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Old words never die; they just wend their way to their just deserts.

12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms. We generally know what the idioms we use every day mean, but do we give much thought to the individual words that make them up, or why we rarely, if ever, see some of them out of that context? Maybe they're just plain outdated. [more inside]
posted by The Underpants Monster on Dec 29, 2013 - 52 comments

Don't Call Me Limey, Yank! Limey, Don't Call Me Yank!

Last summer the BBC did a series on "Americanisms," or how American English was "infecting" the Queen's English. Ben Yagoda responds and documents how in fact it's the other way around. He documents "Britishisms" on his blog.
posted by bardic on Sep 25, 2011 - 204 comments

I'd like to table this post on Americanisms.

"I accept that sometimes American phrases have a vigour and vivacity. A relative of mine told me recently he went to a business meeting chaired by a Californian woman who wanted everyone to speak frankly. It was 'open kimono'. How's that for a vivid expression?" The BBC explores Americanisms, but they're not the first: The Telegraph, Daily Mail, and the Economist have also weighed in on the debate. (Somewhat previously.)
posted by reductiondesign on Jul 13, 2011 - 223 comments

On language and locations.

The Dictionary of American Regional English is nearing completion.
posted by sarabeth on Mar 22, 2009 - 43 comments

Get your monophthongs here

Sounds of American English details each of the consonants and vowels of American English with a real-time Flash animated articulatory diagram of each sound; video and audio of the sound spoken in context and an interactive diagram of the articulatory anatomy.
posted by Lezzles on Feb 16, 2009 - 15 comments

Dialecty goodness

Do you speak American? The companion website to a PBS series, full of interactive language and dialect tools. You can map your attitudes about regional correctness, guess the speaker's home, learn about American varieties, track the history of certain words, hear samples of regional dialects, and more.
Further reading: Dialect Map of American English [image], Slanguage's local terms, and this collection of local phrases.
Previously on MetaFilter: The Dialect Survey (and results), The Speech Accent Archive, Pop vs. Soda.
posted by stopgap on Jan 20, 2005 - 13 comments

More pronunciation quandaries

Coffee, our nan? Is this "Would you like some more coffee, Grandmother?" or Kofi Annan? Oh and mathowie - are you sure the Irish Haughey is pronounced Howie? [Check out Charles Haughey for the proper way.] Thank you, Voice of America, for teaching us how to pronounce those pesky foreigners' names. And shame on you, BBC Pronouncing Unit, for not being online! [This last link requires Real Audio but is really worth listening to if you have anything against stuck-up English twits.]
posted by Carlos Quevedo on Apr 12, 2003 - 16 comments

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