7:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the article:
"I would like to see the same thing happen to the word “frisco.” From now on, I would like the word to mean “a word or phrase that inadvertently gives away and identifies outsiders and imposters, because insiders would never use it.” At the very least, if this new meme sticks, native San Franciscans would thank us when the dreaded word “frisco” no longer refers to their beloved city."
That seems a little over-eager to me, kind of like trying to pick your own nickname. I can't argue against the concept of a 'frisco' but his attitude is coming across like, "ooh! yeah! Call me 'Mantis' from now on!"

or maybe I just think it shouldn't be a 'frisco' but a 'nawlins' instead.
posted by komara at 7:04 AM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Heh, as an Angeleno, I always call it 'Frisco. Always.

THIS MEANS WAR
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:04 AM on March 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Dan knew that people from all over the country think it’s cool to call San Francisco “Frisco,” but no genuine native San Franciscans would ever use the word to describe their city.

Hey man there are people living in Oregon who refuse to pronounce the invisible e at the end. They pronounce it Ore-gun instead of Ore-gone. Go figure. I'm not sure anyone can rely on what locals say things are called.
posted by three blind mice at 7:05 AM on March 4, 2013


In DC, it's POTUS and FLOTUS (though SCOTUS is OK).
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:07 AM on March 4, 2013


I'm afraid your quaint and precious little town wouldn't hold up well, if it came to that, potsmokinghippieoverlord.

three blind mice reminds me that we have a street here in the LBC called "Ximeno," but that everybody pronounces "Exx-Zem-En-Oh."
posted by notyou at 7:09 AM on March 4, 2013


I've always called these beantowns. Not really but it's nice to have a name for them. My wife and I have huge fun using these around my 7th grade son, who sleeps, eats, and breathes sports. It infuriates him. "Oh, look, he scored a free shot!" IT'S A FREE THROW MOM!!! "I hope he passes a touchdown here!" ITS SCORES A TOUCHDOWN!!!! GOD!!!!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:11 AM on March 4, 2013 [27 favorites]


"HTML code" and "software program"
posted by DU at 7:12 AM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Hmmm. I wonder what Metafilter Friscos there are besides using @username and ETA?
posted by yoink at 7:12 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The closest town to my house is Hell, and it pisses folks off to no end when outsiders refer to it as Hades, and, you REALLY don't want to piss those people off.
posted by HuronBob at 7:15 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


L.A. has a lot of shibboleths determined by whether or not you can pronounce the names of our streets:

Sepulveda
Cahuenga
La Cienega

Are the top three examples.

Also, as a native 3RD GENERATION Angeleno, I would never, in a million years refer to San Francisco as "Frisco". I don't refer to it very often though...
posted by Sophie1 at 7:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I grew up in the Bay Area and called the city by the bay Frisco ironically.

In other news, Herb Caen (the original prohibitionist) lives on in Twitterville.

"Caress each Spanish syllable, salute our Italian Saint. Don't say Frisco and don't say San-Fran-Cis-Co. That's the way Easterners, like Larry King pronounce it. It's more like SanfrnSISco."

posted by chavenet at 7:19 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm tickled that this dude's giving this a name, as I love saying these; much like stupidsexyFlanders, it's fun as heck to watch someone bristle when you say a "frisco".

Though as a New Hampshirite, I always felt antagonistic toward the West Wing because they pronounced "Concord" as "con-chord" rather than "conquered".
posted by Greg Nog at 7:20 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


ITS SCORES A TOUCHDOWN!!!! GOD!!!!

All he did was cross a painted line, it's not really a "touchdown."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2013


It’s not like scientists are physically incapable of saying “correlation does not imply causation,” ... It’s just that no real scientists would.

I wonder if any of these real scientists are also real Scotsmen? I used Google Scholar to find that exact phrase in use before 1990, presumably well before "all the idiots on the internet" started using the phrase. There are quite a few results, and widening the search for similar phrases gives even more. Similar searches on Google Books likewise turn up a lot of relevant hits. Most of the uses are by statisticians, economists, psychologists, and education researchers. Perhaps Mr. Kanazawa does not consider them real scientists. But here is an example from a zoologist:

"It is important to realize that correlation does not imply causation." Barry Chernoff, Character variation among populations and the analysis of biogeography [pdf], 22 Am. Zoologist 425, 434 (1982) (emphasis added).
posted by jedicus at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've always referred to this kind of thing as a lamestain, but I kind of like "Frisco" better.
posted by steambadger at 7:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Using " y'all " as a second person singular.

Calling me on the phone and addressing me by my legal first name, which automatically identifies you as some asshole I've never met.
posted by tyllwin at 7:22 AM on March 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's not a full marathon, it's just a marathon. The half marathon is a half marathon, however. They aren't juggling pins, they are juggling clubs.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:27 AM on March 4, 2013


There's a theory that both "N'awlins" and "The Big Easy" were invented to be able to tell who is a tourist, but I don't believe it. Not speaking with one of the hundred of Yat accents identifies you as a tourist. Calling it "N'awlins" identifies you as somebody who probably won't leave Bourbon street.

New Orleans is full of Shibbolets, but mostly because everything down there is mispronounced. Burgundy is Bur-GUN-dy. Calliope is KAL-ee-ope. Terpsichore is TERPS-ih-kore. When I moved away from New Orleans, I saw an office called Persiscope and immediately pronounced it Per-i-sco-pee.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:28 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


In other news, Herb Caen (the original prohibitionist) lives on in Twitterville.

As much as I loves me (and misses me) some Herb Caen, he's not the original prohibitionist. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Joshua Norton has him beat by ~80 years:

"Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word "Frisco", which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars."

BTW, the fact that there's only about 80 years between Emperor Norton and Herb Caen? Holy crap.
posted by Myca at 7:34 AM on March 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


I agree with Jedicus. My field of science uses the single-subject designs such as Reversal, Multiple-Baseline, and Alternating Treatment, which is used to show causation apart from correlation.

Statistical analysis is simple to do, but if one needs to rely on statistical analysis to find a .05 improvement over baseline, then the intervention really is not going to significantly affect the outcome (be it appropriate social behavior, or department effectiveness) in a way that will be life- or business-changing.

So, yeah, I think this is a "no true scotsman" thing going on.
posted by rebent at 7:35 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "Friscos For Scientists I: 'Correlation Does Not Imply Causation'"

Except I have heard scientists use this, and it means almost the opposite of what the linked piece takes it to mean.

It is not something people generally use to "dismiss any scientific study or data that they personally don’t like." It is, rather, much more commonly used as an explanation for and counter to the common (and mistaken) intuitive but unscientic belief that correlation UNQUESTIONABLY MEANS causation, something I have encountered often. (Maybe I should tell you the story of how an employer of mine once tried to "prove" that asthma medication actually causes asthma ...)

The article even demonstrates this without being fully aware it's done so, in the poorly thought-out section where he first states that "... people who say 'Correlation does not imply causation' ... also appear to be very nasty people given to name calling", than admits that his data don't show anything of the kind and the correlation probably actually points to a third source causing both things ("Both are symptoms of the problems of the internet, where anyone without any qualifications or expertise can say anything"). And he is all the while unaware that he has just blithely punctured his own argument that correlation actually does imply causation since in the one example he gives it absolutely doesn't.
posted by kyrademon at 7:35 AM on March 4, 2013 [20 favorites]


NYC is full of them as well. We stand on line, not in line. We say Howston and not Hewston. And so on.

A good example of an anti-shibboleth would be the way people who aren't from New England like to think that the capital City of Massachusetts is pronounced "Bahston" by natives. No, we would only say it that way if it were spelled "Barston." Other anti-shibboleths would be calling most any city by its popularized nickname. I never heard anyone call the city where I grew up "Beantown" and I've never heard anyone call the city where I live "the Big Apple."
posted by slkinsey at 7:36 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It’s like you can always spot Canadians as soon as they say “house” or “out” (although there would be a few false positives among Minnesotans)...

And I say this as a 37-year resident of Minnesota, no. If someone in Minnesota pronounces "out" as "oot," they are Canadian. Period.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:36 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was some ad campaign in the Boston area (for a newspaper or news program or something) that featured Massachusetts-area instances of this. The one I remember was saying that residents referred to "Cape Cod" as "The Cod.," and that there's never a traffic problem getting there on summer Saturdays. (Pro tip: leave Boston by 0700 on a summer Saturday and there will be no traffic delays to speak of.)
posted by rmd1023 at 7:38 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never heard anyone call the city where I grew up "Beantown" and I've never heard anyone call the city where I live "the Big Apple."

Same with "Hotlanta" or "The ATL". Also, people who try to put a tony Spanish accent on "Ponce de Leon".
posted by steambadger at 7:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am also too using "Frisco" whenever I can.

