Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Wonderful words and "proper" pronunciation

Today I followed a link to Word IQ and got stuck. Having lived in Finland where so many people speak English so well, I am now really interested in our language. My Finnish friends, for the most part, speak English better than most English speakers do, and it is their second or even third language. So I am under some pressure to get things right. Like most people my age, I know little of the rules of grammar, so correct language is just what sounds right. I'm still learning new things.

For instance, it wasn't very long ago that I learned the difference between less and fewer. Around the same time I finally learned when it was appropriate to use whom instead of who and that sometimes I needed to use me instead of I. And there are still so many bits I'm not sure of (or of which I'm not sure!).

Anyway, the Finns used to tease me about a quirk in my pronunciation that I never realised existed. I would say "droring" instead of "drawing" and I would insert a mysterious "r" between some words: "alpha rover beta", "law rand order". Of course, most Australians do this, but I'd never heard myself saying it.

Well WordIQ have finally provided me with an explanation and a name for this quirk: the intrusive "r". They also have a cool piece on Australian English.