Author Topic: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread  (Read 841955 times)

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Melle

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8850 on: December 18, 2013, 12:15:57 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8851 on: December 18, 2013, 01:24:52 PM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).

My question about that was always who the heck packs that many clothes to bring along on a three-hour tour?! It always made sense to me that Gilligan, Skipper, and the Professor had the same clothes. The others, though, just blew my mind.

The Howells were embezzlers.  They were planning for a lot more than three hours.  Maryann was their maid, and Ginger?  Well, once you confess to your wife that you're embezzling, having a mistress isn't as big a confession as one would think.
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Betelnut

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8852 on: December 18, 2013, 01:27:14 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

A lot of African Americans pronounce it that way (aunt=taunt).  Sorry, I don't know the answer to your question though!
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Pen^2

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8853 on: December 18, 2013, 01:36:41 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

"Aunt" is an unusual word, actually, because "au" in English is most often pronounced identically to "or", written as ɔː, but in received English it is not a homophone for "ant" at all. Wiktionary lists 6 pronunciations http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/aunt#Pronunciation. The pronunciation varies a lot from region to region, but the most common one in English speaking countries (with the exception of those in North America) is ɑːnt, pronounced the same way as "aren't". In North America, ænt is the most common pronunciation, the same as in "ant".

"Aunt" comes from Latin "amita". In English outside North America at least, pronouncing the "au" as "ar" is generally thought to come directly from the Latin pronunciation. I have no idea why it's pronounced as "ant" in some places, though. It's certainly a more recent thing. It'd be interesting to know how old this newer pronunciation is. Often, "ar" (ɑː) in British English becomes "a" (æ) in North American English, but I've no clue as to why this is.

camlan

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8854 on: December 18, 2013, 04:26:01 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

Where did you learn English? Because the pronunciation of "aunt" varies depending on where you are.

In the US, in New England, a lot of people do pronounce it with the same sound as "taunt" instead of "ant." Especially in the Greater Boston area, there are many similarities in speech with the English spoken in parts of the UK.

I was recently watching a TV show (can't remember off hand what it was) and most of the actors were saying "ant," but one or two were "aunt" all the way. It struck me as odd, because all the characters were supposed to be members of the same family. And you'd think they would all learn the same pronunciation.

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Slartibartfast

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8855 on: December 18, 2013, 04:49:55 PM »
I have one that's been bothering me for years:

How come "aunt" is pronounced "ant"?

Back when I first started learning English, I just naturally assumed the "au" was pronounced the same way as in "taunt" or "flaunt" but I've never heard it actually said that way...

Where did you learn English? Because the pronunciation of "aunt" varies depending on where you are.

In the US, in New England, a lot of people do pronounce it with the same sound as "taunt" instead of "ant." Especially in the Greater Boston area, there are many similarities in speech with the English spoken in parts of the UK.

I was recently watching a TV show (can't remember off hand what it was) and most of the actors were saying "ant," but one or two were "aunt" all the way. It struck me as odd, because all the characters were supposed to be members of the same family. And you'd think they would all learn the same pronunciation.

I actually switch back and forth - "Ant Amy" but "Aunt Sarah."  Sometimes I'll switch even for the same name.  Not sure why, but every time I try to figure it out it's like trying to figure out how fast you're breathing - once you think about it, you can't do it "naturally" anymore!

jpcher

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8856 on: December 18, 2013, 05:48:09 PM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).

Oh, but I think that Skipper and Gilligan's clothes were uniforms. Not naval uniforms, but the uniform of the tour company that they worked for. So I think this is a perfect explanation for them.

Professor? I bet he went on the 3 hour tour straight from work, probably to do some sort of scientific study while on board. If you remember on some episodes the Professor did wear a lab coat and safety goggles. So you can say that he was wearing his work uniform, too.

How's that? Believable enough for your son?


 ;D

KenveeB

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8857 on: December 18, 2013, 06:55:45 PM »
My son asked this, and it wasn't such a "stupid" question, in my opinion:

On Gilligan's Island, why did Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor always wear the same clothes, while the others had many clothes (for a three-hour tour?)?  They aren't really uniforms, after all.  (Sorry if that's too flip a question for the board).

Oh, but I think that Skipper and Gilligan's clothes were uniforms. Not naval uniforms, but the uniform of the tour company that they worked for. So I think this is a perfect explanation for them.

