Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2013 December 27

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December 27[edit]

Is the sound /ouv/ rare in English?[edit]

Is the sound /ouv/ rare in English? I've thought about ten words: bovine, cove, hove, jovial, over (& co. overtake, overwrite etc.), overt, overture, rove, soviet, wove. Any other suggestions? HOOTmag (talk) 07:11, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

'Mauve' - at least in most British English dialects. AndyTheGrump (talk)
'Dove' (past tense of 'dive', not the bird). 'Strove' (past tense of 'strive'). 'Jove' (the Roman God - alternative name for 'Jupiter'). 'Covert' (the opposite of your example 'overt'). KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 07:48, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Clover. AndyTheGrump (talk)
Stove, clove, treasure trove, oval, mauve, Fauvism, grove, slithy tove, Hove and "hove into view". Ovingdean but not Oving. Alec Nove. Slovenia. The current UK Secretary of State for Education. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:02, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
@Itsmejudith, Why did you indicate "hove" after I indicated it? HOOTmag (talk) 08:47, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Cause I missed it, like I missed that Andy had already said mauve. I also assumed that there was only one Oving, but now I see that there's another one, which may be pronounced with an ove. Hope you're getting the answers you were hoping for. Itsmejudith (talk) 11:26, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Shrove (Tuesday), drove, drover, droving, Novocastrian. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:24, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
'Supernova', and anything else with 'nova' in it. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 08:50, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Loaves, fovea, Maury Povich, Ed Jovanovski, tovarishch. Adam Bishop (talk) 08:53, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Is that the usual 'English' rendition of 'tovarishch'? 'O' before a stressed syllable in Russian is pronounced 'a'. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 09:04, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Correct. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 11:03, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever actually heard anyone say that word before! Adam Bishop (talk) 12:24, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
'Ovary' and the corresponding plural. It looks like this sound combo is quite common, so I am curious about the reason for the question. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 12:50, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm curious what sound "/ouv/" is supposed to stand for. It looks like it should rhyme with "cow" plus a "v". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:12, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I guess that the reason for the question is the existence of words like love and oven which have that spelling but a different pronunciation. Compare also other and mother, dozen and cozen. There does indeed seem to have been a process that often but not always changed /o:/ do /ʌ/ before a voiced fricative. Cousin probable belongs in there too. --ColinFine (talk) 13:28, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
The "o" in those words is not pronounced "ou", it's pronounced "uh". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:52, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
There was a tendency to replace a spelling "u" with a spelling "o" before "v" in basic non-Latinate vocabulary, because "u" and "v" were the same letter before the 17th century, and a double letter would have been confusing in that context. Some other replacements of "u" with "o" were to avoid a sequence of minims in Gothic/fraktur handwriting... AnonMoos (talk) 14:46, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
'Cardiovascular' and lots of other examples where the first part is a prefix or combining form ending with -o and the second part is a root word beginning with v-. 'Borogoves' as well as 'Slithy toves'. Dover, Andover, (North American) 'plover'. 'Beauville', 'Astrovan'. 'Snowville', 'Crowville'. --Amble (talk) 13:35, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Not British plovers, of course (it's /plʌvə/ here). (Some people on this side of the pond say "hover" with the oʊ vowel, but it's not standard.) (I was going to challenge "cardio-vascular" because I say it with a slight pause to represent the hyphen, but when I say it aloud I can hardly tell the difference.) Dbfirs 16:11, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Innovate, "to put in an oven". Borogrove, a cemetery in Brooklyn. Brove, the past tense of breeve. Slithy toves, what Sarah Ferguson and Dick Morris have in common.μηδείς (talk) 16:23, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

How does one pronounce in English the name of the constructed language of Novial and the Latin phrase Novus ordo seclorum? --Theurgist (talk) 17:23, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

The Latin is /ouv/ when said in English. I assume the same for the constructed language, but haven't heard it said. Any other pronunciation would be unexpected. μηδείς (talk) 18:22, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Slovenia already having been mentioned, there's also Slovakia. See the list of all Wikipedia page titles beginning with "slov-" (there is another constructed language there, Slovio). Check out also wikt:Rhymes:English:-əʊv and wikt:Rhymes:English:-əʊv... at Wiktionary. --Theurgist (talk) 22:41, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