I was born and raised in Frisco and I think this is really funny. Most Friscans bristle or politely "correct" you, but some get genuinely upset. Try it on your Facebook right now!

Also, most Friscans moved there in their 20s, or actually live in Walnut Creek, which makes their stuffiness all the more hysterical.

Here in Seaatle, we will always have Puyallup and geoduck.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also, the author is confused. A shibboleth is a word that an outsider invariably "mispronounces" but insiders don't, but he gives such mispronunciations as examples of 'friscos. 'Frisco itself is a 'frisco, but it's the only example he gives.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


The railway line from England to France runs through the Channel Tunnel, no matter how cute the word "chunnel" sounds.

The fact that British newspapers often refer to it as the chunnel means nothing. They universally refer to children as "tots", a word unheard in spoken English.
posted by ambrosen at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I say this as a 37-year resident of Minnesota, no. If someone in Minnesota pronounces "out" as "oot," they are Canadian. Period.

Wouldn't the Canadian also be afraid of the dark? Just turn out the lights!
posted by Talez at 7:45 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


As Tufte put it, "correlation may not imply causation, but it sure is a hint."

Interesting find.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:46 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


We say The Chunnel in America because it was the title of an extremely suspenseful movie thriller from the 90s, in which there is an explosion in The Chunnel and the president's daughter is caught in it, or something.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Towns are often a source of this: Versailles Ky, for example.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:50 AM on March 4, 2013


As for the Angeleno street names:

On my first visit to LA, I was plussed to find I knew how LA street names were pronounced. I then realized I could hear a specific voice pronouncing the names.

It was Jack Webb, in the 1950's TV series Dragnet, a police procedural set in LA. He always helpfully said he was "turning north on Sepulveda" or "right onto La Cienega", usually with a shot of a lamppost street sign.
posted by hexatron at 7:52 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


The article even demonstrates this without being fully aware it's done so ... he is all the while unaware that he has just blithely punctured his own argument that correlation actually does imply causation since in the one example he gives it absolutely doesn't.
I thought that was intentional, and funny.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:54 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll say it again, if you ask me how to get to The Avenue of the Americas I might deliberately send you the wrong way.

I find this excruciating when people in AA meetings on TV say or do things which have never happened at any AA meeting ever. Any MeFi screenwriters: please find a sober friend to check stuff with. I and if you don't have a sober friend, you always have me.
posted by shothotbot at 7:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is not something people generally use to "dismiss any scientific study or data that they personally don’t like."
kyrademon

I agree that the article is problematic, but this is exactly how it's used online. The author is right about that. Virtually every time I've ever read a discussion online about some study, an Internet Scientist is quick to jump in with that line as if it's some brilliant observation that the study's authors and the rest of us missed.

It is, rather, much more commonly used as an explanation for and counter to the common (and mistaken) intuitive but unscientic belief that correlation UNQUESTIONABLY MEANS causation, something I have encountered often.

But again, on the Internet you get the opposite. When the line is trotted out in online discussions it's often as some sort of silver bullet that UNQUESTIONABLY destroys a study because "correlation doesn't imply causation so this result means nothing". I've seen arguments like that time and time again, even here on MetaFilter. People snarkily toss the line out as if it's some logic bomb that annihilates all before it.

As jedicus points out I'm not sure how useful this concept is for scientists in general, but it's a good point about online behavior.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


I wonder what Metafilter Friscos there are besides using @username and ETA?

QFT, and anything ever said on Reddit (e.g., "Nice try, poster's mom.")
posted by wenestvedt at 7:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, two other New Hampshire ones I just remembered: we have towns called "Berlin" and "Lebanon," pronounced BERR-lin and LEB-anin. It still kinda fucks with me to say the name of the Lebanese Republic out loud, as I instinctively pronounce it like the New Hampshire town.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:57 AM on March 4, 2013


Articles written by Canadians about traveling to Florida tend to refer to "the I-95" and "the I-4." Which is a great way to immediately be identified as From Somewhere Else. Might as well ask if the rest areas on the I-95 have washrooms.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:58 AM on March 4, 2013


Oh, the people who pronounce the name of my city or province incorrectly. I can accept Montreal where the first syllable rhymes with lawn, but Quebec is not pronounced Kwee-bek.

Actually I can't accept the first.
posted by jeather at 7:59 AM on March 4, 2013


People snarkily toss the line out as if it's some logic bomb that annihilates all before it.

An example of being hoist on one's own petard?
posted by notyou at 7:59 AM on March 4, 2013


Hey man there are people living in Oregon who refuse to pronounce the invisible e at the end. They pronounce it Ore-gun instead of Ore-gone.

What madness speak you of? Are you also one of those people who (SO WRONGLY) pronounces "Nevada" as ne-vah-da? (Their tourism bureau literally put a grammar school "short a" diacritic on the logo to keep people from doing that.)

It's not a full marathon, it's just a marathon.

Seriously. Same with triathlon. Nothing makes a conversation grind to a halt like "Well, there's not really a full triathlon, there are four general distances..."

posted by psoas at 8:00 AM on March 4, 2013


Nothing can take place in Long Island. Things can only take place on Long Island.
posted by bleep at 8:03 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


A good example of an anti-shibboleth would be the way people who aren't from New England like to think that the capital City of Massachusetts is pronounced "Bahston" by natives. No, we would only say it that way if it were spelled "Barston."

This annoys me to no end.

Though as a New Hampshirite, I always felt antagonistic toward the West Wing because they pronounced "Concord" as "con-chord" rather than "conquered".

C'mon, West Wing, get it together. Conquered, Massachusetts, was named to mock the British.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:03 AM on March 4, 2013


Hey Slarty - don't forget Cle Elum and Sequim!
posted by dbmcd at 8:04 AM on March 4, 2013


In Atlanta, it's Ponce de Leon Ave. People who've lived here for a while pronounce it to rhyme with "neon."

Also, natives pronounce only one (or sometimes none) of the Ts in the name of the city - either "At-lanna" or "Alanna" (the latter is the AAVE pronunciation.) Pronouncing both Ts gets you branded as a newcomer, which isn't the worst thing in the world since no one's actually FROM here in the first place.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:06 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not a full marathon, it's just a marathon.
...
Seriously. Same with triathlon. Nothing makes a conversation grind to a halt like "Well, there's not really a full triathlon, there are four general distances..."


Similarly, Hollywood has greatly encouraged this error, but in my profession, we actually just call it a "Monty".
posted by Greg Nog at 8:06 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


But again, on the Internet you get the opposite.

I absolutely agree about the way the phrase is frequently used by non-scientists, particularly in internet discussions of scientific research. But the phrase is used by scientists, albeit often in different settings, with a different connotation, and for a different purpose.

So I guess you could say "No real scientist would say 'correlation is not causation' in an attempt to casually dismiss scientific research whose results they disagree with, likely without having read the paper in question and without an understanding of the statistical methods employed." But that's really just a special case of "No real scientist criticizes research that they don't undertand." But even that probably isn't true as a descriptive matter, even as much as it probably ought to be true as a normative one.
posted by jedicus at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2013


L.A. has a lot of shibboleths determined by whether or not you can pronounce the names of our streets:
Sepulveda
Cahuenga
La Cienega
posted by Sophie1 at 10:17 AM on March 4 [+] [!]


I got tripped up by Los Feliz last time I was there. The guy I was there to work with corrected me like half a dozen times, but I never remembered to get it right. I still couldn't tell you the "right" way.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2013


I "favorited" this thread because you referred to data in the plural.
I have a degree in journalism. :\
posted by GoingToShopping at 8:10 AM on March 4, 2013


I have a degree in journalism. :\

High five! I owe you a beer once I can afford one.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


In St. Louis, this road: Spoede. It's pronounced spade-y.

In Portland, this road: Couch. It's pronounced cooch.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


In London, this place: Beauchamp. It's pronounced "beechum"
In London, this square: Leicester. It's pronounced "Lester"
posted by chavenet at 8:18 AM on March 4, 2013


Heh, Oregon has so many of these, there's a book every immigrant should just buy at the border.

Living in southern California for a few years, the biggest stumbling block for names seemed to be whether you used a (close enough) Spanish pronunciation or a completely Anglicized version.
As a non Spanish white guy, this made traffic reports an interesting lottery, since the speed of delivery and accent completely changed when they hit a Spanish name.

"Traffic is slow approaching Del Mar Heights, also slow southbound at Lomas Santa Fe, whatever you do don't take the (burst of incomprehensible Spanish) exit, you'll be sitting for hours"
posted by madajb at 8:19 AM on March 4, 2013


Using " y'all " as a second person singular.

