Friday, 18 April 2014

Language Nerdery II


I know this is supposed to be all in good fun, and I suppose it might make some people take more care with their spelling, but these chirpy little captions are all over the internet and boy, do they bring out the curmudgeon in me. (He's never far below the surface, I admit.) First off, 'your' and 'you're' don't sound similar, they sound identical in connected speech, even if some people differentiate the citation forms. This explains the frequent confusion in spelling, and it's spelling that's the issue here, so the comparison with a potential but improbable pronunciation error is way off beam. 'Catastrophe' is stressed on the second syllable with the first 'a' and the 'o' reduced to schwa, and in the unlikely event that you would ever need to use the term 'cat ass trophy', you'd stress the first syllable of 'trophy' and give 'cat' and 'ass' a full vowel. Let us have a few seconds' choral drilling:

Catastrophe: oOoo
Cat ass trophy: ooOo

Catastrophe: oOoo
Cat ass trophy: ooOo

You see?

So writing 'your' when you mean 'you're', or vice versa, is absolutely nothing at all like screwing up the stress pattern on 'catastrophe'.

Happy Easter.

3 comments:

CJB said...

As a bollocky South African, I pronounce 'your' and 'you're' differently. ' your' like 'yaw' and 'you're' like 'ewer'. But that still doesn't make it a stress pattern error. People are so irritating. I'm getting to the point where just about everything makes me wild with rage......at least I still care, I suppose.

Vilges Suola said...

I didn't take regional differences into account - should have thought of that. But still, I do wish people would put a bit more thought into language matters.

Vilges Suola said...

I'd have thought, though, that in connected speech 'your' and 'you're' both get reduced to /jə/ in pretty much any variety of English?

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