I am currently taking a break from Government School and taking a prep class for the LSAT, which I will take in early June. The way the class works is that you take an old LSAT in test-like settings, then have some lessons, then take another test at home in settings as test-like as you can create at home. You can imagine how that goes.
After scoring today's test, finding that it was (despite the decidedly un-test-like conditions of home, and my pencil breaking, and my crankiness at realizing I'd spent three hours of a beautiful day taking a stupid test) ten points higher than my diagnostic test, I decided to celebrate with a beer and some self-congratulatory chattering at Handsome Man, who proctored the test while brewing beer. He interrupted my reverie with what seemed to be an unrelated and totally senseless question.
Staring at my face, he asked, "Can you practice LA with a nosering?"
I assumed I had misheard, and he repeated.
What the hell is la with a nosering? I thought. Is he asking if I can practissla? That is not a word. What is la with a nosering???
I asked him, and he answered with a facial expression that would humble a person being smug about a pretend test score.
"THE THING YOU ARE STUDYING TO DO!" he responded. Or something to that effect.
That's when it dawned on me. Another difference in our accents. In my language, "dog" does not rhyme with "log." "Paunch-o" and "poncho" are pronounced differently. Whereas his dialect is such that hurt feelings have arisen from his misinterpretation of my comments regarding a tent-like garment one wears to keep out the rain.
My fiance pronounces "la" and "law" the same way. When he is singing a song, he might well be singing, "Law, law, law!"
I understand that this is how most Americans speak, and that New Jerseyans are a minority. A loud, nasal minority.
Speaking of things nasal, I have no idea if one can practice la(w) with a nosering. The answer to this question may vary from Portland to the world outside of Portland.