There are situations where people might be forgiven for thinking southerners (and other y'all-users) do this. Often when I used to work at a bookstore and a customer was addressing me as a representative of the company, they'd refer to me as "y'all" even though I was the only person standing there. And I have also heard southerners straight up say "aren't y'all sweet," "y'all crazy" or the like when they are referring to the actions of one person, but referencing them as members of a abstract class or group (which is sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly, patronizing or insulting).

It's technically them using a second-person plural form, but you can see how it might creep into a general use of "y'all" for both singular and plural, or be analyzed that way.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 8:20 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


REAL denizens call it "Fris-yotch"
posted by Renoroc at 8:25 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


No true Mefite would acknowledge the cabal.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:25 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


In parts of middle Tennessee "y'all" can easily be used as singular which is why they've developed "y'uns" for the plural.

(in case that's not good enough, you can also apply possession which leads to things like, "Is that truck over there y'uns's?"

[I know that second apostrophe shouldn't be there in the plural but it's hard to parse without it]
posted by komara at 8:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


lefty lucky cat, thanks -- that's the first sensible explanation of that phenomenon I've ever heard. "Y'all" is never singular, and it drives me nuts when some tv actor trying to face a southern accent uses it that way; but I am indeed apt to approach a loan convenience store clerk and ask "Where do y'all keep the milk?", and I see how it could be misunderstood.
posted by steambadger at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2013


Huh, I always thought the second person plural was "All y'all." Looks like I was wrong.
posted by Hactar at 8:35 AM on March 4, 2013


I got tripped up by Los Feliz last time I was there. The guy I was there to work with corrected me like half a dozen times, but I never remembered to get it right. I still couldn't tell you the "right" way.

Well, to the average Angeleno, it's Los FEE-liz. To a native Spanish speaker, it's Los Feh-LEEZ.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the "correlation does not imply causation" thing is an embarrassingly wrong example, given the theme of the article. "Real scientists" do say it: I occasionally have to say just that to my grad students (though most everyone gets it, at this point). I think what the guy's trying to say, though, is that it's now misinterpreted to mean that "correlation has no relationship to causation", which is, of course, wrong.

I do have a frisco for you, though: I'm a dynamical systems guy, and we never say "chaos theory" to describe our field, even when studying chaos. It used to be a sure sign of a noob. However, at this point--what is it, now, a decaded after Gleick's book?--even the pros have started to give in and use it, though often with air quotes.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:38 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey man there are people living in Oregon who refuse to pronounce the invisible e at the end. They pronounce it Ore-gun instead of Ore-gone. Go figure. I'm not sure anyone can rely on what locals say things are called.

The internet disagrees. It would only rhyme with gone is you say pronounce God as gawd.

Also, it's Chi-CAW-go. Not Chi-CAH-go. Or the horrifying Chee-CAH-go.
posted by gjc at 8:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's one in the field of science that makes the hairs on my neck stand on end:

HIV virus or AIDS virus.

The "news media" uses these terms constantly and it's like nails on a chalkboard. Argh.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:42 AM on March 4, 2013


thanks -- that's the first sensible explanation of that phenomenon I've ever heard. "Y'all" is never singular, and it drives me nuts when some tv actor trying to face a southern accent uses it that way; but I am indeed apt to approach a loan convenience store clerk and ask "Where do y'all keep the milk?", and I see how it could be misunderstood.

The key thing here is that it can be misunderstood (or analyzed differently) not only by non-southerners, but by southerners themselves, eventually resulting in very regular usage as the second-person singular.

Remember that at one time you was the second-person plural in English, contrasted with thou as second-person singular (the objective forms, anyway). If you're familiar with how the second-person singular and plural forms in Spanish and French can be used when referring to one person to connotate respect or social distance, that's the process that resulted in you eventually supplanting thou. And leaving that unstable use of you in both single and plural second person. So it's changed before, and it could again.

Hactar, that would be nice and tidy, but as a Texan, I use all y'all as an emphatic second-person plural. Namely, when the situation calls for it with friends giving you a hard time, a hearty "fuck all y'all."
posted by lefty lucky cat at 8:44 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, I always thought the second person plural was "All y'all." Looks like I was wrong.

You're not wrong, it's just not the only way to do it.
posted by komara at 8:45 AM on March 4, 2013


Huh, I always thought the second person plural was "All y'all." Looks like I was wrong.

That is additional emphasis on the statement inclusiveness, not a change in the number of people being referenced. It can be good emphasis or bad emphasis.
posted by winna at 8:45 AM on March 4, 2013


Looks like the Frisco for Friscoes is talking about shibboleths instead. Or, more likely, that coinage is DOA.
posted by RogerB at 8:56 AM on March 4, 2013


It's not "fuck all y'all" its "fuck yous guys"
posted by Ad hominem at 8:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


"What civilians fail to understand is that causation is never directly observable and causation is never in the data but in the theory."

No. We realize this. Correlation is not equal to causation is shorthand for, "your theory/mechanism is bad and you should feel bad ."

"Using Google Ngram, Dan shows that the frequency of the phrase 'Correlation does not imply causation' in books archived in Google Books has historically increased in tandem with the frequency of epithets like 'douchebag' and 'numbnuts.'"

Correlation. Ha. I see what you did there. Clearly these guys are trolling.

And of course laypeople are skeptical of science reporting, because science reporting loves to (to use another cliche) make a mountain out of a molehill. And most journalists don't know good science from bad. I should know, I went to j-school and overheard so many people say, "I 'm so glad I never have to take math again!"

And especially in public policy, non-scientist policymakers love, love, love to make policy out of headlines. "Correlation is not equal to causation," *is* meant to be a shaming phrase, and it is one that is badly needed. If Slate wants to be butthurt, that's cool, but we'll need a new way to shame bad science reporting to prevent it from turning into bad policy.
posted by Skwirl at 8:58 AM on March 4, 2013


Remember that at one time you was the second-person plural in English, contrasted with thou as second-person singular (the objective forms, anyway). If you're familiar with how the second-person singular and plural forms in Spanish and French can be used when referring to one person to connotate respect or social distance, that's the process that resulted in you eventually supplanting thou. And leaving that unstable use of you in both single and plural second person. So it's changed before, and it could again.

Not only could, but many linguists argue that it is undergoing this change and that singular y'all is becoming increasingly prevalent in the South (also that "y'all"--plural and singular--is moving steadily into general American speech and becoming steadily less of a regional marker). Other linguists argue that it has always, in fact, been present and that the "rule" about it being plural was always more notional than practical. It is, in any case, a fraught area in sociolinguistic study.
posted by yoink at 9:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


In St. Louis, this road: Spoede. It's pronounced spade-y.

Oh, there's a lot more. Here's the biggest one I can think of.

I-64

Others

Gravois
River Des Peres
Chouteau which, amusingly enough, is actually the one French street name in St. Louis that is at least plausibly pronounced correctly in French.
Lenoir K. Sullivan Blvd. (Pronounced "river", of course.)

I-64, of course, is pronounced "Highway 40."

But Chicago, oh, my....

Devon
Touhy
Paulina
Goethe
Racine
Honore
Leavitt
Wabasha
posted by eriko at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


komara, I've heard all my life -- or, at any rate, since I started caring about things like dialects -- about this Tennessee Brigadoon where "y'all" is used as a singular. I don't doubt it's existence; but I've traveled through large swaths of Tennessee, and I've never heard the usage. Can you pinpoint the area further?
posted by steambadger at 9:04 AM on March 4, 2013


Really? No one has even mentioned the XKCD Shibboleet comic yet? Because that is the first thing I thought of when I read the title and post.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


THROW ANOTHER SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE AND HAND ME A FOSTERS, YA DRONGO.

And that's before we get to Australian place names like Wooloomooloo, Indooroopilly and Maroochydore.

But my favourite is backpackers who decide to walk from Brisbane to Perth, because they are from Denmark and once successfully hitchhiked from Barcelona to Lisbon, and it's much the same, right?
posted by Jilder at 9:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Close to where I live, in London, is an area called De Beauvoir Town. Named after an aristocratic family who owned the land, for centuries it was pronounced “De Beaver”. I believe this was how the family pronounced the name and I can easily believe it rolled off the tongue of the east end inhabitants more comfortably than a fancy French pronunciation. However a few generations of gentrification and compulsory French classes in the school curriculum have renamed it to the point where asking directions to De Beaver Town would only get you some very odd looks.

Although I do have a great business plan for a lap dancing club in the area.
posted by alanbee at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2013


But Chicago, oh, my....

Devon
Touhy
Paulina
Goethe
Racine
Honore
Leavitt
Wabasha


I once had a foreigner pronounce Des Plaines in perfect French pronunciation. I felt awful telling her that while she was completely correct in an international sense, it was completely wrong and nobody here would know what she meant. "Des Planes" broke her poor heart.

