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    #1

    debris or litter

    "I recently witnessed someone disposing of her recyclable materials in one bin and her garbage in another. It's not hard. But to keep the country clean from debris, this kind of care and attention is required from everybody."

    Would you use debris or litter in this context?

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    #2

    Re: debris or litter

    Definitely litter, if for no better reason than a lot of people will have no idea what debris means.

    If they take the trouble to look it up they'll find it usually refers to building rubble or rocky fragments which they don't commonly throw away on a daily basis.

    Rover

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    #3

    Re: debris or litter

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Definitely litter, if for no better reason than a lot of people will have no idea what debris means.

    Rover
    I wouldn't be refering to disposable bottles or garbage either. I would use "debris" if I were talking about a construction site or factory in terms of small fragments of something bigger?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: debris or litter

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I wouldn't be refering to disposable bottles or garbage either. I would use "debris" if I were talking about a construction site or factory in terms of small fragments of something bigger?
    In a construction site I would say 'rubble'.The main use I've heard for 'debris' - in Br English - is in the context of outer space!

    Note, on the subject of this word, the Br Eng pronunciation is /'debri:/. I'm not sure of the phonemes in Am Eng, but the stress is on the second syllable.

    b

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    #5

    Re: debris or litter

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    In a construction site I would say 'rubble'.The main use I've heard for 'debris' - in Br English - is in the context of outer space!

    Note, on the subject of this word, the Br Eng pronunciation is /'debri:/. I'm not sure of the phonemes in Am Eng, but the stress is on the second syllable.

    b
    That's what Merriam-Webster's dictionary says "the second syllable".

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: debris or litter

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    That's what Merriam-Webster's dictionary says "the second syllable".
    So, the American MW agrees with Bob about AmE. It must be right.
    The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary 83% agrees with Bob about BrE, so it must be 83% right.

    According to LPD polls, 83% of speakers of Br stress the first syllable, 17% the second. Interestingly c. 95% of older speakers of BrE stress the first syllable, but only c. 77% of younger speakers, suggesting that eventually we will all place the stress on the second syllable.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: debris or litter

    83%'ll do for me I agree that a lot of American English traits are coming into Br Eng via younger speakers, but I think it's an oversimplification to say* 'We'll all end up speaking Am. English'. What we all end up speaking will be something widely understood, but there'll be strong regional variations - as there always are with a widely spoken language.

    b

    PS Re-reading this I see that it could be thought that I'm accusing Jed of making this oversimplification. What I meant was that people who say things like that (and there are some) are oversimplifying
    Last edited by BobK; 23-Mar-2011 at 17:47. Reason: Added PS

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