Sunday, October 02, 2016


One of my Sunday morning pursuits is to use an app on my phone to check out the BBC, CNN, FoxNews, and USAToday (3:1 liberal, I know, but it keeps me informed).  This morning the BBC web site had two articles on language that I found interesing.

The first was "Eight of the world's quirkiest phrases", along with an explanation of each.  I've heard "not my circus, not my monkeys" before, but didn't know it was Polish in origin.  The last three are French, and they're all pretty good!

The other article was one documenting the changing pronunciation of English words in England, particularly the "th" sound--which is predicted to be extinct by 2066, my 101st birthday:
According to the Telegraph, those changes include the complete disappearance of the voiced dental nonsibliant fricative, also known as the "th" sound. It will be replaced with the "f," "d," and "v" sounds, so "thick" becomes "fick" and "mother" becomes "muvver." Other changes include words like "cute" and "beauty" becoming "coot" and "booty," the "w" and "r" sounds becoming indistinguishable, and the dropping of "l" sounds at the end of words.

Researchers studied 50 years of language recordings and current social media to make their predictions, which the Guardian sums up in a sentence: "I totes fink that car is a booty." (Your Newser editors have no idea why the newspaper didn't change "that" to "dat" in dat example.)

Researchers believe the changes will be spurred on by immigrants, who have a hard time pronouncing the "th" sound; the increased use of voice command; the prevalence of the American accent in pop culture; and the fact that most computers are developed in California.
I'd love someone to explain that last comment.


Steve USMA '85 said...

Which app?

Darren said...

US Newspapers.

The BBC tab takes me to the US site for BBC, but I just hit the banner at the top and go to the main site for world news.