"Wabasha"? Do you mean Wabash or Wabansia?
posted by gjc at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2013


Another anecdote about "y'all" as singular: a friend's coworker, who spent her entire life on the James River Peninsula in Virginia, insisted that y'all is the singular, and the plural is "youz'en." I'm pretty sure she wasn't joking.

The pronunciations in that part of America can get pretty strange. See: Gloucester County, Virginia, specifically the area known as "Guinea." Egad.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 9:11 AM on March 4, 2013


steambadger: I've heard it in counties Putnam, Jackson, and White if that helps narrow down the area. Some of the usages may indeed have been in the sense of "addressing a singular individual (such as convenience store clerk) that represents a larger whole" but I've heard it as a straight-up singular address as well.
posted by komara at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If someone in Minnesota pronounces "out" as "oot," they are Canadian. Period.

I would bet you a meal that there is at least one person in Minnesota who says it "oot" or "oat" because they were raised in either tidewater VA (like Pat Robertson, who does this) or Appalachian VA.

Huh, I always thought the second person plural was "All y'all." Looks like I was wrong.

A FRIENDLY GUIDE TO YOU, Y'ALL, AND ALL Y'ALL FOR DAMNYANKEES, BLESS YOUR HEARTS:

If I invite *you* to supper, I am inviting just you for some reason. Not your spouse, not your children, just you. Also I am an inhospitable jerk.

If I invite *y'all* to supper, even if I am only speaking to you personally, I am inviting you, your spouse, kids, -- your nuclear family.

If I invite *all y'all* to supper, I am inviting you, your nuclear family, grandparents and grandkids, cousins, nieces, nephews, old friends from college, etc, including hound dogs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2013 [17 favorites]


"Traffic is slow approaching Del Mar Heights, also slow southbound at Lomas Santa Fe, whatever you do don't take the exit, you'll be sitting for hours"

Lomasanta Fe. The second 's' is subsumed into the first one (it's never Lom-uhs). That's the correct Spanish pronunciation.

Contrast this with the city of Santa Ana, up the road a ways. Native Spanish speakers pronounce the city's name as Sant-ana (the second 'a' subsumed into the first) but most non-Spanish-speaking natives say Santa Ana (they'll get 'Santa' like Claus, but do 'Ana' like the woman's name).

Southern California is, as noted, is full of these. At least most people know how to pronounce La Jolla ('luh hoya') these days. Up here in the Great White North, I did have an older colleague say 'tay-co' instead of 'tah-co' (and 'Eye-talian' instead of 'It-alian') but I think those two pronunciations have mostly been stomped out.

IPA would be a huge help for this thread, but like most people I've long forgotten what I learned of it.
posted by librarylis at 9:17 AM on March 4, 2013


Scotland will always have Kirkcudbright and Milngavie.
posted by scruss at 9:20 AM on March 4, 2013


I was just last week talking to some Bostonians at a meetup about how the inevitable sign of a stranger in Toronto is that he pronounces the name of the city with three syllables.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:22 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still not sure what a Frisco is.

The author begins the article by saying that it is a mispronounced name. But isn't that a shibboleth? Is he making the (odd) distinction that if you are forced to pronounce it (as a test?) it is a shibboleth but if you say it spontaneously, giving yourself away unknowingly, then its a Frisco?

How are these opposites, really?
posted by vacapinta at 9:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


So isn't what a scientist assumes is that correlation has a positive correlation with causation?
posted by Xoc at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2013


Others [St. Louis]

Gravois, River Des Peres, Chouteau, Lenoir K. Sullivan Blvd.


DeBaliviere!

Also, whether they can say they're going to "Schnucks" without laughing has been a reliable indicator in my experience.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:30 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah I don't understand the thing about the scientists. Scientists probably don't wave it around as a catchphrase but it doesn't seem like a totally outlandish thing to say. I know a few scientists and I would not be shocked to hear them use that phrase.
posted by scose at 9:31 AM on March 4, 2013


When I hear someone call it Day-Twa, I know right away they're not really from the Motor City.
posted by klarck at 9:31 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


How are these opposites, really?

Yeah, it sort of seemed like the same thing to me too.

We call it "The Five".

And I still get shit and funny looks for doing that in other parts of the country.

In Atlanta, it's Ponce de Leon Ave. People who've lived here for a while pronounce it to rhyme with "neon."

When speaking to an outsider. If you’re speaking to a local you’d just say Ponce. "It’s on Ponce, across from the old city buildings, where Borders used to be."
posted by bongo_x at 9:32 AM on March 4, 2013


I call is San Fancisky, which outs me with the San Franciscans, but ins me with the SCTV fans. WHERE'S YOUR FANCY TERM FOR THAT?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:33 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Living in southern California for a few years, the biggest stumbling block for names seemed to be whether you used a (close enough) Spanish pronunciation or a completely Anglicized version.
As a non Spanish white guy, this made traffic reports an interesting lottery, since the speed of delivery and accent completely changed when they hit a Spanish name.


This has always made me crazy and I don’t understand it. Random people seem to do it on the news everywhere, but it’s really bad in SoCal. When I’m watching the spanish language channel they don’t slip into a bad English accent when using English words.
posted by bongo_x at 9:35 AM on March 4, 2013


And oh god, don't even get me started on Bexar county, TX.

It's pronounced "bear," and if you get it wrong, they will hang up on your ass, even if you're just calling the County Assessor because you need to figure out if the new goddamned subdivision is going to be in the 100-year flood plane and it's not on any goddamned maps yet, and you feel like saying, "Hey, man. I'm in California. I'm not going to pronounce your shit right, but if you let me do my goddamned job then maybe, maybe when all of your shit floods, you'll be insured."

...

It's possible that's been stewing a while.
posted by Myca at 9:35 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


two other New Hampshire ones I just remembered: we have towns called "Berlin" and "Lebanon," pronounced BERR-lin and LEB-anin.

We have the same pronunciation of Berlin here in Connecticut (although our "Lebanon" is pronounced the more common way). We also have "Coventry," which is KAH-ventry here, as opposed to "KUH-ventry" and gave me away as "not from around here" when I moved.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:36 AM on March 4, 2013


It's been really interesting seeing how that phrase has proliferated. I've had the privilege to be some people's very first college science TA, and every single one my students has been able to say "correlation is not causation" when a (ding!) correlation study is mentioned as such. And yet it's often a journey to get from there to being able to construct statements for specific studies of the form "Actually, B might cause A, or C might cause both", or to understand why this is a more central critique of a study than "their measure could have been more sensitive."
posted by heyforfour at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


San Diego's shiboleets:

Jamacha Blvd
Morena Blvd
Cañon St
Waring Rd
And if it wasn't for certain presidential candidates La Jolla would be one too.

San Diego's Friscos:
A whale's vagina
posted by The Power Nap at 9:40 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It’s on Ponce, across from the old city buildings, where Borders used to be."

Or, if you really want to separate the wheat from the chaff: "next to the magnolia tree that used to be in center field."
posted by steambadger at 9:42 AM on March 4, 2013


How are these opposites, really?
I think that a shibboleth is secret knowledge that identifies you as an insider, while a frisco is secret ignorance that identifies you as an outsider.

Though now that you've pointed it out, there is a word for an anti-shibboleth already in the origin story: a bit of ignorance that reveals you as an outsider should be called a "sibboleth."
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:44 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm still not sure what a Frisco is.

Not surprising, because the article's actual definition of the term and its examples are at loggerheads, and the article is also pretty confused in general about what a shibboleth is. As others have pointed out already: all the examples besides "Frisco" are shibboleths, not "anti-shibboleths" as Kanazawa for some reason calls them. (And a Frisco itself, as he later defines it, is a particular kind of shibboleth as well, in the broader non-pronunciation-specific sense.) If a Frisco is "a word or phrase that inadvertently gives away and identifies outsiders and imposters, because insiders would never use it," then it's not a matter of pronunciation. And this thread's focus on place names and local identities is a red herring, too — there are many other kinds of in-group/out-group language barriers besides locality.

If the coinage were going to stick (which it isn't), I imagine Friscoes would be things like:

Going to the auto mechanic and saying there's a problem with the "motor"
Calling the IT help desk and saying "the Internet" isn't working (rather than the Web browser) or "there's a problem with my email" (rather than your specific mail client)
Talking to a game designer about "immersion"
Telling a screenwriter to make a character more "relatable"
Asking a literary critic what a new book is "about" or what its "themes" are
posted by RogerB at 9:46 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Despite being listed as the name of the state in Article 4 of the constitution, if you call it Éire then we know you're not from there! Same goes for 'speaking Gaelic'
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:49 AM on March 4, 2013


I'm not sure how universal this is in the US legal system, but here goes:

I was firmly taught by multiple people that attorneys should never say "let the record reflect" in a courtroom, but rather "may the record reflect." The former could be a reverse shibboleth, indicating that you're learning courtroom conduct from movies. Ditto for counsel reacting to a judge for granting a motion in his or her favor - you say "yes, Your Honor," not "thank you, Your Honor." The judge gets "thanked" every two weeks by direct deposit - there should be no impression that the judge is doing you any personal favors.

