Intended for healthcare professionals

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Feature Christmas 2019: Let it Be

Extraneous vowels and doctor productivity: an international comparison

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 17 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6111

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UK vs. USA

Monolingual but unequal, and fluent but incongruent, British and Yankee accents are metrical opposites. Brits use iambic meter (short-long), while Yanks use trochaic meter (long-short). Take for example, the words "corollary" and "controversy". Brits say co-ROL-la-RY and con-TROV-er-SY, while Yanks say COR-ol-LAR-y and CON-tro-VER-sy. British iambs and Yankee trochees convey accents with both cadence and character. Brits sound cultured, while Yanks sound common, because iambs sound lambent, while trochees sound truculent. Accents are poetic, and prosody is noetic, if not prophetic.

Competing interests: No competing interests

29 December 2019
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA