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Friday, June 04, 2010

ESL Teacher Blog: I Say, You Say - British and American Pronunciation Differences

Do you play noughts and crosses or tick-tac-toe? Wear pants or trousers? Touch wood or knock on wood? Live in UK or U.S.?
 
From grammar and spelling, to vocabulary and intonation, and from idioms to cultural nuances, to punctuation - the differences between British and American English are many.
 
Having had both American and British teachers, gone through American and British books, some students are oftentimes frustrated (they didn’t realize they were learning a particular variety?) and insist you tell them the preferable way (teacher, is it a queue or a line, give a ride or give a lift?) Of course, it’s all their choice and depends on how and where they intend to use the language, but I like to play “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” to highlight the differences in a humorous way.
 
Here's a variation of the song with a different set of words. All the transcriptions are taken from the online Cambridge Dictionary (see below). The challenge is to pronounce the bolded words with a British or American accent.
 
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (A Variation)
 
You say vitamin and I say vitamin,
You say iodine and I say iodine
Vitamin, iodine,
Let's call the whole thing off
 
You like oregano and I like oregano,
You paprika and I paprika
Oregano, oregano,...basil, cilantro
Let’s call the whole thing off
 
But oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart
 
So if you like tiara and I like tiara, I'll wear the tiara and give up tiara
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the whole thing off
Let's call the whole thing off.
 
You say inventory and I inventory,
You say mandatory and I mandatory
Inventory, mandatory
Let’s call the whole thing off
 
You like massage and I like massage,
You collage, and I collage
Massage, collage, massage, collage
Let's call the whole thing off
 
So if you go for paella and I go for paella, I'll order paella and cancel the paella
For we know we need each other so we, Better call the calling off off,
Let's call the whole thing off.
 
I say leisure, and you say leisure, I saw zebra and you say zebra
Leisure, leisure, zebra, zebra
Let's call the whole thing off.
 
I like Parmesan and you like Parmesan,
I say Glasgow and I get Glasgow
Parmesan, Parmesan, Glasgow, Glasgow
Go your way, I'll go mine
 
So if I go for escalope and you go for escalope,
So all right no contest we'll order escalope
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the calling off off,
Let's call the whole thing off.
 
Transcription:

 

UK

US

vitamin

/ˈvɪt.ə.mɪn/

/ˈvaɪ.t ̬ə-min/

iodine

/ˈaɪ.ə.diːn/

/ˈaɪ.ə.-daɪn/

oregano

/ˌɒr.ɪˈgɑː.nəʊ/

/ɔːˈreg.ə.noʊ/

paprika

/ɔːˈreg.ə.noʊ/

/pəˈpriː-kə/

tiara

/tiˈɑː.rə/

//tiˈ-ˈer.ə/

inventory

/ˈɪn.vən.tri/

/ˈɪn.və-tɔːr.i/

mandatory

/ˈmæn.də.tri/

/ˈmæn.də.-tɔːr.i/

massage

/ˈmæs.ɑːd ʒ/

/məˈsɑːd ʒ/

collage

/ˈkɒl.ɑːʒ/

/ˈkɑː.lɑːʒ/

paella

/paɪˈel.ə/

/pɑːˈjela/

leisure

ˈleʒ.ər/

/ˈliː.ʒɚ/

zebra

/ˈzeb.rə/

/ˈziː.brə/

Parmesan

/ˌpɑː.mɪ.zæn/

/ˌpɑːr.mə.zɑːn/

Glasgow

glăs'kō

glăz'kō

escalope

/ˈes.kə.lɒp/

/ɪˈskɑː.ləp/

POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 9:39 PM
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