Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sneaked or snuck?

I have always sneaked a peep, so to speak, but I discovered this morning (while hanging around the coffee machine waiting my turn) that there are people who have snuck a peep. For me, that’s just weird.

Our investigative scientific natures take over and many theories are proposed.

'Maybe it’s a young person thing', I suggest. Linda quickly puts an end to that theory ... she uses snuck and even she would admit that she is not one of the young ones.

'Ah', says Craig, 'it must be a British versus Kiwi thing ... Kiwis snuck and Brits sneaked'. We all nod approvingly. Along comes Zac, a Yorkshire man if ever there was one. We pounce expectantly.... 'Zac, what’s the past tense of sneak', we all demand. Without a moment’s hesitation, 'snuck', he says ... and another good theory bites the dust.

There’s nothing for it now ... we all head for Google and discover it’s the American influence again for here’s what the wiktionary has to offer:

'The past and past participle snuck is primarily found in North American English, where it originated in the late 19th century as a dialectal form, and where it is still regarded as informal by some; its use appears to be increasing in frequency and acceptability. It is sometimes found in British and Australian English too. (Cf. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World College Dictionary).'

Oh oh! Poor Zac is mortified…. ssshhh!


Blogger Ms Mac said...

Oh, now that's interesting because I always have the same reaction when I hear dove instead of dived.

And has anyone noticed how Americans (well, some anyway) have changed their pronunciation of Vase from vace to vahz? True, I saw it on telly a couple of times. ;-)

It's all very intersting, if you ask me.

6:27 PM  
Blogger granny p said...

I sneaked a look at this =snuck -yuck (Blogger spell-check agrees too; a disapproving red line appears underneath that 'snuck'.)It sounds very Annie Proux.

Anyway Americans rarely agree - I had a cousin who looked down on 'tomato' as in potato - and said tomARto just like me. Come to think of it why is potato as it even in English English?

4:09 AM  
Blogger Omykiss said...

ms mac .. you're absolutely right about dove

grannyp ... the old tomato/potato controversy, eh!

And what about tuna? Is it tuna as in 'toon' or tuna as in 'tune'?

11:37 AM  
Blogger megz_mum said...

Very tricky, the English language! I listen to a show on the radio occasionally when I am in the car. Can't remember the name of the guest speaker, but he always discusses little anomalies like this one - interesting!

12:10 PM  
Blogger megz_mum said...

Remembered his name! It is Prof Roley Sussex from Qld Uni. He has a website also, and you can ask him language related questions

3:58 PM  
Blogger Omykiss said...

Well thank you megz_mum ... I love the way different people use english ... it is very interesting.

5:32 PM  
Blogger PI said...

I would sneak a peek - but then I'm from Lancashire.
Ms Mac mentions the same anomalies that puzzle me.
I wonder what Michele thinks?

5:51 PM  
Blogger Omykiss said...

hi pi ... 'sneak' in Lancashire and 'snuck' in Yorkshire ... oh dear!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

well this St Helens lass has sneaked from time to time, but never such word in English ...if jane austen hasnt used it it doesnt exist...!

12:38 AM  
Blogger Omykiss said...

hi rosie ... welcome to the growing ranks of those who have 'sneaked' ...

11:55 AM  

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