Fascination Street April 27, 2012 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Ya'll are being strange and interesting again. Two recent AskMe questions are about whether to correct someone close to you and the answers, along with their reasoning, are fascinating.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Etiquette/Policy at 8:20 AM (149 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

This MeTa thread would have probably been a better place for my observation that there seems to be an Ask-vs-Guess-like divide about this. I would be pissed and a little insulted if my friends let me go around in public using words wrong or hurting people's ears with my singing. Of course I'd want them to tell me kindly rather than to point and laugh, but I'd still want to know. But many, many people seem to have the opposite feeling. So I agree, very interesting!
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:30 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brandon, just wanna say, as a resident of the deep south, not to mention the editor of a magazine, you should know that the apostrophe comes after the Y and before the A. It's "y'all". Not "ya'll". You know, being a contraction of "you all" and all.

And it seemed appropriate to bring this matter up here, since we're talking about correcting those close to us, and, hey, you're my spouse, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:56 AM on April 27, 2012 [74 favorites]


And if it's more than five people you are referring to, it is "all y'all."
posted by 4ster at 9:00 AM on April 27, 2012 [17 favorites]


Two recent AskMe questions are about whether to correct someone close to you

Where? I only see one thread about whether to correct someone. The other thread is about whether to tell someone that they're "terrible" at something, and "not even salvageably" so.
posted by John Cohen at 9:01 AM on April 27, 2012


We guess culture people keep waiting for you ask culture people to realize you're doing it all wrong.
posted by fleacircus at 9:05 AM on April 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


The other thread is about whether to tell someone that they're "terrible" at something, and "not even salvageably" so.

Where I come from, people used to say "he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:05 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I think there's a big difference between correcting incorrect usage of a word, and telling someone they're terrible at singing. Most people don't think it's a big deal to use a word incorrectly. (Or, at least, I don't.) But it's a different thing to actually insult someone's singing, especially when they must think they're pretty good at it.
posted by barnoley at 9:05 AM on April 27, 2012


Actually, as I was growing up in Savannah, "ya'll" was the most common spelling I encountered. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just sayin'.

4ster is absolutely correct, though. If you're gonna y'all at all of us, you've gotta all y'all.
posted by phunniemee at 9:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


...not to mention the editor of a magazine..

I am not, nor have ever been the editor of a magazine.

And it seemed appropriate to bring this matter up here

It wouldn't be MetaTalk if someone didn't poke holes in the original post, particularly one related to grammar or social behavior.

Don't forget to pick up the kids!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those were fun threads, thanks for pointing them out!

My mom didn't start speaking English in a native-English setting until her mid-thirties and consequently still has a lot of issues with English pronunciation. When we speak English at home she always asks me whether she's using words correctly, so that when we're chatting back and forth in English and she says a word she's obviously struggling with or uses a word totally out of context, I'll offer up the correct usage. This is something that I know she wants, and that we've discussed. (Similarly, my writer boyfriend gets to correct my word usage because he knows it's important for me to get these things right, and that I'd rather it come from him than from anyone else.)

When I'm talking with people other than my mom, though, I always have to consciously remind myself not to be such a know-it-all about word usage. As long as the meaning gets across, who cares?
posted by Phire at 9:13 AM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you're gonna y'all at all of us, you've gotta all y'all.

Nope, "you all" works fine if things are getting a bit touchy in the conversation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:14 AM on April 27, 2012


I also want to point out that headnsouth has excellent advice that pertains not only to whether or not to point out someone's terrible singing to them, but can be extrapolated to relationships in general:
Try to take pleasure in what his singing* brings to him, rather than what it brings to you.

*or piano playing, or poetry reciting, or woodworking, or painting, or ...
posted by Phire at 9:14 AM on April 27, 2012


If you're gonna y'all at all of us, you've gotta all y'all.

Well, glad to see you've corrected your apostrophe placement.

signed,

Your Loving Spouse
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:17 AM on April 27, 2012


I am not, nor have ever been the editor of a magazine.

Oops. I thought you were an editor of MefiMag. Sorry.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:18 AM on April 27, 2012


I'm from the south, born, raised, deepest part of it you can imagine*: I always thought it was Ya'll instead of the more commonly typed Y'all, and can still see merit in either usage.

We all know, as flapjax said, that y'all is a contraction of 'you' and 'all', hence the apostrophe being between the Y and the A. Makes sense right? Not so fast.

I can't help but assume the usage of 'y'all' originated in verbal discourse, not in the written word, so let's start there. My experience in the south has been that 'you' is often shortened to 'ya'. Phrases such as "Are you going to the store?" are shortened, if not even more drastically than this, to "Are ya going to the store?". Ok, we're almost there because put the "you all" phrasing into play here and you get a contraction, not of 'you' and 'all' but instead, of "ya" and "all". Where does the apostrophe go in that contraction? I take a contraction to be the replacing of some letter(s) with an apostrophe**. So if you take the 'a' in 'all' as that letter you get "Are ya'll going to the store?".

* I am not, nor do I wish to present myself as, a linguist. I'm just giving my anecdotal take on something while a very slow progress bar crawls across my screen at work.
** Wikipedia states that a contraction doesn't replace letters specifically but syllables instead. I defer to them, full disclosure, but I think my point still applies.

/derail, now who is going to call and get this on A Way With Words on NPR?
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:22 AM on April 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh ho! Hemmingway agrees.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:30 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am the most asky of ask culture people, but I commented in the bad singing thread that she shouldn't tell him the shameful truth about his voice. There's a difference between something that is demonstrably in error that can be quickly corrected in future instances, and something that is a skill that must be learned and cultivated. Also, there's a difference between words and song. You can always adjust your words, to make the meaning closer to your intention. But singing is infinitely more personal for lots of people. Maybe on a site like MeFi we can find lots of people who have just as much feeling behind their wordchoice as they might behind their song, but it strikes me as an atypical way to be.
posted by Mizu at 9:31 AM on April 27, 2012


Phire: "When I'm talking with people other than my mom, though, I always have to consciously remind myself not to be such a know-it-all about word usage. As long as the meaning gets across, who cares?"

I recently caught myself flipping between "hurricaaaayne" and "hurrican" while trying to pronounce "Hurricane" (the name of a town, it turns out.) I kept waiting for my conversation partner to say it so I could just echo the pronunciation on a local and get out of my dialect crisis. I assume she was too polite to imply criticism by saying it back to me. (Or didn't even notice. My inner dialogue of "no, that version sounds wrong, no, so does the other, no, still wrong, hurricane hurricane hurricane now it doesn't even sound like a word anymore aaaaaargh!" may have been only painful to me.)
posted by Karmakaze at 9:32 AM on April 27, 2012


Even if it were short for "Ya," it would still be y'all.

The apostrophe indicates where letters or syllables are removed, not joined, to create a contraction. If we were to create a word that was a joining of the two, it would simply be "Yall." Furthermore, in the contraction, none of the letters after Y in the pronoun are pronounced so they're not present when written.

If I had a friend named Drew (I think I do, actually), and I didn't know something but I figured he probably would, and I were feeling informal, then to convey that belief, I would write, "Drew'll know." I would not write, "Dre'wll know," or "Dre'will know."

Also also: The a in ya and all are different, so the word which would be created by "ya'll" would likely sound like "Ya-ull," or maybe "Yull." So I always read "ya'll" as unintentionally saying "Ya will."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:38 AM on April 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


It was comforting to see how many people in that thread responded with something along the lines of "please do not say anything to him about it; somebody told me I couldn't sing years ago and it causes me pain and humiliation to this day."

'Cause, yeah.

posted by Lexica at 9:39 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who the hell is Hemmingway?
posted by kingbenny at 9:40 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


> And if it's more than five people you are referring to, it is "all y'all."

Where I grew up (middle Tennessee, thanks for asking!) the only proper pluralization of y'all is y'uns.

"Y'uns goin' on down to th' farm?"

BONUS POINTS: it is possible to use this with the possessive:

"That truck there y'uns's?"
posted by komara at 9:41 AM on April 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


I feel I should point out that up north (ok, NY Metro) the correct usage is "youse guys".
posted by elizardbits at 9:41 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


"ya'll" would likely sound like "Ya-ull,"

Which is exactly how it sounds in my neck of the woods. And the Hemmingway thing was just a way of pointing to the bottom part of the wiki link on y'all/yall/ya'll (which I swear I didn't consult/find until after I posted).
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:42 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


(note on the apostrophe in "y'uns's" - I recognize that his, hers, yours, etc. do not have an apostrophe before the s but I can't find another way do it other than "y'unses" which doesn't look right at all)
posted by komara at 9:42 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Singing is weird. None of the singers that I really fall hard for are "conventionally good." Conversely, I can't stand the show-offy, overdramatic sort of singing that appears on American Idol. And just merely being conventionally good sounds uninteresting to my ears. Being a compelling singer involves lots of mysterious factors. There's a nonzero chance the SO who sounds terrible is actually brilliant in certain contexts (the person who mentioned Boredoms, Pavement, Sonic Youth etc. is spot-on in my opinion.)
posted by naju at 9:42 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


kingbenny: Who the hell is Hemmingway?

