From George Orwell - England Your England http://orwell.ru/library/essays/lion/english/e_eye
Basically, missionaries were having a hard time converting Chinese to Christianity, as nobody would listen to them. He started wearing their clothes, and suddenly people started listening to him.
In the UK it's called a 'fillit of fish' and a car with 2 doors (coupe) is called a 'koop-ay' as if there was an accent on the e
EDIT: I am wrong.
The French (which is referenced in that wiktionary article) does, in fact, have the same accent.
I am amazed.
This is why I love HN.
If this is correct then it's not a French word, it's an English word that was long ago inspired by a different French word. So the US pronunciation is a hypercorrection.
I mean, even Americans don't pronounce gullet as "gullay".
What do you a chicken coop with four doors? A chicken sedan.
I was there, too, and I got the same impression as you. What a surprise when I later discovered how warmly welcomed you'll be anywhere else in France!
That's because they mangle their own language awfully enough.
I'm not a native English speaker but I've heard quite a few native Englishmen and their accents are horrible. Received Pronunciation is obviously nice to hear and quite clear, but those local accents... oh my!
I'm not saying that my accent is any better, but at least I try to make my sounds be as close as possible to the actual letters used in the word! :)
This is simply due to the language having been heavily influenced by a host of other - quite different - languages over the centuries, Old Norse and French in particular.
There's also the interesting fact that as the first human language in history English is spoken by more non-native speakers than native speakers. Some linguists say we might very well see some sort of International English that's highly influenced by foreign accents.
In fact there already is such a variety although it's only used by a rather small group of people: The kind of English used by the European Union, its officials and bureaucrats. EU English is littered with bureaucratic expressions, loan words and false friends (particularly from French).
"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
It's actually worse than that. I see that the Great Vowel Shift has been linked to, but it's probably not immediately clear why that was significant.
What happened was that "between 1350 and 1600.... all Middle English long vowels changed their pronunciation". Unfortunately this occurred just as spelling was being standardised, so some spelling was standardised using the old pronunciation (which then shifted) and some with the new.
There is, it's just very complicated (hundreds of rules), as well as accent-dependent, and there are lots of exceptions.
It's the spelling that is irregular.
When you first hear it you think it's a different language.
In fact, it's almost impossible NOT to spontaneously invent a pidgin when there's a language barrier between two people or peoples. When I was in Vietnam, my friends and I adapted our English ad-hoc depending on who we were speaking to. With merchants with very little English, we'd speak only in numbers and yes/no, and maybe say please/thanks in each others' languages. With our tour guides who were much more fluent, we could speak in complete sentences, but still tried to keep things in present tense, and tended to ask questions by using a declarative word order with a rising tone ("we go to the hotel now?").
And we did this all instinctively--it's easy to see how well-defined pidgin languages can arise from this sort of linguistic adaptation between two or more populations.
Na craze talk be dat
However, in the Early Middle Ages English was also heavily and directly influenced by Old Norse because Vikings at that time not only more or less continually invaded the English east coast but also settled and established their own jurisdiction (The Danelaw) there.
So you'd pronounce "ghoti" as "fish" then?
The point is that the "letters used in the word" are a really bad guide to pronunciation of English. They're not consistent across words or the place of the letter within the word. It's just consistent enough to make people think that might be the case.
Then you get placenames like "Loughborough", "Worcester", "Bicester", "Cholmondeley", and "Slough".
> However, linguists have pointed out that the location of the letters in the constructed word is inconsistent with how those letters would be pronounced in those placements, and that the expected pronunciation in English would sound like "goaty"; [ˈɡəʊti].
> Whenever the subject comes up, someone is sure to bring up all the words in -ough, or George Bernard Shaw's ghoti-- a word which illustrates only Shaw's wiseacre ignorance. English spelling may be a nightmare, but it does have rules, and by those rules, ghoti can only be pronounced like goatee.
But it's the only available clue, so people will use it!
This sentiment is very much alive today. I'm always surprised how I seem to be the only person carrying an umbrella in London when it rains. Especially bankers seem to prefer getting soaked.
If you're a banker in London you're inundated with free umbrellas, as they're the gift de-facto on attending any kind of event. Nice, big, very big, very good quality, umbrellas (with said host company's logo).
You're also probably wearing a decent wool suit, and decent wool suits, Super-100s and above, not that expensive, and by design of nature, are completely shower-proof. Not rain-proof, but shower-proof. When getting to the destination, they just need a bash to bounce off any droplets that have stuck to the exterior (don't wipe, doing so will force the droplets into the fabric).
However, my feeling is that the real lunacy here is having very narrow pavements (sidewalks) carrying dozens or hundreds of people while having streets, which might be carrying ten or twenty people along the same stretch of road in taxis (which most cars are in Dublin city centre on a weekday morning), get 8-10x as much space. (I am much more sympathetic to buses).
But then in NYC you develop a much closer "personal bubble" when you have to endure being crammed onto the train like a sardine during rush hour, so in comparison a little umbrella bumping is barely noticeable.
I love this (presumably automatic) characterization from:
"A lot of rain (rainy season) falls in the months: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December."
Yeah, sounds about right.
I mean it rains a bit but reputation for rain is far in excess of the reality if you were to compare it with many north American cities.
Have a look at http://www.worldclimate.com/ to compare. London is pretty dry.
In London, rain is much lighter, but much more frequent and much less predictable. So carrying an umbrella is a must.
