Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

If Americans pronounce "herbal" correctly then whats the posessed volkwagen beetle called?

'erbie?

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  • Taivo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There is no such thing as "Standard English". Period.

    In American English, we actually pronounce the word "herb" (and its derivative "herbal") correctly (as opposed to our brethren in Britain, who mispronounce it). The word was borrowed from Old French erbe. The original spelling in English was erbe from the 1200s (when it was first borrowed), but the "h" was added in the 1400s under the influence of Latin "herba" (but still not pronounced until the 1800s). So this word is not an example of "H"-Dropping, but in "H"-Adding because of the spelling.

    The British forgot where the word came from and started pronouncing it the way it was spelled (with an "h") only a couple of centuries ago.

    The name of the volkswagen is a diminutive of "Herbert", another word borrowed from Old French, but from "herbert" in the 1100s. "H" was pronounced in Old French (unlike in Modern French) and this word comes originally from Frankish *hari-berkt (army-bright, compare Old English here 'army', beorht 'bright').

    So Americans pronounce BOTH of these words correctly, quite unlike the Brits. And if you are going to complain about American pronunciation, then what about all those syllable-final "r"s that Brits have somehow forgotten about? "Car" ends in an R!

    British English is NOT the "standard". There is no such thing for the English language.

    LATER EDIT: Suddenly I realized that you hadn't said anything about "Standard English = British English". It was the first answer. That statement, despite its inherent arrogance, is just wrong.

    LATER EDIT: You're forgiven your mistake, JC. You are not alone as an inhabitant of Great Britain in being taught that you are the only true bearers of the torch of English. It's refreshing to meet one here on Yahoo! Answers who isn't afraid to accept that they are part of a larger "English" Empire outside the "British" Empire.

    Source(s): I am a Linguistics professor
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  • JC
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    From the standpoint of Standard English (what Americans call British English) Americans mispronounce 'herbal'. However, back in time, the initial 'h' in lots of words was unpronounced, as in Spanish.

    There are still dialects in England (such as Cockney) where they don't pronounce the initial 'h' in some words.

    In response to Taivo. I was taught that 'British English' is called Standard English, and I didn't realise anyone would take offence to that. After looking it up on Wikipedia, I've found that the term has many definitions. I was actually taught it by my dad, and he falls into the 'Received pronunciation is correct category'. I'm sorry for causing offence; I honestly didn't realise.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Herbie. What's the problem?

    In Hong Kong we had a German friend who drove a beat-up old Beetle. Everyone called him 'Herbie', after his car. Don't know what his real name was, but he took it on good part.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am American but I hate when I hear people say 'erbs intstead of herbs.

    I hate when my teacher tells me to say 'erbs instead of herbs.

    I hate when my teacher tells me to spell "kilometres" as "kilometers".

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  • 1 decade ago

    If you can leave an 's' out of Volkswagen, it should be OK for our American friends to drop an 'aitch'.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Haha very good point, took me ages to understand what 'erbs' were!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    eeeeh what about an american who cooked tom-eight-oes with 'erbs using al-oo-minum in eye-rack. *twitch*

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  • 1 decade ago

    Must be URBIE then they really dont speak english do they

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Is it a Hybred???

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  • 1 decade ago

    VEE DOUBLE-U

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