The capitalization is incorrect. A "hemmingway" is a local culture of hemming and hawing. A hemmingway is to hemming and hawing as a foodway is to cuisine. The Southern Foodways Alliance is in talks to start a Southern Hemmingways Alliance for discussion of just such things as y'all vs ya'll.
posted by gilrain at 9:43 AM on April 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Damn I totally meant what the hell is a hemmingway.
posted by kingbenny at 9:45 AM on April 27, 2012


I heard a hemmin weighs about four pounds
posted by patheral at 9:46 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Schizophrenic', used to mean a split personality, makes me a little bit killy. Also - and yeah, this is pedantic - 'she's bipolar' instead of 'she has bipolar disorder'. The RNIB changed its name from 'Royal National Insititute for the Blind' to 'Royal National Institute for Blind People', because understandably people don't want to be defined by their disability. I know nothing bad is meant by it, but given the stigma around mental health that gives the impression most of us can't achieve anythign close to a functioning life, it does rather 'get' my 'goat'.

On a different note, my mum has started eating sushi. She thinks it's posh to pronounce it as 'suuu-chet'. I think this is brilliant.
posted by mippy at 9:48 AM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Karmakaze, that's me and "interesting." In-turr-es-ting? IN-trs-ting? argh!!
posted by Occula at 9:50 AM on April 27, 2012


Karmakaze, that's me and "interesting." In-turr-es-ting? IN-trs-ting? argh!!]

My dad has always pronounced it "inner-esting", which means I get THREE! Whee!
posted by phunniemee at 9:52 AM on April 27, 2012


Also - and yeah, this is pedantic - 'she's bipolar' instead of 'she has bipolar disorder'.

Neither is nearly as crazy-making for me as the recently-ubiquitous "she has bipolar."
posted by enn at 9:53 AM on April 27, 2012


For me it's Inner-restin'. As in "Well ain't that inner-restin'?"
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:55 AM on April 27, 2012


enn: Neither is nearly as crazy-making for me as the recently-ubiquitous "she has bipolar."

She gone and done been polarized, I reckon.
posted by gilrain at 9:56 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Done gone. Done gone 'n got polarized.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:58 AM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god yes, enn. Also 'your bipolar' - there is a reality TV star here who is known for her self-destructive lifestyle, and every gossip rag article makes reference to it eg. 'she wasn't taking her meds for her bipolar and we were worried.' Aside from being a poor poster girl for those of us who have pretty different lifestyles, IT'S WRONG DAMMIT AUGH.
posted by mippy at 10:01 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with "she has bipolar?" I say that I have bipolar all the time as I don't feel the need to say "bipolar disorder" ever single time. I don't say I have migraine headaches every time I can say I get migraines and people know what I mean. Jeez Louise y'all.
posted by patheral at 10:02 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want some bipolar sunglasses.

Also - and I'm sure those with chronic conditions will have examples of their own - 'oh, I'm a little bit bipolar'. Sorry, you don't get your Bipolar Badge until you've been on at least three prescription medications. OCD gets a lot of this as well.
posted by mippy at 10:03 AM on April 27, 2012


*when I can say I get migraine headaches.
posted by patheral at 10:04 AM on April 27, 2012


patheral - I said it was pedantic, but it just seems confusing to me. 'She has Down's' feels grammatically correct, but, say, 'She has obsessive-compulsive' doesn't, and it feels the same way. Though I've seen 'has bipolar' a lot more in US English so I don't know if it seems less jarring there.
posted by mippy at 10:05 AM on April 27, 2012


I took two semesters of "Voice" in college as part of my general ed requirement, mainly for the easy "A" (you didn't getting graded down for having an awful voice, otherwise half or more of us would have flunked).

I had to laugh at some of the obviously intended to be heart-wrenching (paraphrasing), "Someone criticized my friend's singing and because of that she was too self-conscious to ever experience to joy of singing to her child"-type comments, mainly because it's a running gag in my house that whenever I begin to sing my 7-year-old immediately protests. Apparently this goes on with my sister and her kids as well, plus my brother used to do the same with our mother, so I'm guessing bad singing is a genetic trait.
posted by The Gooch at 10:05 AM on April 27, 2012


I take issue with the idea that her boyfriend is "unsalvageably terrible" at singing. First of all, there's a difference between having a great voice and being a great singer; I can name you lots of people who fall into only one of those two categories. Second, both the voice and the craft of singing are something that can be improved in ANYONE with study and effort. It's not like you just get either blessed by the Sing Fairies or else passed over.
posted by KathrynT at 10:07 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, count me in also among the people who have been told at a young age that their singing is terrible and have consequently shied away from all forms of creative vocal expression that range above 5 dB. In my case, not only was my singing terrible, but the older relative in question was also apparently ashamed for me that I was proud of my terrible singing and wanted to show it off. (I was 8.)

Except these days I'll occasionally get roaring drunk and go sing dumb viral pseudo-rap songs at Karaoke, so I guess I showed them.
posted by Phire at 10:13 AM on April 27, 2012


I take issue with the idea that her boyfriend is "unsalvageably terrible" at singing.

But...but...you have haven't heard him sing!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But...but...you have haven't heard him sing!

No, but I sing, and I've heard hundreds of people get better at singing by working on it. Singing isn't some magically unimproveable skill. There is no reason to believe that he is the ONLY HUMAN BEING ON EARTH who can't gain vocal proficiency through study.
posted by KathrynT at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


At least it wasn't written: unsalvageably-terrible.

I admit that it bothers me just a little to see hyphenated adverb/adjective combinations. It didn't start bothering me until someone pointed out that it was an error I'd been making (consistently for years).

In my opinion the only real drawback to being corrected was that now I see it everywhere. It's maddening! It's ubiquitous! But it's never been maddeningly-ubiquitous, and apparently it never will be.

But I always keep a lid on it and don't correct that usage when I see it. Heh.
posted by heyho at 10:35 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


dahn here in Picksberg we long ago solved the second-person-plural problem for alla yinz.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:40 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am resisting starting a MeTa about how this MeTa about how ya'll are fascinating is fascinatingly schizophrenic in its pedanticyness, but I'm pretty sure that would be unsalvageably-terrible.

Y'all rock.
posted by ldthomps at 10:40 AM on April 27, 2012


I've known plenty of people who aren't confident singers and I think that's generally something that is just a matter of lack of practice and getting over your social stage fright, yeah. Building up singing technique is its own craft that different people will have an easier time with, but if you can carry a tune at all you can sing just fine and in my opinion a whole lot more people should sing, or sing more often and louder and together. Singing is awesome fun, and once you get comfortable with it it's about the easiest possible way for people to casually collaborate on a creative act and cement a little shared cultural knowledge.

But I've known a few people who were apparently legitimately tone deaf, whatever the actual nature of that situation is. They'd have to do more than practice their projection or build up their confidence; something was genuinely not working with their basic note-identification process. They could not reliably tell which notes to sing. I don't know if this is a neurophysiological thing or what, but it was always a very mysterious thing to me as someone with a strong ear as long as I can remember to try and even understand how someone could not get that things were going terribly wrong musically. They were all people who enjoyed music as a listener and in some cases had enthusiasm about performing, and it was clear that they did not know anything was obviously wrong.

My approach was mostly to avoid pursuing explicitly musical situations with them, because I figure they should have whatever joy they want out of that stuff and if they're not asking me to work on it with them I don't want to volunteer for a job that will annoy me and probably bum them out. But it's a weird thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:44 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The proper spelling is "allayas".
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:53 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't consider myself a good singer but I can carry a tune. I've never had any formal training. I don't have perfect pitch. But I can tell when I'm off-key with respect to the key in which I'm trying to sing—I can hear it! I can tell when I'm flat (or sharp). It sounds bad. And apparently there are plenty of people who can't, because if they could they wouldn't do it. But they do, and they act as if they don't know that they sound horrible. So I have to think that they just literally can't tell the difference. It makes me wonder what they're enjoying about music. And I'm skeptical that they can be taught to hear it because it seems so fundamental to me.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:03 AM on April 27, 2012


I recently caught myself flipping between "hurricaaaayne" and "hurrican" while trying to pronounce "Hurricane" (the name of a town, it turns out.) I kept waiting for my conversation partner to say it so I could just echo the pronunciation on a local and get out of my dialect crisis. I assume she was too polite to imply criticism by saying it back to me. (Or didn't even notice. My inner dialogue of "no, that version sounds wrong, no, so does the other, no, still wrong, hurricane hurricane hurricane now it doesn't even sound like a word anymore aaaaaargh!" may have been only painful to me.)