I forgot this on my last trip to London. It was sunny when I got on the underground at Heathrow. By the time I got to central London, it was pouring, and I was soaked by the time I had walked to the office.
Coats, hats, and hoodies are much more common than are umbrellas, unless it's raining cats and dogs.
China Mieville - Un Lun Dun
Why isn't driving a car, or any motorized vehicle, similarly seen as a weakness?
Weird, I'm always surprised at how almost every seems to have an umbrella ready to use in London.
I think to really get a representative feel of average London, it's necessary to survey somewhere like Ealing or New Cross.
l'm not gay. Unless you're from Newcastle, and by "gay" you mean "owns a coat".
I walked to work in Portland for two years, and while the streets were normally wet and it had clearly been raining recently, there were only a handful of days where I actually got wet during the half hour I was walking. I never carried an umbrella.
Compare that to England, where the rain will wait until you're a few hundred yards out of your house, then attack from otherwise sunny skies to blast you from dead sideways with that particularly English tiny-dropped dense-yet-light-seeming rain that soaks your clothes completely in two minutes flat. Then it will stop and let you carry on to your destination wet.
You can never leave the house here unprepared.
That's right, it's a constant drizzle, but rarely anything more.
Lived there for just four months, but it was the fall "rainy season", and I barely ever used my umbrella.
Tangentially, most Seattle-lites also didn't understand what I meant when I said Seattle has a lot of drizzle, but it doesn't have rain; growing up in the midwest with midwest thunderstorms, a lot of them didn't seem to understand what I meant by the smell of a storm or the greenish color of the sky as a thunderhead approaches.
We all get prideful for various things, I guess though...I know far too many folk from back in WI who insist they can drive perfectly in any weather, despite having wrecked multiple cars in winters past.
Nothing as bad as my mom's hometown a bit further to the north (Ketchikan).
I have long since matured past that and it seems like within the past decade things have changed a bit here
I almost considered setting up a Tumblr of ridiculously oversized umbrellas at one point, knocking people off pavements.
I used to think that men wore whatever was practical and only women were bound by fashion. This may be true of shoes, but this style of umbrella revealed to me that it isn't true in general. Men (including myself) will eschew practicality for our own fashion. I'll keep carrying my impractical black umbrella for now.
My dad lives in Seattle. I brought him to Japan. Him and my stepmom bragged they didn't need an umbrella when it was raining. Watched them walk into a store and drip on books and magazines destroying merchandise.
An umbrella is a bit of false protection from the rain as well. It's a nuisance to carry so often given that it will save you only from a mild inconvenience on most days. And as often as not it'll end up being a hindrance as you fight it from being destroyed or carried away by the wind.
That will probably sound strange to people not familiar with Seattle, considering Seattle's reputation as a rainy city, but the truth is that in terms of total amount of rain Seattle is not actually a very rainy city.
Here are some cities that have about the same annual rainfall as Seattle (37.7 in), within 10%:
Austin, Texas (34.2 in)
Buffalo, New York (40.5 in)
Chicago, Illinois (36.9)
Dallas, Texas (37.6 in)
Kansas City, Missouri (39.1 in)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (36.5)
I think there are two reasons Seattle gets the rainy label.
1. The Seattle rain is more spread out. Seattle gets its 37.7 in spread out over 149 days. Compare to Dallas which gets its 37.6 over 81 days. The weather stats folks count as day as a rain day if it gets 0.01 in or more of rain.
Seattle's rain is fairly evenly spread among those 149 days. There will be a handful of times each year when there is a brief moment of heavy rain, but for the most part it is a fairly steady light rain.
In most of the other places, it is much less uniform. They get a handful of big rainstorms, and several fairly rainy days, and many "rain days" that are just small amounts.
2. There is no really bad weather in Seattle most of the time. Some of those other cities with similar total rain also like to dump tons of snow on you, or hit you with hurricanes, or temperature extremes.
Take Buffalo. 40.5 in of rain a year, over 167 days. Sounds like a better candidate than Seattle for the title of rainy city (although I haven't looked at the distribution to see if it is spread out like Seattle's)...but Buffalo also dumps 93 inches of snow a year on people. I think anyone cares about rain when they are getting 93 inches of snow.
Putting these together, Seattle has the perfect combination of many days with enough rain for you to think "it's raining", and a lack of anything else that distracts from the rain, so the rain becomes its characteristic weather feature.
So why are umbrellas kind of pointless here? It rains so often that you'd pretty much have to carry the thing with you all the time to keep completely dry. Eventually you'll forget it, and find yourself having to go out in the rain...and you'll find that it is no big deal. The rain is mild enough that unless you are out for a long time you just get a little damp. Damp hair can be a bit annoying, and if you wear glasses those getting wet can also be annoying...but both of those problems can be dealt with by wearing a hat with a brim, and that doesn't require dedicating a hand.
On those handful of times a year when we get an actual intense rainstorm, you can usually just wait it out. They tend to only last a short time, and then go back to the normal mild rain.
That said, the trench coat (All-Weather Coat, Pewter Gray) is very water repellant. And Marines in utilities can wear the Gore-tex or poncho.
I guess it was a very bad thing at the time :D
Umbrellas are pretty effective against rain, and I think it is amusing that they were invented to protect against the sun by providing shade.
Or to take the other angle of it, anything remotely "feminine" is still violently opposed for the modern man at least in the U.S. Although the way I read it, umbrellas were rejected as "feminine" but weren't really allowed for women either.