I don't have anything to do with courtrooms, so I couldn't say how true (or universally true) this is in the wild.

...

For New York City: nobody actually calls Sixth Avenue "Avenue of the Americas."
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:50 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


In DC if you say "Washington," it better either be in the recitation of an address, or else followed by the word "Capitals," "Nationals," "Redskins", "Wizards" or "State."

Everyone actually from there just calls it DC or The District. Which is why DC United are the truest team in that area.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:50 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, two other New Hampshire ones I just remembered: we have towns called "Berlin" and "Lebanon," pronounced BERR-lin and LEB-anin.

And just north of Berlin is Milan (MIE-lin). We have some of those here in Maine too: Madrid (MAD-rid), Calais (CAL-iss), etc.
posted by Knappster at 9:50 AM on March 4, 2013


Isn't Frisco that soda that everyone loves to hate?
posted by Talez at 9:51 AM on March 4, 2013


About the term Frisco, despite the imprecations of both Emperor Norton and Herb Caen, it has been in frequent widespread use in African-American communities in the city and surrounding Bay Area for the past decade or two (which sort of makes it a meta-shibboleth, where supposing it to be a universal signifier of outsiderhood marks the person making that claim as an outsider themselves).

Also a few years back the SF transit agency MUNI, displaying the competence for which it is well-known in the area, hired a Houston-area voice actor to record all of the street announcements played back on busses, and then somehow never checked that the recordings were accurate before deploying them out to every bus and train in the city.
posted by whir at 9:52 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Wabasha"? Do you mean Wabash or Wabansia?

I have no idea what the hell happened there. Wabansia, of course. Though if any city could mess us "Wabash", it would be us.

Or England, of course, where it would be pronounced "Wush"
posted by eriko at 9:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh. THAT Satoshi Kanazawa
posted by Roger_Mexico at 9:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh good Lord, THAT Kanazawa indeed. No wonder the blog post is completely incoherent.
posted by RogerB at 9:59 AM on March 4, 2013


Gravois
River Des Peres


To be honest, I have lived in the area since 1995 and I still have no idea. Nor the Cuivre River.


Also, whether they can say they're going to "Schnucks" without laughing has been a reliable indicator in my experience.

Some out of town visitors I had were so amused by Schnucks, they bought souvenirs and wrote an entire Seussian story about The Schnuck.


My favorite shibboleth is Natchitoches, Louisiana.
posted by Foosnark at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I have lived in the area since 1995 and I still have no idea. Nor the Cuivre River.

My favorite is the Big River, which isn't the Mississippi River or the Missouri River, but is this tiny river that flows into the Meramec.
posted by eriko at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2013


Much like Frisco, calling California "Cali" has long been the domain of annoying out-of-state visitors, e.g. "Already missing the sun in Cali! #backtowork"
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know someone's not from North Carolina if they use Barbeque to describe:

1) an event where hamburgers and hot dogs are cooked over fire (a cookout)
2) a metal box with charcoals or propane burners inside (a grill)

Barbeque is a food - chopped pork with spicy vinegar sauce, and tomato ingredients if you're west of Durham.
posted by scose at 10:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think any Englishman in eastern Connecticut would have a hard time finding the "Temms" river. At least if my childhood memories are correct.

(My mother is English, and as an additional note I believe the English, as a general rule love to deliberately mispronounce French words when they're incorporated into English, either as local place names or as a co-opted word.

And my mother is still the only person I've ever heard say "macho" with a short "a".)
posted by maxwelton at 10:29 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Frisco' is only slightly less grating than 'San Fran'.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:32 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


My favorite as a former English teacher:

The first name of the character St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre is pronounced "sin-gin," all one word. This is great because it works as a double Frisco - people who aren't grad students call him "Saint John," and then students who heard you talk about him in class but didn't do the reading write "sinjin" in their papers.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [24 favorites]


The Jersey Shore is never referred to as "The Shore" by locals (at least to other locals.) Locals go to the beach. People from North Jersey, New York and parts west go to The Shore
posted by otto42 at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2013


Ragged Richard: Simmery Axe (St. Mary Axe) is a similar Londonism that non-locals (like myself) would never guess were it not for my familiarity with GIlbert & Sullivan.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:40 AM on March 4, 2013


Pierre, SD, is pronounced "Peer, Sou' Takota."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:45 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Balmur". Not even neighbors of mine in Canton pronounced it this way. Likewise "downy ocean" for "down to Ocean City". Especially as OC was vastly more popular for suburban kids than for anyone living in Baltimore. Most of these were just caricatures of city dialects invented by people outside the city proper.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2013


My dad, from the South, has said "Frisco" his whole life because he’s incapable of pronouncing San Francisco correctly. Not kidding about that.
posted by bongo_x at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2013


I lived in Southern California as a teenager, and so learned to call it "THE 5," which immediately outs me to nearly anyone else who lives along the west coast.

I think, from Bakersfield on up to Seattle, everyone else calls it "5." It's impossible for me to drop the THE.
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I think this is passing out of the realm of 'friscos and into the realm of "annoying verbal shorthand that gets right up my nose," but I really can't take, "Le Miz."

It's Les Miserables.

It was a book before it was a play, movie, soundtrack, action figure set, breakfast cereal, and ice cream topping. Say it right.

This thread is making me more curmudgeonly by the minute, and frankly, I don't have far to go.
posted by Myca at 10:49 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dont know Myca, I think Les Miz and Les Miserables are two seperate works of art.
posted by shothotbot at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's Les Miserables.

Is it Lay Mizer-ahB

or Lay Mizerah-Bluh

or???

That's why we say Les Miz (but I suspect you know that).
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2013


I think part of the thing with a Frisco is it's a colloquial or unusual pronunciation which "out" people have generally cottoned on to, and which the actually "in" have since discarded. It's like a meta shibboleth.

So Leicester Square and similar are plain shibboleths because there's only one trick and once you know it you know it (you may, after all, be from Leicester)

More Friscoey would be something like incomers' diligent efforts not to pronounce the "l" in Holborn or the "y" in Marylebone, when in my experience neither are a big deal at all.

Oh and alanbee the Beavertown Brewery are at least pushing back in the right direction
posted by doiheartwentyone at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2013


Outsiders pronounce the "h" in Amherst, MA
posted by milkfish at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2013


Calling me on the phone and addressing me by my legal first name, which automatically identifies you as some asshole I've never met.

An ex boyfriend's dad has no middle name, so whenever he has to give his contact information for something, he gives a fake middle initial. John A. Smith. John L. Smith. Etc.

Then, when he gets junk mail, he knows which assholes sold his information to some other assholes.

I've always thought this was brilliant.
posted by phunniemee at 10:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's Les Miserables.

Is it Lay Mizer-ahB

or Lay Mizerah-Bluh

or???


Just don't pronounce the way John Travolta did at the Oscars.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Believe it or not, the correct pronunciation of Des Moines is 'Dees Mine'.
posted by cellphone at 11:03 AM on March 4, 2013


I live in the Mid-Hudson region of New York and we have one of these that is both a shibbolith AND a Frisco. Shawangunk. As a shibbolith, it is pronounced SHWAN-gum when referring to my town. When pronounced Shawan-GUNK, it is referring to the mountain ridge that is the geographical hallmark of my town (and is always used in the plural, either as Shawangunks or the Shawangunk Mountains). It becomes a Frisco when you refer to the former using the latter's pronunciation. You're not really accepted into the community until you learn to make the distinction.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also a few years back the SF transit agency MUNI, displaying the competence for which it is well-known in the area, hired a Houston-area voice actor to record all of the street announcements played back on busses, and then somehow never checked that the recordings were accurate before deploying them out to every bus and train in the city.

I think about this every time a bus stops at Val-en-sha street.

In St. Louis, this road: Spoede. It's pronounced spade-y.

And don't forget the one that gave me endless amusement as a sixth-grader new to the city : pronouncing the number "forty" as "farty". So many badly-stifled giggles that my classmates didn't understand.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:12 AM on March 4, 2013


It's Les Miserables.

Is it Lay Mizer-ahB

or Lay Mizerah-Bluh

or???

That's why we say Les Miz (but I suspect you know that).


You're totally right, and (oh, God) 2 semesters of high school French have apparently made me a snob.

I'm so sorry.
posted by Myca at 11:19 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I call is San Fancisky, which outs me with the San Franciscans, but ins me with the SCTV fans.