If you were talking about Hurricane, West Virginia, I grew up about an hour away from there and so can tell you with absolute certainty that the town is pronounced hurr-ic-ann, but the weather system is pronounced hurr-i-cayne, at least in the local dialect. See also: Lie-ma, Ohio; Tow-lee-doh, Ohio; Ver-saylz, Kentucky; Bweh-na Vihs-ta, Virginia; Kay-roh, Illinois; etc.

God only knows what the Dutch think of Schenechtady and Poughkeepsie.
posted by Copronymus at 11:06 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


"But I've known a few people who were apparently legitimately tone deaf, whatever the actual nature of that situation is. They'd have to do more than practice their projection or build up their confidence; something was genuinely not working with their basic note-identification process. They could not reliably tell which notes to sing. I don't know if this is a neurophysiological thing or what, but it was always a very mysterious thing to me as someone with a strong ear as long as I can remember to try and even understand how someone could not get that things were going terribly wrong musically. They were all people who enjoyed music as a listener and in some cases had enthusiasm about performing, and it was clear that they did not know anything was obviously wrong."

Speaking from personal experience, this can be remedied as well. It just takes lots and lots of practice with guidance and feedback to train perception of the notes. Here is an old comment of mine on the subject.
posted by tdismukes at 11:07 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kay-roh, Illinois; etc.

Also Callis, Maine (Calais) and my favorite, Hahverdeegrace, MD (Havre de Grace).
posted by rtha at 11:23 AM on April 27, 2012


If you were talking about Hurricane, West Virginia, I grew up about an hour away from there and so can tell you with absolute certainty that the town is pronounced hurr-ic-ann

I have nothing to add here other than "Holy shit, Metafilter is talking about the roadside smear of a town that I grew up in."
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ma-bill, Alabama (Mobile). You-fallah, Alabama (Eufaula, and this may be valid pronunciation for all I know).
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2012


It's Friday afternoon, and of course there's going to be a callout on the grey. What Brandon did, is he got out ahead of the story. Like a snake. Like James Carville himself. Brandon said to himself, he said, "If there's gonna be a MeTa, let's make it a nice one about bunnies and pancakes and telling your spouse he's tone deaf."

I salute you, Mr. Blatcher, sir. Nice move.
posted by brina at 11:34 AM on April 27, 2012


So I have to think that they just literally can't tell the difference. It makes me wonder what they're enjoying about music.

When I've tried to look at this from the other side, what mostly seems to be the deal is that there's a lot of different components to music besides pitch, and if for you specific pitch is just a neutral issue then you can still enjoy all the other bits. Intervalic movement is still there even if you're jumping from the wrong pitch to the wrong pitch and even by the wrong interval; dynamics are there so you can enjoy going loud or going soft; belting is still belting even if you're belting the wrong notes; playing with vocal timbre is fun, so you can enjoy singing tinny from the back of your mouth or doing some vocal fry or booming out a big round opera sound with your whole chest; it's fun to sing in a meter, to play with vocal phrasing, to mimic little vocal tricks and quirks; and beyond all that it's just fun to sing lyrics you know, and to sing along with music you know.

So I'd guess it's a bit like being color-blind; we don't wonder what a color-blind person could possibly get out of art, but at the same time there is something very specifically different about how they're seeing a lot of color-centric visual art compared to the normative experience. The big difference is probably that we can't tell someone's not seeing color nearly as easily as we can tell someone's not hearing pitch, because people paint along to the TV a lot less frequently than they sing along to the radio.

One of the folks I knew in high school was just really really into a couple of bands and really into the idea of being a rockstar like his idol. He was intensely into pop music, into big showboating rock, and wanted to do that with his life. And he was badly tone deaf and apparently pretty arhythmic as well, and it was sort of stunning and confusing to me because I just didn't get how those two things, that rockstar dream and that profound tonal and rhythmic incompotence, could have lasted more than a week in co-existence. But looking back now, I can figure that if he wasn't perceiving the musical problems with his output he was probably having a pretty good time enjoying the drama of vocal dynamics and lyricwriting and the showmanship stuff as its own aspect of the whole thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Oh ho! Hemmingway agrees.

Thanks very much for that link; I'll reproduce the paragraph here:
There is evidence that the original spelling was ya'll. The spelling of ya'll could have originated from the contraction of ya-all because ya was a common spoken slang form of the word you. 19th and 20th century authors like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Carson McCullers used ya'll. Though becoming less common, the spelling of ya'll is still used within the Southern United States.
That sheds a whole new light on the matter, and as an aficionado of y'all I'm happy to know it. (Also, confidential to RolandOfEld: there's only one m in Hemingway.)

> Even if it were short for "Ya," it would still be y'all.

Not true. You're trying to use logic where logic doesn't apply. Like any English word, it's spelled however it happens to be spelled in the dictionary, however it happened to wind up spelled that way. I have no idea how y'all came to be the entry form for dictionaries, but the reason it's "the correct spelling" is that it's in the dictionary, end of story.

> I admit that it bothers me just a little to see hyphenated adverb/adjective combinations. It didn't start bothering me until someone pointed out that it was an error I'd been making (consistently for years).

It's only an "error" in the US, because for whatever reason US style manuals have decided there shouldn't be a hyphen there (which is why, as a copyeditor, I routinely remove them). In the UK, on the other hand, it's perfectly OK. These things are not laid down for us by the deity, they are style choices, and they can change with time, which is just one reason it's silly as well as impolite to "correct" people unless there's a clear practical reason (they're studying for an English exam or want to become an editor, god help them).

Similarly, if people start saying "the bipolar," that's what it will be called, and ranting about it will be just as silly as ranting about saying "she graduated college" rather than (as I learned it) "she graduated from college" or (as my grandfather learned it) "she was graduated from college." Language changes, and it's better to change with it if you can.
posted by languagehat at 11:47 AM on April 27, 2012 [17 favorites]


Crabby Appleton: "t makes me wonder what they're enjoying about music."

It's got a good beat and they can dance to it.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, everyone outside of NYC pronounces Houston wrong.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:03 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


i see this is a hot button issue, but if you're gonna y'all all of us, it's allay'all.
posted by nadawi at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2012


I take issue with the idea that her boyfriend is "unsalvageably terrible" at singing. (...) Second, both the voice and the craft of singing are something that can be improved in ANYONE with study and effort.

No. No, seriously not.
My husband is a terrible singer. His hearing is perfect and he is supercritical when he hears OTHER people sing slightly off key, but with his own voice, he simply cannot hear the difference when he is singing a B minor instead of an A.

(When I was young and immature I tried to break it to him, but he thought I was totally overreacting and couldn't fathom what I was talking about. Also, there must be something wrong with my hearing.)

So years ago, because I was taking singing lessons, he decided he wanted to take some, too. Not because he realised how badly he was singing, mind you. Just for fun.

The singing instructor was a very kind, positive person, the type who is always hopeful. After the first few lessons she was casting around for something to say and she chirped, "he's really trying hard!". Eventually, as the semester wore on, the hopeful look on her face was replaced with a gulping expression of supressed chagrin.

The semester came to an end. I watched him belt out "Let it be" infront of an auditorium of parents-of-singing-lesson-pupils.

And my husband decided that he'd had all the singing lessons he needed now, thank you, and went happily back home.

He still sings terribly, terribly. Earhurtingly awfully. It's ok. I've gotten used to it though I cannot bring myself to love this. And you know what? We have a one year old daughter. And her favourite thing ever is to have papa sing along to the music with her. She could listen to him for hours, and she laughs and it cheers her up anytime she is grouchy and he is the best papa ever.

That's some mighty fine singing!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


In the UK, on the other hand, it's perfectly OK.

They are wrong wrong wrong! But I only really give a shit if I'm being paid to give a shit. If their style manual says it's hyphenated, then I will add hyphens where they're needed.

(The worse part of the job I had at Lonely Planet was alternating between the style sheet used by the U.S. office and that used by the Melbourne office - we didn't often work on the other hemisphere's books, but sometimes we or they needed to pitch in. It was easy to get confused and accidentally edit the chapter of a U.S. book using the wrong style sheet.)
posted by rtha at 12:09 PM on April 27, 2012


When I've tried to look at this from the other side, what mostly seems to be the deal is that there's a lot of different components to music besides pitch, and if for you specific pitch is just a neutral issue then you can still enjoy all the other bits.

That's very much my attitude. In fact, the "flaws" of being just ever slightly off-pitch or having a wavering instead of steady pitch are often really interesting and can serve a song in great ways! I recently got into a little argument about this over a song which has gone viral for being OBVIOUSLY AWFUL, called "3 Second Rule", which I found really compelling in an outsider music, off-kilter way. The things she does with her voice are very far from "conventionally good", but they really work in this song! I'm the only person who thinks so, apparently, so I wonder whether my mind is so open about music that my brains are falling out.
posted by naju at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2012


cortex: " So I'd guess it's a bit like being color-blind; we don't wonder what a color-blind person could possibly get out of art, but at the same time there is something very specifically different about how they're seeing a lot of color-centric visual art compared to the normative experience. The big difference is probably that we can't tell someone's not seeing color nearly as easily as we can tell someone's not hearing pitch, because people paint along to the TV a lot less frequently than they sing along to the radio."

