Thursday, January 19, 2012

Maddening Linguistics Question

OK, this is making my brain itch, and I need your help.

I'm an upper Mid-West transplant, so Southernisms sometimes don't work for me.

My question to the crowd:

When referring to the set of furniture in a given room, is it a "suite" or "suit"?

Example:

"We went to the store the other day and bought a new bedroom suit"

My mind says it's "suite".  But four different Kentucky people, including my lovely and long-suffering wife, say "suit".

Also, when referring to the little shelf that sits at the base of a window, is it a "sill" or "seal"?  Again, several Kentucky people use "seal", while I've always said "sill".

Please help.  It's making my head hurt.

16 comments:

bluesun said...

Well, as a life long westerner, I can authoritatively say that I've never heard of a set of furniture referred to as a suite or a suit, but it is a window sill.

North said...

It is a sill and a suite.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sill

Read through:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couch

North said...

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bedroom+suite


Also, just to make it muddy, the term "three piece suite" is a play on "three piece suit", the former is furniture.

Keads said...

Native NC person here. It IS suite, but I have heard suit used here and in SW VA as well.

It IS sill, you may be running into the accent as well.

Duke said...

It is sill and Suite, It's just the way they pronounce it sounds different.
Like some say crick instead of creek or worsh instead of wash.

North said...

"Like some say crick instead of creek or worsh instead of wash."

Sweet!

Suz said...

Yeah, what everyone else said. Aren't colloquialisms fun?

Jennifer said...

sill and suite.
Also, chest of drawers, not chester drawers.

Les Jones said...

People in East Tennessee say bedroom suit.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

The two answers are "Set of furniture" and "Window sill."

Mad Jack said...

North of the Mason-Dixon line it is:
The window sill.
An airtight seal.
A suit is worn to Church on Sunday.
A suite refers to a series of rooms, such as the Honeymoon suite of the Notell Motel.

South of the Mason-Dixon line:
You might have a windah seal (read sill), which is phonetically identical to the airtight seal referenced earlier.
A suit refers to a collection of furniture and is phonetically identical to the clothing you wear to Church on Sunday.
A suite (sweet) still refers to a series of rooms, such as the Honeymoon suite of the Notell Motel.

Moreover, depending on usage your window might have a sah-eel-al-ah - say it in four syllables.

Y'all unnahstan' nah?

PISSED said...

From New England.. its suite and sill :)

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

Growing up in Bowling Green, I always heard it said "suit", though I always say suite".

And I think people are saying "sill", but the accent makes it sound like "seal".

Somehow I grew up with no accent. I am thankful for this.

Old NFO said...

North got it :-) but it IS pronounced suit... LOL

Auntie J said...

Exactly, Old NFO.

DaddyBear said...

Thanks y'all. I'm pretty good with accents, but these two have just stuck for some reason.

Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at daddybearden.blogspot.com.