Did ye drive or did ye flew?

One of my favourite sort of subgenres of this Frisco thing is the tendency of British newspapers to quote North Americans saying things that North Americans would never say, giving away the fact that they've massaged the quote. The most telling example is "have done" where North Americans would never ever add the "done"; e.g. "I promised to put forward a new energy policy and I have done." (An actual North American would either say ". . . and I have" or "and I did.")

I used to have a file of these somewhere but can't seem to locate it. Pretty sure I once read a profile of some Hollywood star where the tell was even more egregious -- calling a sweater a jumper or something like that -- but I can't seem to find it.
posted by gompa at 11:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Actually, the SF anti-shibboleth might be not knowing how to pronounce "Gough".

(Rhymes with "cough".)
posted by madcaptenor at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


They universally refer to children as "tots", a word unheard in spoken English.

Well, I do like Tater Tots.


In eastern MA, if you say "Route 95 in Waltham" (or anywhere between Peabody and Neponset), you're from Away.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


In DC if you say "Washington," it better either be in the recitation of an address, or else followed by the word "Capitals," "Nationals," "Redskins", "Wizards" or "State."

I think this is only really true for people who moved here as adults. Nearly all of the lifelong residents I know, particularly African-Americans over the age of about 50, call it Washington. In fact, I can't find it right now, but someone wrote a piece a while back contrasting "DC" (a city populated primarily by transient, younger, wealthier white people with upwardly mobile government-related jobs) with "Washington" (a city of long-term residents of color from lower-socioeconomic status backgrounds who work in blue- or pink-collar jobs and live in neighborhoods with astonishingly high poverty and crime rates).

So in fact, calling it "DC" would be the sign that you're an outsider.
posted by decathecting at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2013


(or anywhere south of Peabody)

or if you pronounce "Peabody" as if it's the two words "Pea" and "body".
posted by madcaptenor at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2013


When speaking to an outsider. If you’re speaking to a local you’d just say Ponce. "It’s on Ponce, across from the old city buildings, where Borders used to be."

I know right where that is! Have you been up on the Beltline there yet? Yep. This sounds just like Atlanta. Take note: the city building haven't been city buildings for years, and the Borders is now a TJ Maxx.

Giving directions based on semi-notable things that don't exist any more is sort of a directions shibboleth for every city.

I grew up near DC, so it took me a while after moving to Atlanta to stop calling the big circular highway around the city the "Beltway" and start calling it the "Perimeter". I'd worry about the new "Beltline" in Atlanta getting me confused again, but I'm about to move to Portland to get confused by a whole new set of highways.
posted by duien at 12:14 PM on March 4, 2013


As long as we're on the "City Nicknames No Local Would Use" topic, I was always amused, when I lived in Chicago and people from out of town would visit me, they'd always apologize for saying "Chi-Town!"

I'd have to be like, "yeah, you'd think it was gauche to say something as clunky as 'Chi-town' but really as far as I can tell everyone says 'Chi-Town.'"

That was around the time some west side denizen got in the Sun-Times for getting the typo "Chi-Twon" tattooed in huge gothic print on his chest.
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:17 PM on March 4, 2013


I used to have a file of these somewhere but can't seem to locate it. Pretty sure I once read a profile of some Hollywood star where the tell was even more egregious -- calling a sweater a jumper or something like that -- but I can't seem to find it.

When SFGate started their "Daily Dish" blog they ran a story about how some minor-league celebrity was "gobsmacked" to discover something or other....

That's when i figured out that they were just rerunning Daily Mail shit.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2013


Given the number of times Satoshi Kanzawa has falsely linked causation to correlation -- while fibbing about the correlation -- I am not surprised at all he'd like to make this a Thing.
posted by mobunited at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Much like Frisco, calling California "Cali" has long been the domain of annoying out-of-state visitors, e.g. "Already missing the sun in Cali! #backtowork"

Perhaps this is a relic of the fact that California is actually two different states which barely communicate. In my northern California experience, "Cali" is bizarre and foreign, something no local would ever say, but I gather that there are at least some of those weirdos in Los Angeles actually use it seriously, and that may be where all the foreigners got the idea.

In St. Louis, this road: Spoede. It's pronounced spade-y.

Ha. In Sacramento there is a street called Goethe Road, pronounced "gaytey".
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:31 PM on March 4, 2013


The distinction between the shibboleth and the anti-shibboleth doesn't make any sense. I mean, it's really just a matter of time. In a war theater folks don't always have the luxury of just chatting and waiting to see if folks slip up. So you use your racist test ("lollapalooza", "shibboleth" or whatever the people group you're trying to screen against can't say) and kill them if they fail.

I think the fact that this thread is mostly about regionalisms proves my point.
posted by mountmccabe at 12:31 PM on March 4, 2013


I want to organize a huge practical joke to convince tourists, I don't know, that we pronounce "avenue" /a-VEN-yoo/ or native New Yorkers only refer to the Empire State Building as The Well-Lit Phallus or something.
posted by shothotbot at 12:35 PM on March 4, 2013


I want to organize a huge practical joke to convince tourists, I don't know, that we pronounce "avenue" /a-VEN-yoo/ or native New Yorkers only refer to the Empire State Building as The Well-Lit Phallus or something.

The street signs don't say, for example, "42nd St"; they say "42 St". Maybe you could convince people that it's actually pronounced "Forty-two Street" (and similarly for other numbered streets and avenues)?
posted by madcaptenor at 12:40 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Frisco", "San Fran", all that stuff is hooey. Nobody who actually lives here calls it anything less than The City and County of San Francisco.
posted by aubilenon at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


If someone in Minnesota pronounces "out" as "oot," they are Canadian. Period.

I grew up in Grand Forks, walking distance from the MN border, with parents from Kentucky and Missouri, which led to the accents mostly canceling out (and me saying both "y'all" and "aye" at times).

I've lived in Southern California since 1997... but I will still get people asking if I'm from Minnesota when I say "out" (or, sometimes, "roof"). I really don't hear it, despite midwestern accents being really obvious and identifiable to me, and the same people will say I don't have a noticeable accent otherwise, but there's clearly SOMETHING going on with those words and the upper midwest south of the border.
posted by flaterik at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2013


Given the number of times Satoshi Kanzawa has falsely linked causation to correlation -- while fibbing about the correlation -- I am not surprised at all he'd like to make this a Thing.

You mean like this recent column, in which he asserts that we have to give all children their fathers' last names because most matrilineal societies haven't survived into the modern age, thus proving that fathers won't take care of kids who have their mothers' last names and therefore those kids won't survive to adulthood?
posted by decathecting at 12:46 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am here in Louisville, KY (pronounced loo-AH-vull by Kentuckians and loo-EE-vill everyone else). I work my sales territory by phone, and that territory includes San Francisco.

Y'all will remember that the San Francisco 49ers were in the recent Superbowl.

So I was organizing a sales call blitz for San Francisco the week before the Superbowl (everyone in my office spends the day cold-calling around town for leads), and in an email to my counterpart and his boss in San Francisco, I made the mistake of referring to it as "the 'Frisco Superbowl Call Blitz".


Boy howdy. The way they reacted, you'd've thought that I'd referred to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as Big Daddy, Junior, and the Spook. I thought I was going to be kicked off the West Coast Sales Team for half a sec.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:48 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


JauntyFedora: "Much like Frisco, calling California "Cali" has long been the domain of annoying out-of-state visitors, e.g. "Already missing the sun in Cali! #backtowork""

Goin' back to Cali? Ernh, I don't think so.
posted by chavenet at 12:49 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also a few years back the SF transit agency MUNI, displaying the competence for which it is well-known in the area, hired a Houston-area voice actor to record all of the street announcements played back on busses, and then somehow never checked that the recordings were accurate before deploying them out to every bus and train in the city.

When I lived in Toronto a decade ago, I used to love the Moviephone guy, who was clearly reading copy that was insufficiently checked: one of the cinemas is in a complex called Festival Hall, which is on a street a block south of Queen Street. Mr. Moviephone joyously sang out, "Festive Hall, one block south of Q!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:52 PM on March 4, 2013


Here's a good one that is way out there, and can be used to find out whether somebody attended the College of William & Mary: "Talieferro." (It's "tolliver" ... and some Georgians would also know to pronounce it that way, so I suppose it also sorts for Georgians).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 12:53 PM on March 4, 2013


Ragged Richard: "My favorite as a former English teacher:

The first name of the character St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre is pronounced "sin-gin," all one word. This is great because it works as a double Frisco - people who aren't grad students call him "Saint John," and then students who heard you talk about him in class but didn't do the reading write "sinjin" in their papers.
"

Unless they've seen "A View To A Kill"...