I'm color blind. Here's the breakdown.

I can see vivid colors, but as they fade into pastels I begin to have difficulty discerning which of certain colors are which. So greens may fade into browns or oranges. Reds may fade into various earth tones. I can't see purple at all -- it looks blue to me, or in some cases a shade of red. Very light pink looks white. Green stop lights look white. Light skinned African American skin tones look green to me. What this boils down to is if you ask me what color my living room couches are, I'll say "green" when they may be brown. Or beige. But I won't know the difference unless I asked, or had it pointed out to me.

Since I'm not purely 'black, white and shades of gray' color blind, I can see and appreciate color art. If I don't see a particular color, my brain will substitute its identity for another. So if a painted sky shades towards purples, I would see it simply as blue. I've also found (by comparing notes with my wife,) that I tend to be a little more sensitive to picking up texture differences in art. I notice brush strokes and other things a bit more readily. In my everyday life, being aware of those differences can matter in low-light conditions where colors are dull and faded into one another, and I need to determine spatially where objects begin and end. Or picking out anomalies in a landscape.

I don't think my being color blind diminishes my appreciation for art. But I do suspect it gives me a different perspective. What may draw your eye in a painting may not draw mine. I might think the focus of a photo is different than what the photographer actually intended. When things are being emphasized or de-emphasized by color (and not intensity,) I might come to a different conclusion than all y'all.
posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was really happy to see how many people like to sing, or would like to if they hadn't been emotionally traumatized by criticism. Like KathrynT, in my experience (singing in a choir) most people can produce decent sounds with a little instruction. (On preview: Most, not all!)

cortex: it was always a very mysterious thing to me as someone with a strong ear as long as I can remember to try and even understand how someone could not get that things were going terribly wrong musically

Me too. I spent several years wondering how it was possible they couldn't hear that they were singing the wrong note. And letting myself feel annoyed and superior about it. Yeah, that was juvenile. Then I read a part of Oliver Sacks's Musicophilia talking about someone with perfect pitch who lost it. Now I remind myself of that whenever I'm tempted to start feeling superior over this trait that I did nothing to deserve and that may disappear.

Anyway, my actual singing voice is merely average. My singing teacher is trying to teach me techniques and I get it intellectually but my execution is...hit or miss. Still, I can hear the improvement over time so something must be sinking in.

tdismukes: Speaking from personal experience, [tone deafness] can be remedied

In your original comment, you say, "I was also fortunate to have an environment with some very tolerant people who encouraged me even though I must have been hurting their ears."

How did people approach this delicate issue with you, then?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:18 PM on April 27, 2012


It's got a good beat and they can dance to it.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on April 27

Dear Metafilter, a close friend of mine can not, in fact, dance to it. Should I tell them?
posted by RobotHero at 12:20 PM on April 27, 2012


RobotHero: "Should I tell them?"

Challenge them to a dance off.
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on April 27, 2012


Should I tell them?

Just show them this thread!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:28 PM on April 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oops. I thought you were an editor of MefiMag. Sorry.

No, just graphics and production.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2012


mippy: "On a different note, my mum has started eating sushi. She thinks it's posh to pronounce it as 'suuu-chet'. I think this is brilliant."

I'm confused, does she say suu-chet, or suu-shay and you're being all french with your 'chet'?
posted by Grither at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2012


Oh my goodness, y'all, I hope it's not too late for this video.

Happy sigh. I want to be just like Tami Taylor when I grow up.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"In your original comment, you say, "I was also fortunate to have an environment with some very tolerant people who encouraged me even though I must have been hurting their ears."

How did people approach this delicate issue with you, then?
"

It varied. I started out playing/singing at a local open mike and at SCA campfires. Most of the people who gave me feedback would praise my enthusiasm or my choice of song, avoiding the topic of my ability. A couple of musician friends would give me pointers on what I should be aiming for vocally, but they mostly went over my head because I wasn't aware of what I was actually doing. I was hearing what the song sounded like in my mind rather than what was really coming out of my mouth.

Most of my initial progress came from members of my band. They pushed me to correct my pitch and my rhythm. Mostly they were diplomatic about it, but sometimes it really stung, even though I have a fairly thick skin. Criticism of one's voice feels much more personal than criticism of one's guitar playing.

I ended up being mostly an instrumentalist in the band, as I was the worst singer of the four of us. However, I got to listen from the sidelines for years as the other band members corrected each other on their vocals and fought about approaches to melody, harmony, timing, and timbre. As I worked to make sense out of what they were arguing about, I absorbed a lot through immersion and osmosis.

I also developed my ears through playing scales, recording myself, using ear-training software, and everything else I could come up with. It's not a quick or easy process. With all respect to Omnomnomm, it's not something you pick up in a single semester of lessons if you start out at the bottom of the bell curve.

These days my band has dwindled to a duet, I sing lead much of the time, and I take voice lessons. I'm not a great singer, but according to musicians I trust I'm on pitch and I have a relatively pleasant voice.
posted by tdismukes at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2012


I'm confused, does she say suu-chet, or suu-shay and you're being all french with your 'chet'?

Now I want to watch Poi Rot starring David Sushi.
posted by milk white peacock at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kay-roh, Illinois; etc.

Don't forget PEE-ru, Indiana.

Charlottesville, VA has a street called Dew Maw Road. I suspect it was named after a Frenchman.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2012


If you're gonna y'all at all of us, you've gotta all y'all

They sure do talk fine down there in Savannah, don't they?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:14 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]



No, but I sing, and I've heard hundreds of people get better at singing by working on it. Singing isn't some magically unimproveable skill. There is no reason to believe that he is the ONLY HUMAN BEING ON EARTH who can't gain vocal proficiency through study.


Ya know, there was an ask-me recently about how the OP had horrible handwriting, and so they wanted to know how they could type out a letter and still have personal touches. Quite a few people chimed in that "everyone's handwriting can be improved." Aside from the fact that that didn't really answer the question, from personal experience, that while that might be true in theory, it isn't in practice. I mean, I've got good fine muscle control and everything, but even when I try my hardest and take 10 min. to address an envelope, it still looks awful. It's better yeah, but the amount of effort that goes into that versus the gains in legibility is not really a trade that I'm willing to make.

Anyway, my point is that there's "impossible" and there's "practically impossible."
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:21 PM on April 27, 2012


No one has mentioned Mont-pee-lee-er, Vermont?

(I was charmed to find that my GPS pronounces Pie IX (pee 9, like the pope but in French) pie 9 like the dessert, though I was a bit sad it wasn't pie iks.)
posted by jeather at 1:22 PM on April 27, 2012


Speaking of Charlottesville, there's a town in Arkansas called Monticello. Pronounced mon-ah-sell-oh, of course.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 1:24 PM on April 27, 2012


I can always tell who's a New Englander by their pronunciation of Concord (NH and MA) - it's not the jet, folks. It's like you've been conquered. Another giveaway - BERlin and Leb'nin (Lebanon).
posted by ChuraChura at 1:26 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Metafilter, a close friend of mine can not, in fact, dance to it. Should I tell them?

Fifteen or twenty years ago, during one of the USENIX conferences held in San Francisco, they rented Bimbo's 365 club one night for an event. I tagged along with my dad, an old-school programmer (APL FTW!) because D'Cuckoo were playing.

The room was packed full of mostly middle-aged (and older), mostly white, programmer types, many of them with... um, "unique" senses of rhythm, and not one of whom could dance any better than my dad can. But everybody was dancing.

Being in that crowd, dancing badly with everybody else, was one of the most joyous experiences I've had in my life.

Unless your friend wants to be a professional dancer, don't tell them. What on earth would you gain by squelching the pleasure they get from dancing?

I mean, I've got good fine muscle control and everything, but even when I try my hardest and take 10 min. to address an envelope, it still looks awful.

When people say things can be improved with practice, they're not generally talking about one 10-minute session. But if you spent 10 minutes a day for a month practicing basic calligraphy exercises, your handwriting would improve.
posted by Lexica at 1:36 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


it's not the jet, folks

And if someone said it like that, I'd feel compelled to correct them. In a self-effacing, "isn't new England weird" way, of course.

When I lived in St Louis I was really confused at first, pronunciation-wise. "Creve Coeur? Chouteau? I remembered all that High School French pronunciation for this?"
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2012



When people say things can be improved with practice, they're not generally talking about one 10-minute session. But if you spent 10 minutes a day for a month practicing basic calligraphy exercises, your handwriting would improve.


I guess that was unclear: it takes me 10 minutes to write out the three lines of the address (and incidentally me being grouchy and frustrated because writing legibly is something that comes easily to most people). I have in fact spent quite a bit of time in my life trying to get better. Including 15 min. a day when I was junior high (No really, we set a timer, just like if I was practicing piano).

