The Extended World of Pillars vs Pillers

In some parts of the U.S.A. – that is to say those where an “egg cream” is not served at diners – the local accent may make it difficult to distinguish between hold-up-your-house pillars and hold-up-you-head pillers.

In the same fashion, I imagine that up England-way, they are constantly wondering why gods are employed to protect buildings from intruders.

What other duo of words have you discovered to have the same affliction?

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It’s not pronunciation-based, but I’ve always wondered if the word “debugger” has a special significance to British programmers.

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This is a… really deep discussion, Maaaan. Too deep for me.

The closest I get is total agreement with Jim Gaffigan’s statement that a muffin is just a bald cupcake.

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My wife is from SW Virginia. There is zero distinction between when she says “pen” and “pin”. Same deal with “ten” and “tin”.

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I’m from Maryland where water is pronounced wooder. And I originally hail from western Pennsylvania so don’t even get me started on y’all vs that west PA staple yinz.

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Glances around nervously "Is there supposed to be a distinction?

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I was probably 12 when I realized the words “aunt” and “ant” should not be pronounced exactly the same, despite the fact that everyone around me in Northern California was doing just that.

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When I first moved out to the DC-MD-VA region, I embarrassed one of my Maryland (but not Baltimore) colleagues by having to ask what “wuhder” was. I think what threw me was that other than that one word, I couldn’t really distinguish any other accent.

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“Pitcher” and “picture”.

Oh, and I can’t tell you how much flak I got when I was in Toronto for how I pronounce “root”. I was told it was just like “rut”. However, there is a difference in my mind between those words. It’s just not as prominent as it is for other people. In a similar way, “roof” and “ruff”. Again, I would claim that I pronounce them differently but my Toronto friends argued that I said them the same way.

And perhaps that brands me as a hick, but I will say that the word “root” came up in my Greek class when we were talking about various forms of ancient Greek verbs. So that might up my educational status just a tad. :nerd_face:

Is “pillers” a Midwesternism? I’ve never heard anyone called that before.

I think it’s 19th century Old Coot.

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Well, consarn it!

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As a youth, I read Boys’ Life magazine (Oh, Webelos Woody, you thick-headed rascal!). Once they had an article about regional dialects where they claimed that people in Philadelphia prounced “stairs” as “stars.” I live in the Philly area, and I have never, EVER heard anyone pronounce it stairs.

It’s amazing how many Americans can’t understand the word water in an English accent. It’s not just one particular region, either. Last time we were there I had to translate just that one word for my wife all the time. That and the word corndog. Apparently complete gibberish in an English accent.

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In France, the money is said as a gargle.

A fun one Eddie Izzard and Trevor Noah have both pointed out is the pronunciation of the last letter of the English alphabet. In the US, it’s correctly pronounced “zee,” but the UK and Australia mispronounce it “zed.”

I don’t have a regional accent despite growing up in Indiana and neither does my wife, but when she was younger, she did say “meant” and “mint” the same way (both like the former) and she used to say “melk” instead of “milk” too. She’s grown out of it though.

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I don’t know really what to call it,my grandparents are from the south but the family settled in Michigan. Certain things were said like “jeet?” meaning “did you eat?” I’m trying to think of some others.

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Piller is the hold up your head kind that Tom Servo wondered about how people didn’t get it mixed up with the hold up your house kind.

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