James Bond, double-o Frisco.
posted by chavenet at 12:56 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The street signs don't say, for example, "42nd St"; they say "42 St". Maybe you could convince people that it's actually pronounced "Forty-two Street" (and similarly for other numbered streets and avenues)?

Guess we couldn't get away with saying its 42 Saint.
posted by shothotbot at 12:58 PM on March 4, 2013


"I am here in Louisville, KY (pronounced loo-AH-vull by Kentuckians and loo-EE-vill everyone else)."

It was very important to my mother from Bowling Green that she not have a son who could not properly pronounce Louisville. Happily, a recent transplant from there who I work with verifies that I still do.
posted by flaterik at 1:00 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look its very easy, I go with the pronuncation that allows me to harshly judge the most amount of people the most amount of the time.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


The fastest way to send my husband into a gibbering rage is to pronounce Tukwila as Tuh-Quilla.
posted by KathrynT at 1:18 PM on March 4, 2013


Also, I thought this was the correct insider way to pronounce New Orleans. Am I wrong?
posted by KathrynT at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Look its very easy, I go with the pronuncation that allows me to harshly judge the most amount of people the most amount of the time.

That's the me-FIE way! Or, you know, the MEF-fee way if that's what floats your boat.
posted by yoink at 1:26 PM on March 4, 2013


In Philadelphia, pronouncing Passyunk as anything other than 'Pasheyyunk" will let everyone know you aren't from here.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:27 PM on March 4, 2013


Given that a complement of a set is itself a set a shibboleth is logically equivalent to a frisco.
posted by vorpal bunny at 1:33 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh and by the way San Franciscans, we were all talking about Frisco, Texas anyway.
posted by vorpal bunny at 1:35 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Before NJ Transit put automated announcements on its trains, tourists would regularly get board a New York-bound train at EWR and then get off one stop later, at Nork Penn Station.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:37 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Philadelphia, pronouncing Passyunk as anything other than 'Pasheyyunk" will let everyone know you aren't from here.

It's pa-shunk. Two syllables.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:41 PM on March 4, 2013


The fastest way to send my husband into a gibbering rage is to pronounce Tukwila as Tuh-Quilla.

Well you have to admit saying it tuh-kee-yah seems pretty silly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:41 PM on March 4, 2013


Much like Frisco, calling California "Cali" has long been the domain of annoying out-of-state visitors

Not strictly true, its definitely used by West Coast rappers (Dre uses it a couple times for sure) who are definitely locals. But thats probably about fitting the word in the rhyme more than anything else.

Outside of music I've only heard it used by actual Californians in an ironic sense.

I'm not even sure what younger people in LA call themselves, from what I've been told "Angeleno" just makes me sound old.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:42 PM on March 4, 2013


Well you have to admit saying it tuh-kee-yah seems pretty silly.

Apparently it's Tuk Willa. Which is exceedingly similar to Tuh-Quilla, if you ask me.
posted by KathrynT at 1:45 PM on March 4, 2013


'Worcester' in Massachusetts is pronounced 'Wooster' by the natives. My boss likes to mock my pronunciation of various Australian beaches and suburbs, but I can't remember how they're meant to be said.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:48 PM on March 4, 2013


I think that part of the difference between a Shibboleth and a Frisco is that a Shibboleth is secret information that only insiders could know. A Frisco is public information that outsiders just get wrong because... I don't know. Because they can't be bothered or something. It's not a secret that San Francisco is pronounced "San Francisco". That's the name of the damn city. We aren't hiding it. Google Map will pronounce the thing for you if you like. Sheesh.

Likewise, the marathon. It's a marathon. That's the only name it has ever had. I don't know why people decided that they needed to call it a full marathon, but it's something that they invented on their own, ignoring the fact that it already has a perfectly good name.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2013


I tend to play up the whole "tourist" role when I travel. I wear gaudy Hawaiian shirts, even though I rarely wear them otherwise. And if I know the "right" way to pronounce a local town/street/whatever name, I'll sometimes use the wrong one on purpose. After all, I am a tourist; I am an outsider. What's the shame in that? Why should I pretend to be otherwise? Since I'm not trying to, you know, get to the Holy Grail before the Nazis or anything like that, I don't feel any need to try to blend in.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:01 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ireland is so full of geographical Friscos that you might as well give up. A short list from my own county with approximate pronunciations: And those are English names; my heart goes out to anyone looking for directions to, say, Coláiste Stiofán Naofa...
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 2:03 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel like Steven King has a rant like this in one of his books about Maine, but I can't remember it offhand.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:03 PM on March 4, 2013


and 'Eye-talian' instead of 'It-alian'

Whatever you do, do NOT go to Pittsburgh. Eye-talian is as common as Dahntahn and Coach Cahr.
posted by god hates math at 2:39 PM on March 4, 2013


Since I'm not trying to, you know, get to the Holy Grail before the Nazis

Indicate the number three with your first three fingers, not the middle three, the other way looks funny.
posted by The Whelk at 2:55 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am here in Louisville, KY (pronounced loo-AH-vull by Kentuckians and loo-EE-vill everyone else).

For my last birthday, my sister and her boyfriend, who both moved here from LOO-ah-vull a year and a half ago, gave me a T-shirt with no less than five pronunciations of the town name, four of which they swear are routinely used by natives (not Loo-ee-vill, obviously). He was a native himself and worked for a TV station news department, so he had the opportunity to hear a lot of residents talk.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:10 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Worcester' in Massachusetts is pronounced 'Wooster' by the natives.

For all the English place names with "ces" in the middle (e.g. Worcester, Leicester) treat the "ces" as silent (at least in England, maybe not always in America).

Also, regarding the "burgh" in many place names in the UK - it's pronounced "burra", as in "Edinburra". Americans like to pronounce the "g" sound (Pittsburgh), but don't do that in the UK.
posted by young sister beacon at 3:14 PM on March 4, 2013


I had two catholic friends go visit N.Y. with a jewish friend. The jewish friend likes to be a bit daring, so when they visited a cathedral he also went up to take communion when the two catholics did. Apparently every catholic knows that when you receive the wafer you're not supposed to say "Thank you". We jews do not.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:56 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


In South Carolina it was Huger (the street, the town, etc). Pronounced HEW-gee. Yeah, I dunno either and I've got five generations of native ancestors to lean on.

Now I live in Atlanta and happily slur my PonceDaLeeon and the locals think I'm one of them. I did lose some face pronouncing Winder like a Tennessee window instead of the action of a clockwork toy, however...

Do not get me started on correct y'all usage or we'll be here all night.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:56 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


no less than five pronunciations of the town name

The family friend from there always said it was "LOVE-ull".

OK, ShiCAga has been covered, so I'll do Wisconsin. (It's not "Wesconsin", but really, I think that's just how the "i" sounds (to us) in a Western accent these days -- like the Dan/Don thing.) First, the city is RUH-seen, not RAY-seen. Although I think increasing numbers are using that latter because there's a lot of cross-migration with Chicago, especially among African-Americans.

Anyway, uh, my posting time is cut short so just go to MissPronouncer. It's mostly Indian-based town names that confuse people. There was a Wausau Insurance ad a long time ago that had a "New York" actress saying "Ockanockowoc" instead of "Oconomowoc" and, as the punchline, "Woresore" for the name of the headquarters. There are also some French-origin names (Wisconsin itself deriving from "Ouisconsin") and namesake names that trip a few up, includnig our own New Berlin (BURR-lin).

Anyway, as a Wisconsinite (all but life-long) I attest that I can probably tell the difference between a Canadian and a Minnesotan most days, but allow that most people not from either would have difficulty with the task.
posted by dhartung at 4:29 PM on March 4, 2013


Oh man, St. Louis shibboleths abound simply in the bastardization of pretty much every French name associated with the area. Among the other notables already posted, there's the town of Creve Coeur, which of course is pronounced "Creeve Core".

It's pretty much all the French there. All of it. Honestly, I would be embarrassed to discuss these things with French speakers.
posted by Brak at 6:08 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Featheringhaugh = Fenshaw.

Beat that.
posted by tzikeh at 6:09 PM on March 4, 2013


Isn't it Featherstonhaugh that's pronounced Fanshaw?

I've always like Marjoribanks, which is pronounced Marshbanks.
posted by yoink at 6:13 PM on March 4, 2013


I once had a foreigner pronounce Des Plaines in perfect French pronunciation.

Was it Hervé Villechaize?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:26 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Isn't it Featherstonhaugh that's pronounced Fanshaw?

GODDAMMIT I BRITTA'D THE SHIBBOLETH.
posted by tzikeh at 6:43 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


To a native Spanish speaker, it's Los Feh-LEEZ

Except that to a native Spanish speaker, Los Feliz is at best an erroneous version of Los Felices.
posted by mubba at 6:46 PM on March 4, 2013


My whole province is shibboleths. It's New-fn-LAND, not New-FOUND-land. I always get comments on my lack of a distinctive accent, til I mention a place name from back home.
posted by peppermind at 7:43 PM on March 4, 2013


'Worcester' in Massachusetts is pronounced 'Wooster' by the natives.