Yeah, practice can make perfect on a lot of things, but some of us who are running the Red Queen's Race.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:48 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Charlottesville, VA has a street called Dew Maw Road. I suspect it was named after a Frenchman.

There's also Rio Road, which goes along the river through town, but it's pronounced "rye-oh". The other supposed etymology for the name is that it was at one time Rte. 10, so Rio was just a letterization of R10, but the proximity to the river makes me suspicious.

Then there's the town up in the mountains called Buena Vista, pronounced "byoo-na vista".
posted by LionIndex at 1:49 PM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's also Rio Road, which goes along the river through town, but it's pronounced "rye-oh".

Ah, forgot about that one. Interesting theory about the etymology.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2012


There's also Rio Road, which goes along the river through town, but it's pronounced "rye-oh".

Interestingly, you hear that pronunciation of "Rio" in several old sea shanties, including the cleverly named Rio Grande (go to track 111, below, to hear a sample).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"byoo-na vista"

That's how they they say Buena Vista in Stoo-ben-vill (Steubenville), OH, too.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:56 PM on April 27, 2012


Why is penultimate just the next to last while pendragon is a badass king? Etymologies! Pen in the old Brythonic means "head" while in Latin it means "almost".

If you are ever caught using Penultimate in the wrong way, just claim you were speaking in the Welsh fashion and were simple referring to the head of the ultimates. Obviously.
posted by Winnemac at 2:01 PM on April 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Interestingly, you hear that pronunciation of "Rio" in several old sea shanties, including the cleverly named Rio Grande (go to track 111, below, to hear a sample).

That shanty is basically the weirdest thing in the world for me because the aforementioned town I grew up in had to come up with a new town name in a hurry and they'd heard of this river in Mexico that sounded like it might be like the Ohio river the town is near.

So I grew up in "Rye-oh Grand" and had long assumed that we were the only people who said it that way.
posted by Copronymus at 2:31 PM on April 27, 2012


There's a town in California called Benicia (Be NEE shah) but out-of-towners almost always called it Beh ne KA while I was growing up. I haven't been there in awhile so I don't know if this is still true. My home town of Vallejo, CA (Va LAY hoe) is Val LEE joe to a lot of people who don't live there. Of course, the Spanish pronunciations would be different, I guess.

Then, of course, there's Roe DAY oh Drive in Southern California.
posted by patheral at 3:14 PM on April 27, 2012


Gygesringtone: Quite a few people chimed in that "everyone's handwriting can be improved." Aside from the fact that that didn't really answer the question, from personal experience, that while that might be true in theory, it isn't in practice. I mean, I've got good fine muscle control and everything, but even when I try my hardest and take 10 min. to address an envelope, it still looks awful.

I'm left-handed, and my family is right-handed.

We went out to eat the other night, and my husband tried to show me--AGAIN!--how to use chopsticks properly. I would try with my left hand, but it just wouldn't work. "How are you making them pinch together?! My fingers don't DO that!" I would complain. It was driving me (and everyone else, I'm sure) nuts. Especially since my double-jointed son can pick up a grain of rice with chopsticks after only ever trying them ONCE.

Anyway, even though I write left-handed, I do everything else right-handed by default. It just seemed easier, because everyone else around me used their right hands, and I'd do it their way. So since I throw golf, bat, etc. right-handed (maybe not proficiently, but that's just because I'm not athletic), I tried the chopsticks in my right hand, and found that those fingers DO, in fact, move that way, and I could pinch the chopsticks together.

Now I am wondering if instead of being left-handed doing almost everything else right-handed, I have secretly been right-handed all along?

Since that hand's apparently got all the fine motor control anyway, just think how much BETTER my right-handed sketches could be! Won't I feel silly if it turns out I was meant to be a great artist, and here I've just been using the wrong hand all this time? Talk about being a slow learner! That's 46 years of wrong-handedness I won't be getting back any time soon.

Maybe you and I, Gygesringtone, have BOTH been sabotaging ourselves all this time. We should each give ourselves say, a month, to try using our other hand to write, and see how it turns out. Might be a fun experiment.
posted by misha at 3:19 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting theory about the etymology.

Not my theory; just something I heard; I think it's shenanigans.

posted by LionIndex at 3:19 PM on April 27, 2012


There's a Hurrican, MS, too. It's pronounced HAIR-ih-kun.
posted by cooker girl at 3:20 PM on April 27, 2012


Now I am singing.

Big Rio Grande river, it flows down to the sea
Bringing back my memories of the past
High up on Table Mesa, I feel her nearness close to me
As the evening sun sets in the west

posted by fiercecupcake at 3:23 PM on April 27, 2012


Then, of course, there's Roe DAY oh Drive in Southern California.

I will go along with every HAIR-ih-kun and whatever in the world, but I say Rodeo drive. I gotta draw the line somewhere.
posted by bongo_x at 3:33 PM on April 27, 2012


"Similarly, if people start saying "the bipolar," that's what it will be called, and ranting about it will be just as silly as ranting about saying "she graduated college""

See, that sounds really weird over here. Like 'write me' .it just seems incomplete (though interestingly second-gen south Asian folk I've heard chatting sometimesmiss words out in a similar way eg 'she went college')
posted by mippy at 3:36 PM on April 27, 2012


Maybe you and I, Gygesringtone, have BOTH been sabotaging ourselves all this time. We should each give ourselves say, a month, to try using our other hand to write, and see how it turns out. Might be a fun experiment.

That was actually tried in 1st or 2nd grade (although in my case it was trying to write left handed). No dice. Luckily enough, very little I do involves writing that other people have to read. Computers are a valuable tool.

I'm much more willing to believe people who say "well, I've really worked at X, but I'm still bad," than a lot of people seem to be (especially about things that they're good at). A lifetime of being told "you just need to stop being lazy about it" has left me a little frustrated. After all, that is the implication of "everyone can do this if they're willing to work" is that the only reason you can't do it is because you're too lazy to learn. I freely acknowledge that hard work can over-come a lack of innate ability, I just think that some people have so far to go that there isn't enough time or energy available for them to become proficient.

My orchestration and arranging class in college is a great example, because she not only graded on neatness but refused to let anyone use music notation software. Just in case we were in a situation where we needed to be able to write out scores neatly but didn't have access to a computer, I've never figured out exactly what scenario the teacher had in mind. I spent 8 hours writing (the composition took me about an hour) a 32 bar arrangement for string quartet and got a C- because of the penmanship, the only red ink on the page dealt with calligraphy. In fact that's what I got on every single assignment. I had to make sure every assignment was perfect, and that I aced every test (which luckily wasn't a problem, but could very easily have been, orchestration is tough), or I'd get a D and have to retake the class (which btw was taught by only one professor), all because in the professor's opinion "anyone can learn to write neatly, it just takes some work."

On the other hand, "anyone can do X" is usually meant as encouragement, so I try and take it as such. I just wish people would be a little more aware of what exactly the implication is to those who genuinely can't (or could, but would have to invest enough effort\stress\time\whatever in it to make it not worth the trade).
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:08 PM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had different answers in each thread because they aren't the same question to me (or even related), but what I think they both have in common is that it really depends a lot on the person who is receiving the message, how it's delivered, and the nature of the relationship between the people.

Whenever I read "ya'll" my brain pronounces it "yuh ull" but I don't say that out loud. Unless I'm alone.

Somewhat more disturbing, corner stores where I grew up in Cleveland, regardless of who owns them, are called "Ay-Rab" stores (Arab).
posted by sm1tten at 5:06 PM on April 27, 2012


Hey we have "AY-rabbers" in Baltimore which are people selling produce out of horse-drawn carts.
We also have a Thames Street pronounced "THAY-mes".
posted by zoinks at 5:23 PM on April 27, 2012


How will we ever discourage people from contributing to Amazon's exponentially growing public slush pile of self-published e-books?

But it's different when you know the person. There was a third recent thread recently in which a son asked if he was obliged to read and comment favorably on his elderly father's self-published book.

I just don't know what to say here. Where are the boundaries of the circle of obligation? Parent and child, or lovers or spouses, probably. But are more distant relatives or acquaintances obliged to read and comment favorably on someone's self-published book?

On the one hand, you might say that the process of professional editing and commercial publishing exists for a reason, and that bypassing it is an attempt to give your work an imprimatur that, if you are a terrible writer, it doesn't deserve. It's like craft items with dreadful taste and execution being sold on Etsy for $399. On the other hand, every self-published author, unless he or she lives all alone in a basement apartment, has significant others and friends who are being asked to read his or her book. And with Facebook and the like, the circle of acquaintances being expected to read the book widens drastically.