Professor? I bet he went on the 3 hour tour straight from work, probably to do some sort of scientific study while on board. If you remember on some episodes the Professor did wear a lab coat and safety goggles. So you can say that he was wearing his work uniform, too.

How's that? Believable enough for your son?


 ;D

And in earlier episodes, they showed Ginger and Maryann making new clothes out of sails and stuff like that. It was only later that they just had huge wardrobes.

Slartibartfast

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8858 on: December 19, 2013, 02:24:59 PM »
Bechdel test: is it BEK-del, BECH-del, BESH-del, or what?

blue2000

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8859 on: December 19, 2013, 03:03:00 PM »
Bechdel test: is it BEK-del, BECH-del, BESH-del, or what?

The interwebs seem to think BEK-del is correct.
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Melle

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8860 on: December 20, 2013, 05:37:06 AM »
Where did you learn English? Because the pronunciation of "aunt" varies depending on where you are.

It's less of a where than a who, actually. I'm from Germany, but my mom is an English teacher and her best friend at the time I went to elementary school was from London (and often lent me the English Disney VHS tapes she got for her kids, which is how I got started learning the language), both of them spoke English with British accents. My teachers at school, however, leaned more towards "generic" American English. So I grew up with a wild variety of pronunciations. That's also why my accent when I speak English is pretty noticeable, but not the stereotypical German one ;) (people who only heard my voice have guessed that I might be Russian or, which still puzzles me a bit, Indian).

I believe the first time I heard the word aunt was in the movie "The Rescuers" where the villain in one scene refers to herself as "auntie Medusa" and if I'm not mistaken, she actually pronounced it "awn-tee". But in every media or any conversation I've had since with English speaking people it was pronounced like the animal "ant"...

cwm

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8861 on: December 23, 2013, 04:49:21 PM »
The things that run through my head at 11:20 at night, let me tell you...

Perhaps someone of medical leaning can help me out with this. So the spine is divided into several sections. Sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. Why is it that the cervical spine is the highest, and yet the cervix is down near the bottom of the spine? Aren't those words related somehow?

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8862 on: December 23, 2013, 05:06:35 PM »
The things that run through my head at 11:20 at night, let me tell you...

Perhaps someone of medical leaning can help me out with this. So the spine is divided into several sections. Sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. Why is it that the cervical spine is the highest, and yet the cervix is down near the bottom of the spine? Aren't those words related somehow?
oh oh oh! I know this!  Cervix means neck. So cervical vertebrae are in the neck.  The cervix is the "neck" of the uterus.

camlan

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8863 on: December 26, 2013, 02:21:25 PM »
Where did you learn English? Because the pronunciation of "aunt" varies depending on where you are.

It's less of a where than a who, actually. I'm from Germany, but my mom is an English teacher and her best friend at the time I went to elementary school was from London (and often lent me the English Disney VHS tapes she got for her kids, which is how I got started learning the language), both of them spoke English with British accents. My teachers at school, however, leaned more towards "generic" American English. So I grew up with a wild variety of pronunciations. That's also why my accent when I speak English is pretty noticeable, but not the stereotypical German one ;) (people who only heard my voice have guessed that I might be Russian or, which still puzzles me a bit, Indian).

I believe the first time I heard the word aunt was in the movie "The Rescuers" where the villain in one scene refers to herself as "auntie Medusa" and if I'm not mistaken, she actually pronounced it "awn-tee". But in every media or any conversation I've had since with English speaking people it was pronounced like the animal "ant"...

Sounds a bit like me learning German. We lived in Germany when I was very small and I learned a bit of German, with southern German accent/pronunciation. Then in high school and college I had one teacher with a southern pronunciation and two with northern German pronunciations and I got all mixed up on how to pronounce some words.

In general, most Americans say "ant."

I have one set of nieces and nephews who have a dad who says "ahnt" and a mom who says "ant." The oldest child picked up on that at a very young age, and insisted that his dad's sisters be "ahnts" and his mom's sisters were "ants." The kids call us all by the correct pronunciation--it's the adults who get all confused.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

camlan

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #8864 on: December 29, 2013, 02:02:18 PM »
Here's another question.

What's the difference between a weather/storm watch and a weather/storm warning?

I know a weather advisory is the lowest panic level of them all. But the words "warning" and "watch" don't really convey different levels of impending doom, or snow or rain or what-have-you.

So how does the scale go, from lowest to highest?

Advisory
Watch
Warning

or

Advisory
Warning
Watch?
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn