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How to recognise irregular English with Buffalo Springfield

Today you are, with the help of Buffalo Springfield, going to see how to recognise irregular English. This band, who were individually very creative, never really made it together as a band.

Here are the things we are going to look at with this blog post:

  1. Who the band were
  2. Shortened forms
  3. Exercise #2
  4. Incorrect spelling
  5. Other things you can learn from this album

Let’s see, who they were.

Who Were They?

The band comprised of:

  • Stephen Stills
  • David Crosby (formerly of the popular American band The Byrds)
  • Richie Furay, a friend of Stills
  • Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Neil Young.

what is irregular english?

Irregular English can be many different things from using incorrect spelling to things like incorrect grammar. There are some parts of the English-speaking world that use irregular English. For example, in some parts they use incorrect grammar. Even state officials, such as Donald Trump in the USA, have used irregular English.

So, now we know who they were and what irregular English is, I’d like you to actively listen to this first song and identify the irregular English use.

Did you hear the use of irregular English? If not, here are the lyrics to the song.

shortened forms

Within this one song, there is an irregular use of English. Stills starts by saying: ‘There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear’. Ain’t is an irregular form isn’t or is not. The sentence should be the following: ‘There’s something happening here, what it is, isn’t exactly clear’.

The first track, the band’s only big hit, has a mellow sound. Stills’ Texan voice compliments the beautiful electric guitar. Finally, Richie Furay’s backing vocals round the song off perfectly.

exercise #2

This song, as you will hear, also has one example of an irregular use of the English language. Before I tell you what it is, listen to the song and try find the irregular use. Here is the song ‘Hot Dusty Roads’:

Did you find the problem in the song? For those of you who didn’t understand everything, here are the lyrics to find that irregular use. It was a double negative.

In English, the negative can be applied either to the verb or the noun/adjective in one sentence, but not to both.

Here is the correct use of the negative:

  • don’t tell tales. Which means: usually, in general.) I don’t tell any tales. (Which means not even one tale.)

Or:

  • I tell no tales.

However, it is incorrect to say, as Stills says:

  • ‘I don’t tell no tales about no hot dusty roads’.

To avoid the double negative you need to use any instead of no.

incorrect spelling

Finally, the song ‘Burned’ also uses incorrect spelling, which is a form of irregular English. Read the lyrics while listening to the song and write down the incorrect spelt words. Alternatively, you could highlight the incorrect spelt words. Here is the song:

Well done to you if you found the incorrect spelling of words. For those of you who didn’t find the examples, here they are:

  • comin’ instead of coming
  • runnin’ instead of running
  • confusin‘ instead of confusing
  • losin’ instead of losing

Here are the lyrics to the song.

is there anything for lower level learners?

Yes! There is! Lower level learners can also a few things from this album. Here are just a few examples:

  • present continuous – used for actions that are happening at the time of speaking or around now
  • present perfect – used for actions that started in the past and have a connection with the present
  • rhyming pairs – there are numerous examples of rhyming pairs in the ‘Pay The Price’

As you can see, this album will help you recognise irregular English. It will also help lower-level learners to improve your English as well.

Listen to this album and comment on what you learnt from it.

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    Vocabulary list for Buffalo Springfield

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