I've never had this authorial delusion, in part because I have published two academic books that I've begged non-academic friends and relatives NOT to try to read. I've also done more editing of other people's work than I ever wanted to. To be able to say "NO" when asked to do something is a great power.
posted by bad grammar at 5:40 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


(sorry about linking to one comment in that thread by mistake -- now call me out for MeTa incompetence)
posted by bad grammar at 5:41 PM on April 27, 2012


But if you spent 10 minutes a day for a month practicing basic calligraphy exercises, your handwriting would improve.

This has actually been a source of great frustration for my son due to his teachers and to my great shame, me, insisting that if he just tried harder or practiced more, his handwriting would improve. Many years of physical and occupational therapy, more years of this sure-fire program or that, including Handwriting Without Tears which, despite the name, generated plenty of tears and his handwriting remains largely illegible; he handwrites with such great effort that he struggles to complete even a single sentence. Compare his school notebook to that of his peers and my son might have managed to write down the date in the time every other student in the class has captured four paragraphs of lecture notes.

It was especially painful to watch him self edit on the fly when handwriting, for example if he were asked to transcribe something like "The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog," it would be stripped down to "Fox jumps over dog" just so he could fit it on one side of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper before he ran out of space. The kicker is the kid is a good writer, writing expressively and well above his grade level so long as he types: just a few days ago he completed his second 50,000 word novel, a project that was not a school assignment but just something he works at in his spare time. Now he has an IEP that spells out that he gets to keyboard all of his schoolwork, including his classwork and written portions of his tests and he takes an iPad with an external keyboard everywhere he goes.

Dysgraphia. Sometimes no amount of practice will make an improvement. I wish I knew earlier.
posted by jamaro at 6:06 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dysgraphia. Sometimes no amount of practice will make an improvement.

I was coming here to say the same thing about the left/right problems that I have and that I can't seem to correct. Followed your link. Went to look up what it's called when people can't tell left from right. Read this article. Got to the last paragraph....
I have discovered no support groups for this condition but did run across a boisterous conversation on the subject at the blog site www.metafilter.com. There was input from men and women, including one woman who said "it's trial and error" every time she turns on a water faucet, and a guy who says he's clear which is which unless he looks in a mirror.
That trial and error comment, that's mine. o_O
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:33 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I very nearly failed kindergarten because I couldn't tell my right from my left.

Also, the northernmost county in California is pronounced "del nort."

And, WRT singing, count me among the self-acknowledged crappy singers who loves it anyway. I mostly sing along to things, because when I have something to match, I can find the right pitch. When I sing solo, I can hear when I (frequently!) go off pitch, but I cannot figure out how to get to the right one.
posted by mollymayhem at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2012


My husband, who is not from the midwest, would like me to explain WHY Des Plaines (Dez Plainez) and Des Moines (Duh Moyn) obey different rules.

I suspect everyone (who has ever been 50 miles away from their hometown!) has experienced the anxiety of not being sure how to pronounce a place name.

During Obama's nomination, one of the true pleasures of the race was listening to foreign news correspondents say "Chicago." I mean that honestly, it tickles me to hear it pronounced in varying accents. There was this one British reporter who couldn't decide if he was going to try to say it like the locals or like the rest of America, and kept sort-of splitting the difference, with a British accent on top of it. It was charming.

I hate commercials for "Mercury" cars because they say "Mer-kur-ee." It's MER-CURE-EE. GAAAAH. Fingernails. On. A. Chalkboard. Also, in the South I could never get used to "IN-sure-ance" and "UM-brel-la" (instead of inSUREance and umBRELla). But I did learn to say Appalachia properly (ap-uh-latch-ya) and now whenever I say that back home in the midwest I get corrected to "ap-ah-lay-sha" by friendly folk who don't want me to make an ass of myself. I say, no, the locals say it LATCH-ya, and they look dubious.

Now. Someone tell me how to say Marylebone. I listened to the Tube lady say it every day and could never replicate.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2012


Hah, does that make for a somewhat out of body feeling to read about yourself while looking up something else?

For reasons unknown, my plumbing challenged father hooked up the kitchen sink so hot water was controlled by the right-hand tap. It took me years to reliably find hot water after I moved away because I'd stand there waiting for the cold water coming out of the faucet to warm up.
posted by jamaro at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2012


Never had a left/right problem, though as a kid, I was diagnosed as dyslexic, and couldn't tell a lowercase b from a d until 3rd grade. Don't ask me do do a anything while looking in a mirror. I'm better blind than with a mirror view. Also, lately, I've developed an interesting case of pushing on doors clearly marked "pull."

And yes, some singing is utterly unsalvageable.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:53 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently caught myself flipping between "hurricaaaayne" and "hurrican"

This is the story of the Hurricane.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:56 PM on April 27, 2012


The residents of Fayetteville, NC pronounce the name of their town, "Fedvul", or at least they used to.
posted by trip and a half at 7:14 PM on April 27, 2012


We went out to eat the other night, and my husband tried to show me--AGAIN!--how to use chopsticks properly. I would try with my left hand, but it just wouldn't work. "How are you making them pinch together?! My fingers don't DO that!" I would complain.

The best thing about mangling my right index finger (I'm a rightie) is that now I have an excuse for being incapable of using chopsticks.

I still don't get why north/south feels very easy to me but east/west (and left/right) have to be figured out each time. I know north is up on a map, but not necessarily anywhere else.
posted by jeather at 7:41 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea there was a name for the left/right problem, which is the reason I failed my driving test twice. The examiner told me to go left around the cone and I went right, and he called me an idiot, and I cried and refused to complete the task, which was parking between some cones... I still don't know why it matters that I went the wrong way.

The second time, I got the same examiner, and I refused to take the test, which at the time counted as a failure.

Chicago-style street pronunciations:
Paulina (paul-eye-nuh)
Armitage (arm-it-ige)
Devon (deh-vonne)
posted by sm1tten at 7:48 PM on April 27, 2012


This thread is like a catalog of my sins: can't sing, can't tell left from right (and yes, nearly failed kindergarten and did fail my first driving test), can't pronounce words (learned them from books) or resist telling others how to pronounce them (bad habit), and I have no idea how to pronounce Concord the jet.

All I can reliably tell you is, Ro-day-oh is the correct pronounciation in Spanish, and Val-LAY-jo is an entirely local abomination (I say this as a Vees-ta native).
posted by librarylis at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2012


Oh, and to clarify a bit further: I actually thought the left/right thing was due to my very poor sense of depth perception, and no matter how much I have tried i have never gotten the hang of it. I am totally directionally challenged - can read and understand a map but my body gets lost all the time but luckily my boyfriend and I have iPhones and GPS.

I can only use chopsticks for sushi, and it takes me a couple of tries.
posted by sm1tten at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2012


Oh, gosh, my recommending the "10 minutes of practice a day" wasn't meant to be any kind of UR DOIN IT RONG to folks with dysgraphia or any other real limitation — it was meant for the folks like me who had traumatic experiences with their early exposures to learning cursive, or who spend most of their time at a keyboard rather than moving a pen/paintbrush/etc. and so have tight muscles. Apologies to anyone who felt criticized.

As for pronunciation… as I've written elsewhere, we Californians are hella lazy-tongued. Los Gatos becomes luss GADuss. San Rafael is san ruhFELL. Vallejo (as mentioned upthread) is vuhLAYho. Etc., etc.
posted by Lexica at 8:05 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


My husband, who is not from the midwest, would like me to explain WHY Des Plaines (Dez Plainez) and Des Moines (Duh Moyn) obey different rules.

Because if you pronounce it like Des Moines, it basically sounds like "da plane" and that would just get confusing with O'Hare right there and all...
posted by EmilyClimbs at 9:16 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


For reasons unknown, my plumbing challenged father hooked up the kitchen sink so hot water was controlled by the right-hand tap. It took me years to reliably find hot water after I moved away because I'd stand there waiting for the cold water coming out of the faucet to warm up.

He wasn't Polish, was he? A bunch of the apartments in Greenpoint in Brooklyn have them that way because that's the way they do it in Poland.

In re the directional thing --- there's been some interesting work done in linguistics lately about languages which use absolute instead of relative direction -- that is, instead of saying, "there's an ant crawling on your left foot," they'd say "there's an ant crawling on your south-southwest foot." I recall reading an anecdote about an anthropologist who had spent a great deal of time with such a tribe, speaking a language like that, who said that after a while it changed her whole mind's eye with regard to positioning in space, as if she had a little corner in the back of her mind somewhere that was like a GPS display on a dashboard, so that she was always subtle-y aware of what direction she was facing and where things were in relation to her in absolute terms. i don't doubt that some people may be better or worse than others at telling left from right, but maybe it's because left and right are arbitrary concepts, not really ingrained in us....
posted by Diablevert at 11:11 PM on April 27, 2012


Oh man, left and right. I'm dyspraxic, and. . . yeah. When I was 8, I could write as legibly with my feet as I could with my hands. I couldn't write with my feet any better than anyone else, either, that's just how crappy my handwriting was. I still have terrible trouble with it.

