Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Dispute About The Pronunciation (After listening to “Let's Call The Whole Thing Off”)

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off is a song from the movie ‘Shall We Dance’ (1937). The main characters - Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are dancing on roller skates and they are singing...not only singing but having a dispute about everything that is going wrong.

This is a link to the video on Youtube:

Basically, the song is about misunderstanding and how it may be overcome.

Things have come to a pretty pass
Our romance is growing flat
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that

But it has also a linguistic context. The song presents a difference in the pronunciation of the words:

You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto
Let's call the whole thing off

According to the Wikipedia about this song, the difference in pronunciation reflects not a regional difference in spoken English, it identifies a class difference.

Being a learner of English, I remember that teachers said that either and neither were pronounced differently, but it’s up for discussion. It is a case when spelling the same words could read differently:

You say either and I say either
You say neither and I say neither
Either, either, neither, neither
Let's call the whole thing off

The song has different variations. One of the famous version is here:

The video clip with background sounds from the voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong also includes pictures related to the words in the text.

The conclusion of the song is that the most opposite people become close to each other if they have Love.

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