A borderline case is "introvert". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:13, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the 'v' belongs to the final syllable in that one, but I think it still counts. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 04:46, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
We've had oval and ovary, but there are many other ov- words, incl.: ovation, Ovid, oviduct, oviferous, oviform, ovine, oviparous, oviposit(or), ovoid, ovoviparous, ovulate. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:50, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Do Aussies actually say oh-vyu-late? Americans say ah-vyu-late. μηδείς (talk) 01:37, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Brits says 'Ov-yu-late', same stress and intonation as the ridiculous name of a company, 'Spud U Like', which I assume sells potatoes that apparently I like. Short vowel in the first syllable. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 04:22, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
We do too. Word stricken. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 04:28, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Have we said 'oval' yet, as in The Oval, the place where England hammers Australia in cricket? KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 04:43, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Ha! You wish. Nice way to deflect attention from the 4-0 drubbing (probably soon to be 5-0) they've been getting Down Under. But yes, the word "oval" has been mentioned above, as a quick search would have told you. If you Brits can't even manage a simple Control-F, no wonder you're so hopeless at the relatively complex activity of cricket.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:26, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, Jack, yes, it was mentioned. Time of the year, mate. And 4-nil is not bad for England. We usually do worse in every game we invent. We're better nothing much, really. :)

The use of the english word INHERIT[edit]

Can I use the English word INHERIT in this way ? :

"They earned a reputation as greedy ‘rock-dwellers’ that had a sickly weakness for wealth and all things shining. Their desire and hunger for it seemed to be part of their nature, and were said to be INHERIT in all dwarves."

(I have shortened the text to only include the most important sentences to show how I have used the word, so if it seems a bit out of context you know why)

I can't quite figure out if this is a correct use of the word. It sounds good to me, and I want to use this word and keep the sentences as they are now, but only if it is correct use of the word. HERITABLE or INBORN is obviously alternatives, but were I to use one of these words I might need to change the sentence(s) as well, which I don't want.

"They will inherit" is definitely correct use of the word "It was said to be inherit in all dwarves." Not sure, and that's why I'm asking... Wordbooks doesn't always offer all the grammatical variations of a word. (talk) 09:37, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

I think the word inherit in your sentence has been mistakenly used; the correct word is inherent. (Ha, ha, and I've just noticed that Wiktionary has a note stating "do not confound with inherit".) — SMUconlaw (talk) 09:49, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I was confounded by that confounding use of 'confound', so I've changed it the the more idiomatic 'not to be confused with..' AndrewWTaylor (talk) 10:26, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! — SMUconlaw (talk) 11:18, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Of course !! Inherent it is :D:D:D Thnx a lot (talk) 10:13, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

You're most welcome. — SMUconlaw (talk) 11:18, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Accuracy of NYT dialect survey[edit]

Can anyone comment on the accuracy of this 25-question survey from the New York Times which purports to determine your American English dialect geographically? It turned out to be very accurate in my case, but not based on the diagnostic questions I would have expected. Other such surveys for comparison would be helpful. Thanks.

