Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Chavs throwing trees... or chillies?

I misheard someone say the other day that they'd seen some chavs (=charvas) throwing trees, rather than chillies. Tree and chilli are not very similar words, but there is a reason for this mishearing: the consonant cluster /tr/ is very often palatalised and pronounced with an affricate: /tʃr/ (='chr') That's actually quite hard to say, so the /r/ can be reduced, leaving the 'ch' sound.

Monday, 24 February 2014

The alarm, like, sounds like an alarm

I saw this tweet:

While it's funny to laugh at the stereotype of Californians saying 'like' (but highly problematic to stigmatise the speech trends associated with teenage girls), I'm intrigued. I would love to think that this sign is influenced by this common feature of speech in the region, but I also wonder if it's to do with the very large Spanish influence in California, where in Los Angeles, for instance, 36% of people speak Spanish at home. Is this a possible word order in (American) Spanish, as well as the English-like order hace un ruido como... ('makes a noise like...')? Then hace is intransitive, though, which probably isn't right. Perhaps it really is, like, filler-like after all.