And, let me be clear: my statement about how anyone can improve their voice with study and effort isn't meant to say that everyone can be excellent, or frankly even good. Just that anyone (nearly) can be better than they are now. There are a lot of people who could improve by leaps and bounds and still be terrible singers. And certainly, there are characteristics that are harder to modify than others; my best friend has a beautiful voice, clear and pure and soaring, with truly excellent pitch and control, but her strong suit is not volume. When she's in study, she has access to a lot more oomph than she does when she's not being coached, but she is never going to be a rafters-shaking powerhouse. On the other hand, my voice has a lot of juice to it, but if you want someone to come in clear on a pianissimo high B? That person is not me and is never going to be me.

But there seems to be this sort of cultural idea of The Voice, the gift you either have or you don't, and that whatever you got handed when your number was called in the Great Vocal Assignation Department in the sky, that's what you're stuck with. And it's just not true. Now, it may be that after hard work and study, you suck in completely different ways than you used to, but vocal ability is absolutely not carved in stone.
posted by KathrynT at 11:34 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have Dyscalculia so left and right are hard for me, but I can use them well enough to get around when I'm driving or walking (I write with my right hand; that's how I tell left from right). Anyway, I just moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and they give directions here using North, South, East, & West... Now I get lost all of the time, and it doesn't help to know that the mountains are in the East.
posted by patheral at 11:37 PM on April 27, 2012


Mo' plural of y'all is alla y'all. nadawi was close.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:59 PM on April 27, 2012




Mo' plural of y'all is alla y'all. nadawi was close.

I had a babysitter from the North use the phrase "y'uns all" for second person plural. It hurt my ears to hear, but she said it all the time.
posted by patheral at 12:35 AM on April 28, 2012


Where I grew up we say yeese as the plural of you. I have an English colleague I like to use this around as it makes him twitch.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:01 AM on April 28, 2012


I might have missed it, but how the hell does "worchester" come out of someone's mouth as "Wooster?"
posted by absalom at 6:43 AM on April 28, 2012


how the hell does "worchester" come out of someone's mouth as "Wooster?"

To get to the answer to this question, one has to go straight to the sauce.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:03 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But in fact, it's not "Worchester", it's "Worcester", as in Worcester, Massachusetts.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on April 28, 2012


Yeah, spelling from memory. Still makes no damn sense.
posted by absalom at 8:11 AM on April 28, 2012


I'm getting ready to have the tone deaf conversation with my wife. I've been planning it for months and will report back how it goes.

Here's why I think it needs to be brought up in my marriage. Mrs. Bartfast is not at all musically inclined and that's fine. She's not someone whose prone toward sudden musical outbursts and as far as I can tell derives little joy from singing. I am the opposite. I sing on stage, sing in the car, sing in the shower. I've caught myself singing normal dinner time conversations. There was a stability and tolerance in our marriage that worked fine.

Then we had kids.

Kids bring music into a house in a way that would make for a fascinating neuroscience PhD thesis. It starts with diaper changing when you catch yourself singing "Who's got a poopy diaper? You do! You do!" and quickly moves to lullaby singing and before you know it all 4 of us are shaking to Caspar Babypants in the living room.

All of this has activated neural pathways in my wife's brain that have been neglected since she was five. Her mistakes are the mistakes of a five year old and are easily correctable. She's not at all attentive to where the notes should go, or the direction of the melody. I suspect that many people who sing poorly have never considered that it's a skill that can be cultivated, that you can consciously control what your voice is doing. I'm not talking about becoming a great singer, I'm just talking about getting the notes in right ballpark. Once you make that connection, things will naturally improve with continued singing.

My wife's lack of attention to her voice wouldn't bother me except for the fact that I really want my kids to develop the natural interest in music that all kids have and I'm a little concerned the effect this will have.

I'm probably overthinking it. Baby Bartfast #1 loves singing with his mom they're both horribly off key. But if he's going to continue to love singing, he's going to have to spend more time doing it with me or instructors or otherwise someone's eventually going to tell him he's bad at it and he'll lose confidence and close himself off.

I'm well aware of how criticizing someones voice can shake their willingness to let other people hear them sing. Self-assurance is inherent to singing well. But in our case, the difference between my wife and me is stark and she's well aware of it. I've gently prodded her by singing with her and emphasizing certain note she's way off on. She takes the kids to their music classes and I'm hoping she will gradually start to get it without having the "honey, you're terrible" conversation. But so far she hasn't really started to pay much attention to what her voice is doing so I do think I need to find an opportune moment soon to bring it up.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:16 AM on April 28, 2012


But so far she hasn't really started to pay much attention to what her voice is doing so I do think I need to find an opportune moment soon to bring it up.

I somehow doubt there will ever be an opportune moment to bring it up. (And is it really a thing that having a parent with a terrible singing voice will ruin a child's voice, especially if they're getting training elsewhere?)

My mother did not sing from when she was 12 to 62, thanks to a teacher telling her she sounded like a crow. I'm not kidding - she wouldn't even sing happy birthday. Because she never sang, I always shied away from it too, despite the fact that my father had quite a nice voice. It took a new, encouraging partner who said my mother should try singing lessons and see if she couldn't improve her voice that way to get her to start singing again.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:23 AM on April 28, 2012


But so far she hasn't really started to pay much attention to what her voice is doing so I do think I need to find an opportune moment soon to bring it up.

Maybe she doesn't care to pay attention to what her voice is doing? And I doubt your children will stop being interested in music just because their mother sings badly. They might, however, lose interest in it if their mother suddenly stops singing.
posted by jeather at 9:13 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They might, however, lose interest in it if their mother suddenly stops singing.
Or if they sense that there's an over-emphasis on doing it well as opposed to just enjoying it.
posted by sm1tten at 9:31 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then, of course, there's Roe DAY oh Drive in Southern California.

I will go along with every HAIR-ih-kun and whatever in the world, but I say Rodeo drive. I gotta draw the line somewhere.


But it's like the one word that Angelinos nearly pronounce in its original Spanish form, unlike say, Lass Feeliz.

What makes me crazy is riding Muni and hearing the robot voice lady call out VAH LEN CHUH. Couldn't they have gotten a native San Fraciscan to pronounce the bus stops properly?
posted by oneirodynia at 9:36 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


(I write with my right hand; that's how I tell left from right).

Me, too ! I've trained my friends not to laugh when I give directions in terms of 'drivers side' and 'passengers side'. (Somehow I don't mess that up. )

When I was a little girl, I had a teacher call my mother, concerned that I might have a developmental problem. She'd asked me to tell her which was my right hand and which was my left and I said "I don't know; I'm wearing tights." What the teacher didn't know us that I have a birthmark on my right knee and would check it to identify my right.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"My wife's lack of attention to her voice wouldn't bother me except for the fact that I really want my kids to develop the natural interest in music that all kids have and I'm a little concerned the effect this will have."

Guess what! There are studies on this, and a parent who enjoys music freely is what encourages kids to do the same -- not the SKILL of the parent. Hearing their mother's voice sing to them is far more important than hearing someone sing WELL. And plus, with all the recorded music available today, the vast majority of the music they hear will be on-key. (Auto-tuned, even.) My mother couldn't carry a tune in a bucket (and rarely listened to music at home either), and I figured it out well enough to learn several instruments, to play at a high collegiate level, to sing competently in audition-required choirs, and to even gig out a little bit, subbing with pros.

"I'm probably overthinking it. Baby Bartfast #1 loves singing with his mom they're both horribly off key. But if he's going to continue to love singing, he's going to have to spend more time doing it with me or instructors or otherwise someone's eventually going to tell him he's bad at it and he'll lose confidence and close himself off."

As far as I can tell, the person in their life who is going to do that is ... you? Please don't do this. It seems far more likely to deprive your children of their mother's voice raised in song than to get her to sing better.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Slarty Bartfast, I think the right answer is for you to sing more with your kids. They will figure out that you have more skill as a singer than their mom, and that people have different skill levels at singing, and that that's okay and that nobody makes a big deal out of it because singing is fun for everyone.

My mum was perfectly bilingual in French, and my dad totally spoke Franglish, and we loved that Dad was just in there talking French with people even though his French wasn't perfect. If my mum had insisted that my dad learn better French for the sake of the children, it just would have been awk and counterproductive.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:13 PM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that kind of criticism really should be delivered with sed.
posted by stebulus at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyebrows McGee, it's pronounced MAR-lih-bone. (Obviously more 'mah' than ' mar', but you get the drift.