Very accurate for me—of the three towns identified as most nearly matching my responses, one was the city in which I spent the first 25 years of my life (St. Louis) and the other two (Rockford & Aurora, IL) are within 100 miles or so of the city in which I've spent the 40 years since (Chicago). Of course I'm fairly familiar with these sorts of questions and the responses that match different regions, but I tried to answer them honestly. Deor (talk) 20:53, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Medium accurate for me--of the three towns identified as most nearly matching my responses, one (San Antonio) is quite close to the city in which I grew up (Austin), but the other two (Des Moines and Madison) are nowhere near where I grew up; I've never been anywhere near either of those cities. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Madison, Wisconsin? You'll notice at the end it gives both the cities and the diagnostic reason for that city. For me it chose Yonkers, Newark and Philly, based on sneakers, Mischief Night, and Hoagie, with South Jersey (which is correct) in the deepest red. I have also taken the test twice, and it does ask different questions each time. (It didn't ask about hoagies the first time.) It would be interesting to see a list of questions with maps rather than having this quiz format. I am surprised it didn't ask how I pronounced water, if I called them jimmies or sprinkles, and whether I rhyme halve and have, which I don't.μηδείς (talk) 22:13, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
The maps corresponding to the questions are here. Deor (talk) 22:37, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Hit me right on. My 3 cities were "Worcestor", "Providence", and "Boston", and I grew up about 50 miles northwest of Boston and the same distance northeast of Worcester. The killer words for me were "bubbler" and "rotary". --Jayron32 05:45, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I got Boston, Worcester, Springfield. Probably because I never use "bubbler" Hot Stop 08:39, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I just took it again (slightly different questions), and this time it came up with Des Moines, Madison, and Milwaukee. The two Wisconsin cities are because I say "kitty-corner" and Des Moines is because I put "other" for the night of October 30. (I call it "Hell Night" if I call it anything at all, but that wasn't one of the options.) Maybe the test is accurate, but my dialect is wrong for the region where I grew up. I obviously need to cultivate the term "catty-corner" lest people mistake me for a Cheesehead. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:10, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
That would be disastrous. Which reminds me: What do you get when you have 60,000 Packers fans at Lambeau? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
It kind of "hung" on the last step and I never got a map. But on the individual answers, it mostly had me pegged wrong. So it's hard to tell. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:19, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I suggest you try again, I did it three times and it got stuck on the third. μηδείς (talk) 17:17, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
The reason it takes so long is it's running a script. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:56, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I tried it and it put me in Spokane, Seattle, or Portland. I guess that's as close to Calgary as they could get. --NellieBly (talk) 21:47, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I think it gets confused when Canadians take it. I got Spokane too - never been anywhere near there. I also got Detroit, which is at least the closest place across the border (and the source of my "devil's night" answer, I think). Adam Bishop (talk) 00:54, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I, who have never been to the United States, tried it and apparently I'm from the Newark-New York-Jersey City area. Medeis, kindly get your guest room ready. I like my eggs boiled for exactly 8 minutes. Thank you.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:13, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I have my nephews over (no beds available), and when the youngest was just offered pizza, he said he'd rather have a hard-boiled egg! The North-East does often have the most conservative phonetic values, outside lower-class ethnic accents. I am curious what you called the night before halloween, and rubber-soled athletic shoes. It is very interesting to see how people outside the US do on this. I'd like to take a British test. I am guessing I'd come out rural West Midlands. μηδείς (talk) 22:54, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
"Rural West Midlands" is an _extremely_ small area, the Meriden Gap, that I don't think could be isolated by a dialect test. Herefordshire/Shropshire/Warwickshire/Worcestershire would be a more idiomatic way of putting it. Tevildo (talk) 23:36, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
That's totally speculative of me. The vowels seem to fit and I said rural assuming I might still match a rhotic, rather than arrhotic speaker. Maybe there all arrhotic at this point though. μηδείς (talk) 01:32, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Surely there are large swaths of West Midlands (region) that are rural, even if very little of West Midlands (county) is. In my limited experience, however, it's mostly South West England that's rhotic nowadays. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:05, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Your question about the night before Halloween mystified me, Medeis, because I know there was no such question when I did it the first time. Nor were there any questions about drinking fountains or bugs that curl up when you touch them. You have to answer a question before being able to move on to the next one, so I didn't skip any, hence there was obviously some sort of glitch in the software. I tried it again, and this time I find I'm a native of Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Milwaukee, and Providence RI – quite a spread, really. You're off the hook, Medeis. But I still might arrive unexpectedly on your doorstep, so I still expect an appropriate level of hospitality. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:24, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I doubt the second set of results makes much sense, Jack, unless you'd also say you do not distinguish cot and caught or Mary, marry and merry. μηδείς (talk) 01:32, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
But I do distinguish all five sounds, and I answered accordingly. Weird. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 02:20, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
a roly-poly
I though maybe those questions had been left out, since it is Northern and Midwest/Western dialects that lose those distinctions, while the NYC-Philly region keeps them. Perhaps you got roly-poly wrong. μηδείς (talk) 02:41, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Wrong? I don't understand the roly-poly reference. Is that another question I never saw? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 04:26, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Probably. There are more than 25 questions, but you only get asked 25 each time you take it, so each time you take it you miss some questions. The "roly-poly" question is what your usual name for members of the Armadillidiidae family (A. vulgare in particular) is. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:59, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah. Thanks, Angr. (I knew what roly-polies were, btw. But thanks anyway.) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 17:36, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Totally wrong for me. I grew up in and spent almost all of my life in California (though my mother and my father's parents came from Oklahoma), and the quiz gave me Albuquerque, New Mexico, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Jackson, Mississippi. RNealK (talk) 00:28, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
It'll be typical for Americans that western dialects will be less distinct, but the Baton Rouge and Mississippi results do seem odd. What diagnostic criteria did it associate with those cities, if you remember? μηδείς (talk) 01:25, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely spot on. I got New York (went to high school in the Bronx and college in Manhattan; live in Brooklyn currently), Yonkers (born and raised), and Newark/Paterson. For me, the most frightening aspect is that 41% of American think that "tennis shoes" is a general term. —Nelson Ricardo (talk) 06:04, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I got New York, Newark/Paterson, and Baltimore (because of cot/caught for some reason) - since my three years in the States were spent in Manhattan, I would say it's pretty accurate. On the second run, with a lot of different questions, I got Newark/Paterson, Jersey City and New York. (talk) 12:35, 29 December 2013 (UTC)