Accents in Am. English

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jun 14 00:33:11 UTC 2000

That's a purty good California story, but ours doesn't even involve a
tilde. My wife and I were driving behind a bus (up Telegraph Hill as I
recall), when the ad on the back of the bus (in all caps) which announced


attracted our attention.

Now, we are both fair to middlin' speakers of both Spanish and English, but
since the sign was all in caps and since we were not "plugged in" to
Spanish, we both wondered how a transitive verb could be used
intransitively. "The United States condones what," we wondered? A
millisecond later, we looked at each other, and, amazingly, (but we have
been married for a long time), started singing (to the tune of "De
Colores") "Usa condones' ("use condoms," for them of you who don't do

It's pert nigh my favorite bilingual story.


>Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> Also, Canada (college name in California) should get a tilde so people know
>> not to pronounce it like the country.
>That reminds me of when I used to live in Los Angeles, and drove past a
>sign that read something like:
>                            "LA CANADA HIGHWAY"
>which I thought was the "Los Angeles to Canada Highway". Took a while to
>it was "La Can~ada" (Sp. "the gully").
>                                                    -----Warren Brewer.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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