In Chicago, we had a good friend who kept talking about her "french room" and I was finally like what the hell is that. Turns out, it was the "front room."

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Such a fun and fascinating essay! My daughter is taking a linguistic class in college, and I am going to (gonna?) send this to her, because she will enjoy it!

Your bit about the different pronunciations in British and American English made me laugh, because our choir, made up of Swiss women plus me, just had our concert, which featured Motown songs. I had to teach the Swiss ladies to sing the American way--converting t to d and dropping the g from ing, as you note.

Another friend is a different choir, and there are no Americans. They sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and it was pretty funny to hear them articulating the words so precisely (“do you” instead of the American “do ya”) that the rhymes didn’t work.

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I’m a native speaker, but I still had to take a German pronunciation class in college to graduate with my German lit degree. It was completely fascinating. I just never thought about where in the mouth certain sounds happen and how the same sound “feels” completely different across different languages.

I found the example of the “r” in “butter” really interesting.

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