The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

9:01am on Tuesday, 25th January, 2005:

Down South


When I was a kid, we used to have two words, either and neither, which had different pronunciations depending on how they were used. Either was pronounced "eye the" when referring to a don't-care choice from two, and "ee the" when referring to a don't-care choice from more than two. Thus, if asked a question such as "do you want the hazelnut whirl, the caramel or the montelimar?" and we didn't mind which we had, we'd answer (phonetically) "ee the". Without the hazelnut whirl, it would have been "eye the". We had a similar scheme for "nee the" and "nye the".

It wasn't until I came down South to Essex that I found people didn't understand the "ee the" version. It turns out that it's some kind of obscure Northern dialect, and most other English-speakers say any. They do have different local variations on how to pronounce the words either and neither, just not the different meanings.

Nowadays, I use any, too; it's just too much hassle otherwise. For a don't-care choice between two, though, it's always "eye the"...

Referenced by I am, you are.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).