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Grammar quiz (with prize!)
Posted: 01 November 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Test your knowledge of the famously tricksy English language (and some classic Guardian howlers) with these posers set by our style guru, David Marsh. Here.

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Posted: 01 November 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You have to be a resident of the UK to be eligible for prizes.

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Posted: 01 November 2013 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave Wilton - 01 November 2013 10:33 AM

You have to be a resident of the UK to be eligible for prizes.

Plus there are so many “Britishism” that the answers are next to impossible for this Left-Ponder (Left to ponder without help).

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Posted: 02 November 2013 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Plus almost none of the items have anything to do with actual grammar.

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Posted: 02 November 2013 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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...and it wouldn’t be the Grauniad without a typo in one of their own answer options:

“Illegal” is tautolous because you’ve already said “accused”

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Posted: 02 November 2013 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Speaking of tautologous (which I assume is what they meant)…

I have an affliction that makes me erroneously pronounce such words with a /dʒ/.

I know it is wrong but I can’t help ending tautologous, homologous, analogous etc with /ədʒəs/, probably because of the influence of the nouns tautology, homology, analogy etc.

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Posted: 03 November 2013 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Perhaps there’s a self-help group in your area. I’m sometimes overcome with the impulse to pronounce ‘Montague’ as Mon-TAIG, just for the hell of it, but I usually manage to restrain myself.

It helps if you’re familiar with the Graun’s style guide, which you can find at http://www.theguardian.com/styleguide . I think I know what they want for 3, but any of the answers might fit another publication’s guide. And in 6, it’s the actual mistake they’re presumably after, but ‘still ongoing’ is tautologous.

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Posted: 04 November 2013 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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A while ago Delia Smith [a leading English cookery writer and TV cook, for non-Rightpondians] presented a cookery series in which she persistently and deliberately mispronounced some basic foreign foods, for example saying ‘choritso’ for chorizo and ‘rossties’ for Rösti. This annoyed me so much (hell, even British supermarkets like Tesco credit shoppers with the ability to grapple with foreign pronunciation of basic food, with labels at the deli counter saying helpfully ‘Chorizo - say cho-ree-tho’) that I said to myself “If she’s going to say ‘choritso’ and ‘rossties’, at least be consistent, Why not ‘merringyews’ and ‘awbergynes?’ And once I’d said that, the temptation to go on pronouncing them that way became very hard to resist. Perhaps OP and I should form our own group, Deliberate Mispronouncers Anonymous. Anyone else feel they should join?

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Posted: 04 November 2013 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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she persistently and deliberately mispronounced some basic foreign foods, for example saying ‘choritso’ for chorizo

What makes you so sure it’s deliberate?  There seems to be a rightpondian tendency to use /ts/ for z in foreign words; in Mark Cousins’ wonderful documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey, for example, he consistently says “Mitsoguchi” for Mizoguchi, which irritates the hell out of me, but it’s obviously not a deliberate mispronunciation.  In the US we say “cho-REE-soh,” but of course we have more exposure to Spanish than the average Brit.

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Posted: 04 November 2013 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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In the US we say “cho-REE-soh,” but of course we have more exposure to Spanish than the average Brit.

I’m not so sure about that. I believe the “soh” vs “tho” pronunciation reflects the difference between the Mexican pronunciation vs. the Castilian. I would suspect Brits have more exposure to Castilian Spanish than Americans. It kind of took me back the first time I heard a Castilian say “gra-thay-ahss” as opposed to the more familiar to me “Gra-say-ahss.”

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Posted: 04 November 2013 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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What makes you so sure it’s deliberate?

Everybody who has ever bought groceries or ordered tapas in Spain (and after decades of cheap flights and package holidays that’s a very large slice of the population of Britain) knows how to pronounce chorizo. As I said, supermarket deli counters know how to pronounce it. It simply isn’t credible that a leading cookery writer wouldn’t know; she can only have been taking the view that it was just too hard for the lumpenproletariat to grasp.

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Posted: 05 November 2013 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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You overestimate people’s ability not to hear things, probably because you take an interest in language. But it’s astonishing what people don’t actually hear. In You English Words, John Moore fulminates against someone who mispronounced Aneurin (as in Bevan), although at the time he must have heard the name almost daily; I had a conversation with someone about Leipzig, in which I repeatedly pronounced the place name correctly, and he kept saying it as Leepzig. He wasn’t an idiot, just not noticing what seems impossible not to notice if you’re the sort of person who does notice.

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Posted: 05 November 2013 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Let’s not forget Byron’s Don Juan.

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Posted: 05 November 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Did he pronounce it as in the Human League song?

Speaking of which, that leads me to start a thread…

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Posted: 05 November 2013 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m not so sure about that. I believe the “soh” vs “tho” pronunciation reflects the difference between the Mexican pronunciation vs. the Castilian. I would suspect Brits have more exposure to Castilian Spanish than Americans.

Oh, absolutely, and that’s not what I meant—I wasn’t referring to the -th- (which you have explained admirably) but to the cited -ts- pronunciation and the apparent need to inform shoppers of the correct pronunciation (I have never seen such a sign in an American store).

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Posted: 05 November 2013 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’ve been pronouncing it core-EET-zo, and I now realize that the “ch” should not be a /k/ sound.  (Spanish is not my fuerte.)

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