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Daily Show: Cenac - Bird Like Me

Wyatt Cenac finds an historic black town in Mississippi where birds are revered more than people.

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Before "h" in an unstressed or weakly stressed syllable, "a" and "an" are both used in writing (an historic, a historic) but an is more usual in speech, whether the "h" is pronounced or not. This variation exists as a result of historical development; in unstressed and weakly stressed syllables, "h" was formerly not pronounced in many words as it is currently pronounced by many people. A few words; such as, historic and (especially in England) hotel, are in transition, and may be found with either a or an. Apparently, people may now choose the article that suits their personal pronunciation preferences with several h words.


If you speak and write British English, you can probably keep using an before historical, hysterical, habitual, etc. I doubt that you will be challenged by your own countrymen, and if Americans challenge you, just point out that British usage and American usage often differ.

If you are American, you probably should use a rather than an, even in a historic occasion or a historical reference. Most of us are comfortable with a historic occasion, because the word historic has fewer syllables than historical, so the h is more fully pronounced. But if, like me, you are old enough to find a historical reference a tad uncomfortable, then go ahead and say an historical reference.

When I speak, 'an historic black town' sounds better to me than 'a historic black town'. It's a matter of personal preference. I must be older than you.

Or maybe you're from a different geographic region. My New York friends are all notorious H droppers.

I'm 45, btw. When I was in first and second grade, we had a classroom subject known as "Phonics," and we spent a great deal of time on pronunciation and reading. Under that regime, H's were consonants, except in certain instance like "honor," etc. We also had the alphabet with phonetic markers posted above the blackboard, and it was referenced often. This was in the Chicago area, btw.

I think the letter that gets abused even more often than H is A. For example, where I grew up, "that" rhymed with "cat" and "hat." But I've noticed lots of people who say "thet." Same with "catch," which is often pronounced "ketch." "Flag" and "bag" also rhyme with "cat," according to my indoctrination, but many people, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas and parts of Wisconsin say "baig" or "flaig," which drives me bananas, especially since they also say "baggle" for bagel.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm fascinated with dialects and accents. For some reason, some infractions are more forgivable than others to my mind.

Have you seen this?

I'm 53 years old andfrom New Mexico. I lived in France for six months when I was 18 years old and so I got accustomed to different accents at an early age. My father was an anglo (of mostly English ancestors) and my mother is/was a Tewa, so I was also accustomed to different accents within my own family unit from an early age.

Now was this place always called Turkey Creek or did you change the name to Turkey Creek because nobody would come help when it was called Black People Swamp?


This is actually a REALLY good news piece. Funny of course, but just good news! "Eminent Domain" is so readily abused to use the mechanisms of State to steal from the poor for the betterment of the rich and powerful. Its worse when race is thrown in and far worse when birds are revered more than people.

shakes head

holy shit, i just realized, after all these years, that you guys are complete morons.

i'm not sure where this leaves me, who you all "realized" years ago to be a complete moron.

anyway, what really needs to be said about this clip is that it proves that norm is STILL way ahead of the curve in terms of leftist ideals. he must have realized, somehow, that focusing on birds would lead to the empowerment of the disenfranchised. :)


People need to be offended from time to time. It's not a big deal.
jonathan becker:
you guys are complete morons.
You don't need to take the first quote as your mission statement.

You don't need to take the first quote as your mission statement.

more like an invitation, really.:)

but yeah, sorry about that.

lol Nice video. The Daily Show cracks me up sometimes.


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