And Slarty Bartfast, it really sounds like this singing issue is your issue, not your wife's. Neither of my parents are remotely good singers (my dad insists on a comic falsetto to make it even better), but they sung often and with loads of joy while I was growing up, and I have absolutely no problem with technical proficiency when I sing. Probably best that you keep your criticism to yourself, or do one better and just get over it.
posted by catch as catch can at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2012


Ric Ocasek
Gerry Garcia
Robert Smith (hello thread title)
Morrissey

When it comes to making compelling, popular, well regarded music, good pitch is often overrated.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2012


it's pronounced MAR-lih-bone

Marylebone, yeah. Before I ever bothered to look it up, I made up my own pronunciation: MAR-il-EB'-oh-nee. It's wrong, of course, but I still like it better.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:14 PM on April 29, 2012


There was another of these today only this one is a lot mor depressing.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:26 PM on April 29, 2012


"But there seems to be this sort of cultural idea of The Voice, the gift you either have or you don't, and that whatever you got handed when your number was called in the Great Vocal Assignation Department in the sky, that's what you're stuck with. And it's just not true. Now, it may be that after hard work and study, you suck in completely different ways than you used to, but vocal ability is absolutely not carved in stone."

Coincidentally, I was just thinking about this the other day. I mean, specifically this.

I've been a musician since I was a child, but a percussionist. This worked out well for me, mostly, because I have a terrible ear. (It caused me a lot of trouble in high school band as, although being first chair, I couldn't play the tympani because I was never able to re-tune them quickly enough because my ear is so poor and I was always uncertain.) I was a music major briefly and did some ear training (which proved how much I need it) and, later, when I attended St. John's, in the music class sophomore year I did have to sing.

I am a terrible singer. I'm self-conscious about it, although I don't recall anyone ever ridiculing me.

The reason that people are incline to think that singing ability comes from the Great Vocal Assignation Department is that so many people are weirdly just naturally good singers, in spite of absolutely no musical training whatsoever, and then others of us are terrible singers, while having musical training. When there's that large of a divergence in innate talent, it's hard not to conclude that it's innate and unchangeable.

However, as I mentioned, just the other night for some reason I was actually thinking about how it's likely that I could learn, with teaching and practice, to sing at least passably. I understand that intellectually; however, the problem is that I've completely internalized my lack of innate ability and I have some trouble even thinking of myself as someone who could sing. (I attempted karaoke exactly once, at a party. It was visibly, excruciatingly embarrassing for everyone present, not just me. I was that bad. I attempted it thinking that I couldn't possibly be as awful as I thought I would be, but I was.)

Per cortex's comment, and risking being mocked for being a percussionist and not a real musician, the fact that I have a poor ear doesn't seem to much reduce my ability to enjoy music, or perform it. It does make it more difficult to write it, however. I can hear in my mind's ear what I want, but I have a lot of trouble finding the right notes on the keyboard because I just don't inherently recognize the intervals (other than the most obvious, which I can easily hear in harmony, though less well in melody). That's where a lot more ear-training would help a lot. And I think it's odd that more people here haven't mentioned how ear-training is a standard part of academic musical education. Few people have such strong ability that they aren't well served by more training in it (if they're musicians).

To some degree, however, my weakness in tonality is offset (naturally, given my interest and abilities) in rhythm. I am very deeply and easily aware of what's going on rhythmically in a piece of music.

Anyway, as a musician, and as someone who (occasionally) writes and performs music, my complete suckiness at singing has always made me sad.

"I have Dyscalculia so left and right are hard for me, but I can use them well enough to get around when I'm driving or walking (I write with my right hand; that's how I tell left from right). Anyway, I just moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and they give directions here using North, South, East, & West... Now I get lost all of the time, and it doesn't help to know that the mountains are in the East."

That's funny because the reason everyone here things that way is because of the huge, honking mountain sitting there which is always visible. That's East. But I guess you'd need to have internalized to some degree the relationships that the other directions have to "in the direction of the Sandias". People who grew up here or live here long enough do that.

But what's interesting is that in my experience having the mountain there is crutch for Albuquerqueans. Although I was born here and my family's from here, I grew up in a small town on the eastern side of the state where it's absolutely flat. When my relatives from here went to visit us there, they always got lost because they had zero sense of direction without the mountain there to anchor them.

There's a supposed sex difference about directions that I don't really think is true, but I do think that in general people seem to divide between those who prefer absolute directions (like east/west/north/sough) for orientation, and those who prefer relative direction and landmarks. I'm very much an absolute direction person and I always sort of remained mentally oriented in space this way. Which can be both good and bad. It's good when my mental orientation is correct. It's bad when it's not. When I think I know where I am because of what I think the absolute directions are, I can get very lost. And when I discover that my mental map has been wrong, it's easily the single most...disorienting...thing I ever commonly experience. ("Commonly" meaning it happens now and then as opposed to something truly extraordinary, such as waking up in a strange motel room with a naked elderly clown...whoa, I don't need to go into that...)

"...how the hell does 'worchester' come out of someone's mouth as 'Wooster?'"

Because that's how the city in England is pronounced, which is where the sauce comes from. Why is it pronounced like that? I dunno. Place names evolve peculiar local pronunciations, that's just the way it is. I recall mentioning this to a friend...when I'd corrected him...and added that there's a number of similarly named English towns that have non-obvious pronunciations. Some of which are found in Shakespeare, such as Leicester. He didn't believe me until he looked it up. Worcestershire is, I think, a notably awkward word to pronounce in English in any of its variations, existing or imagined, so I think that people ought to be given a pass in however they manage it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:23 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


languagehat: That sheds a whole new light on the matter, and as an aficionado of y'all I'm happy to know it.

Yep, pretty much how I feel. It's neat to know the other details in that wiki link concerning how it flowed from the demise of 'thou' and so on. I wasn't trying to say one way is right and one is wrong, I just think that people who are iron-set and sticklers on one spelling or haven't had their feet on the ground talkin' to folks that speak the (for lack of a better word) die-lekt could gain a bit of perspective perhaps. Book learning vs. real world knowledge and all that, I suppose.

Oh, and the Hemingway thing.. I guess I saw it spelled that way in a dictionary once. I kid, I kid!
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:39 AM on April 30, 2012


Similarly, if people start saying "the bipolar," that's what it will be called, and ranting about it will be just as silly as ranting about saying "she graduated college" rather than (as I learned it) "she graduated from college" or (as my grandfather learned it) "she was graduated from college." Language changes, and it's better to change with it if you can.

Does that mean we can use irregardless instead of regardless? 'Cause I should do like the sound of the former over the latter.
posted by Mitheral at 8:46 AM on April 30, 2012


You can indeed! No one with a gun and a badge will stop you, and your meaning will be taken correctly by the folks not too busy railing against the usage.

Note that people will rail against the usage, though, because it's like ground central for usage peeving. So using regardless or irrespective instead is the less bumpy route to travel, if your interest is specifically in bumps and the avoidance thereof. That goes both for limiting the amount of ire directed at you personally and for limiting the amount of disruption to a discussion that using a skunked word will cause, of course. So know your audience and adjust accordingly.

Personally, I think "irrespective" is a pretty awesome and underused word.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:31 AM on April 30, 2012


risking being mocked for being a percussionist and not a real musician

This is hilarious to me, in a "yay we're all on the same team" kind of funny, because I consider percussionists to be superb musicians. The timpanist in my orchestra is arguably the finest musician on the stage, for example, and my choral conductor began his musical life as a percussionist. In fact, he still works as a percussionist on the side.

No, the divide in my musical life is in SINGERS vs. musicians. Our orchestra's management, for example, lamented the fact that the musicians never show up to the board meetings -- while the Chorale president was sitting right here. The Musician's Lounge, backstage, is mostly off-limits to the Chorale. It's a bone of contention; we're trying to change the culture so that if someone needs to refer specifically to the orchestral players, they use "orchestra," or "players," or "instrumentalists," and that it's understood that the word "musicians" also applies to those of us who are making our music through singing. Now, to be fair, a big part of that is that the orchestra are salaried union members while we are volunteers, but still.

I have innately terrible rhythm, which I have managed to work all the way up to "passable" by dint of repeated intense practice. (Just last night I was counting through beats against a metronome, doing 3 vs 4 vs 6. One-and-a two-and-a three-and-a one-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a one-e-and-e-a-e two-e-and-e-a-e three-e-and-e-a-e, over and over again, and I swear my metronome kept speeding up and slowing down.) Being so deficient in that area has made me acutely aware of just how necessary rhythmic precision is to music, let me tell you.
posted by KathrynT at 9:47 AM on April 30, 2012


ground central

Ground zero? Grand central? A nonce portmanteau?
posted by stebulus at 5:29 PM on April 30, 2012


A nonce portmanteau?

I wish I could say it was some intentional bit of peeve-bait, but, yeah, who knows. Sometimes I type faster than I brain.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:02 PM on April 30, 2012


One of my sons, when he was around three and very verbal, got very confused by the use of y'all. We had good friends who were from the south and used it all the time. We spent a lot of time in each others' houses. One day my son turned to me and said "where does y'all live?" It took me a while to understand his question but I finally got it. He thought y'all was the name of some strange elusive mysterious person that everyone but him knew.
posted by mareli at 7:15 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


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