This is sort of a meta-shibboleth too. The so-called natives of these towns in MA pronounce it correctly. That is, Worcester, Gloucester, Reading - these are all pronounced locally the same way an English outsider would also pronounce them.
posted by vacapinta at 2:23 AM on March 5, 2013


For all the English place names with "ces" in the middle (e.g. Worcester, Leicester) treat the "ces" as silent (at least in England, maybe not always in America).

Awhile back when I was in Swindon I noticed that, and used my newfound rule to shorten Cirencester to Cirenster. Later in the week I heard Cirencester mentioned on the radio. At that point I gave up all pretense of thinking I had it all figured out.
posted by crapmatic at 5:04 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guess we couldn't get away with saying its 42 Saint.

I mentioned before on the blue about my many headachy days overseeing an exercise in communication that involved people giving directions to one another using city maps. The city maps in question were for Milwaukee WI, chosen specifically because it was unlikely to be familiar to young people from Western Canada. This, incidentally, was a frequent point of criticism in their post-mortems: that they were unfamiliar with the area depicted on the map, which they often felt was unfair. It would of course be much easier to give people directions in their hometowns -- "you go along Baker Street until you get the corner with the four banks and then turn like you are going to get on the highway " -- but that was not the point of the exercise.

There is a street in Milwaukee named for an assassinated civil rights leader. I hesitate to tell you how many times "Dr. Martin Luther King Dr." was rendered as "Drive Martin Luther King Drive." (At least it was never Doctor Martin Luther King Doctor.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:36 AM on March 5, 2013


First, the city is RUH-seen, not RAY-seen. Although I think increasing numbers are using that latter because there's a lot of cross-migration with Chicago, especially among African-Americans.

RUH-seen, WI, and run-SEEN St, Chicago. RAY-seen is wrong in both places.

For all the English place names with "ces" in the middle (e.g. Worcester, Leicester) treat the "ces" as silent

So, what about the W in Greenwhich and Chiswick? WHY HAVE THE W IF YOU HATE IT SO?

My best on "ces" comes from QI.

Rich Hall: "Some town called Satan-Is-My-Masterinster"
Bill Bailey: "It's pronounced S'minster"
posted by eriko at 5:36 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


crapmatic: I posted the same thing a while back.
posted by vacapinta at 6:48 AM on March 5, 2013


For all the English place names with "ces" in the middle (e.g. Worcester, Leicester) treat the "ces" as silent

Not true. Worcester, PA is pronounced "WOR-ses-ter."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:56 AM on March 5, 2013


The town in Pennsylvania spelled "Versailles" is called "Ver-Sales." Some people think they should say "Ver-Sigh" They are wrong. Similarly, the burg in central PA that is spelled "DuBois" is not pronounced "Du-Bwah" but is pronounced "Dew-Boys". Asking how to get to "Du-Bwah" is totally going to out you. Dusquesne, though, is Dew-Kayne and not Dus-kwes-ne. Locally, Chalybeate is "coll-e-be-uht" and most people who are not chemists totally muff that one up.
posted by which_chick at 6:57 AM on March 5, 2013


Someone at Tim Hortons this morning asked for a "single-single."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:42 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


so I'll do Wisconsin.

'Sconsin.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:10 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking as someone who has pretty deep roots in San Francisco, I always grate at the mis- pronunciation of the the town Guerneville located on the Russian River about 75 miles north of "the City." It's "Girn-ville" not "Girney-ville." How do I know? My grandmother knew Mr. Guerne.
posted by Sculthorpe at 9:46 AM on March 5, 2013


The fastest way to send my husband into a gibbering rage is to pronounce Tukwila as Tuh-Quilla.

Perhaps it's the fact that I am a native Seattleite and thus constitutionally obligated to pay a minimum of attention to the southern suburbs, but... that's how everyone I know pronounces it! Foreigners stumble over "Puyallup" (which is blatantly misspelled, and so not really their fault) and "Sequim" (likewise) but the only thing you can do wrong with "Tukwila" is to turn the I into a Y (like "tuck-why-lah"). So what's your husband on about? How does he say it?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:03 AM on March 5, 2013


It's Never Lurgi: "I don't know why people decided that they needed to call it a full marathon, but it's something that they invented on their own, ignoring the fact that it already has a perfectly good name."

It's called a retronym.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


So what's your husband on about? How does he say it?

Tuk Willa. As opposed to Tuh Quilla. It's an unbelievably subtle difference that even I can barely hear, and yet -- frothing fury every time.
posted by KathrynT at 10:22 AM on March 5, 2013


I guess that if someone specifies "London, England," they must be Canadian.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:38 PM on March 6, 2013


For all the English place names with "ces" in the middle (e.g. Worcester, Leicester) treat the "ces" as silent

Not true. Worcester, PA is pronounced "WOR-ses-ter."


I did say that:

(at least in England, maybe not always in America)
posted by young sister beacon at 7:07 AM on March 7, 2013


St. Louis is full of this.

...pronounced Highway 40...

I love the steadfast refusal to call I-64 anything other than "farty". My father doesn't differentiate between I-70 and Highway 170. He calls them both "eye-seventy", though sometimes calls it "the innerbelt".

Also it seems like a lot of older people refuse to call Olive Blvd. anything other than "Olive Street Road." Was that just my family?

pronouncing the number "forty" as "farty"

Illi-noise. Missour-uh. One warshes their car.

Others [St. Louis] Gravois, River Des Peres, Chouteau, Lenoir K. Sullivan Blvd. DeBaliviere!

Oh yeah. South side hoosiers in a town settled by the French. I actually got in trouble in grade school for once pronouncing Fauquier halfway correct.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2013


I guess that if someone specifies "London, England," they must be Canadian.

Or occasionally from London, England.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:23 AM on March 10, 2013


Friscos for Scientists II: Proof/Prove/Proven
Proofs exist only in mathematics and logic, not in science. Mathematics and logic are both closed, self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists. The primary criterion and standard of evaluation of scientific theory is evidence, not proof. All else equal, in other words, assuming that all theories are internally logically consistent and equally parsimonious, scientists prefer the theory for which there is more and better supportive evidence to those for which there is less and worse supportive evidence. Proofs are not the currency of science.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:00 PM on March 11, 2013


Y'know that law of the Internet, that says that any statement correcting someone else's grammar will always contain a grammar mistake? Well, in Friscos for Scientists II the author committed a Frisco for math:
Further, proofs are binary; a mathematical proposition is either proven (in which case it becomes a theorem) or not (in which case it remains a conjecture). There is nothing in between. A theorem cannot be kind of proven or almost proven. These are the same as unproven.
First, there is the simple fact that math is a human enterprise that is done over time. Some propositions are currently close to being proved, while there are others that people think are very far from being proved.

But that's kind of a quibble over terminology. A deeper mistake is that there are propositions that are true but cannot be proven. Nattering on about the nature of math and not knowing Gödel's first incompleteness theorem is a big math Frisco.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:56 PM on March 11, 2013


Three Science Words We Should Stop Using: Hypothesis, Theory, Law.

The argument is that these scientific concepts are so radically divorced from how the general public uses them that they have ceased to inform.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:05 PM on March 27, 2013


looks like a small storm brewing at Big Think: The Bad Science Of Satoshi Kanazawa
This is a response to the recent writings of Big Think blogger Satoshi Kanazawa. Not only does Kanazawa baldly assert “correlation certainly does imply causation” – unquestioningly disregarding one of the greatest logical fallacies universally printed in science textbooks, but according to him, “real scientists never utter the phrase”. In this post I’ll explain why Kanazawa is both spectacularly wrong and arrogantly defamatory to scientists who make a valid and extremely important point. I can’t respond to Kanazawa on his own blog because he’s disabled comments, so I’ll debunk him here instead.
And finishes with:
I’m not even the first to say this here at the Big Think. Adam Lee previously called for Kanazawa’s departure describing him as a “racist, sexist, genocide-advocating pseudoscientific bigot”. Now we really can well and truly add bad science to the charge sheet. His position has been defended however by the Big Think Editors on the basis that “Satoshi has made us think more than most” and that “he doesn't posture or hedge to insulate himself from attack”. Now that this has clearly been disproven and now that we can’t debunk him (through comments on his blog) without actively promoting him (through blog posts such as this), I think it may be time to reconsider this position.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:21 PM on March 27, 2013


Turns out, the blogger that I referenced in the FPP has since been fired from the group blog.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:19 AM on March 31, 2013


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