helen-louise (baratron) wrote,
helen-louise
baratron

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Do you know what a fortnight is?

Huh. So, a web forum I go to has had an influx of clueless newbies, and as a result registration has been disabled for a fortnight. Cue lots of posts in the one forum that's open to guests asking what a fortnight is. Lots of speakers of American English claim they've never seen the term used, except in specifically British things like Monty Python. The rest of us are boggled. So here is a random poll to find out more.

Poll #1046987 Random fortnight poll

Do you know what a fortnight is?

Of course - the term is used here all the time!
60(53.1%)
Yes, but it's not used in the part of the world where I live, I've only seen it on British TV/read it in books.
52(46.0%)
No, but I can work it out from context.
1(0.9%)
No, I have no idea.
0(0.0%)

I am from:

UK
35(30.7%)
Ireland
0(0.0%)
USA
57(50.0%)
Canada
6(5.3%)
Elsewhere in Europe
2(1.8%)
Australia or New Zealand
4(3.5%)
A Commonwealth country not already mentioned
1(0.9%)
Some other country
1(0.9%)

Note that the "country" boxes are check boxes, enabling you to select multiple countries if, for example, you grew up in one country and now live somewhere else. I've separated out the US and Canada because I think Canadian English tends to be influenced by British English, but left Australia and New Zealand together because I simply don't know many people from either place. I'm not sure the poll is wonderfully comprehensive or offers all options, so feel free to continue in comments. A better way of asking about location might be to ask what flavour of English you think you speak (British, Irish, US American, etc), but I'm not sure whether people would find that easy to answer, or how many of us on the internet speak only one dialect.

I believe the people on my friends list are an unusually literate lot, so this is something of a biased sample. Feel free to link to the poll from your own journals to get a wider sample.
Tags: language, random pollthing, uk
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  • Bits and pieces make a post

    Last night I dreamt that I was a werewolf and that my father was the Alpha of our pack, that he got kidnapped and I had to invoke the magic of the…

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    I'm feeling less awful than I was a couple of weeks ago. I've got my exhaustion under control now, I think. But I ran out of one of my…

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    Have some links: Slate.com: The Snarky, Clever Comments Hidden in the "Acknowledgments" of Academic Papers. A few days later, this article appeared…