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Language, idioms and dialects.

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Lionne posted 11/2/2013 20:33 PM

This has always interested me. I love the evolution of language, the fact that language changes, grows, adapts. I enjoyed the Ebonics debate, finding merit in both sides, and, as the teacher of beginning readers/writers had to develop a usable philosophy to deal with what I called "kid-spelling" allowing kids to use creative spelling to get their complex ideas onto paper even if they didn't yet have the skills to spell properly. (We dealt with spelling and grammar issues in an editing step)

I've been confused/annoyed/intrigued by the replacement of the word "asked" and "ask" by "axed" and "axe." What I discovered is interesting. It's not JUST dialectic, it's also a historical use, ascean/acsean used interchangeably and apparently being the root of ask. One site I looked at suggested that the words ask/ ax were used by different groups even in the Middle Ages.

I'm not a linguist but I found this interesting. It also may discount some racial stereotypes...

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 8:33 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

authenticnow posted 11/2/2013 20:59 PM

I taught elementary school in the days of inventive spelling and what was called in NYC "The Writing Process". It was interesting. Ebonics was also being debated in the schools, though it never took off.

As far as axed...we grew up in Brooklyn and H grew up saying it but I didn't. A lot of people from Brooklyn and the Bronx say ask that way. I don't know if it was more of him being a tough guy, street kid type and I was a nerd, or the fact that half his family is Italian . Or, maybe he's reincarnated from the Middle Ages!

I know it rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but I find it to be part of his charm.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 9:00 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

Dark Inertia posted 11/2/2013 21:31 PM

I just read this fascinating article on Cracked:

Sad in AZ posted 11/2/2013 21:58 PM

There was a PBS documentary some years ago call "Do You Speak American". It was so interesting; I'd love to find it again.

One of the funniest parts was that when asked which accent sounded the most uneducated, it was a tie between Southern and New York City.

ETA: Revised because I don't know what I'm talking about --corrected the name of the show.

[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 10:31 PM, November 2nd (Saturday)]

NotDefeatedYet posted 11/3/2013 01:01 AM

Go to YouTube and look for a channel called mental floss. There is one video where they show words that are specific to areas of the United states, and another showing how words mean different things around the world. Very interesting stuff.

Williesmom posted 11/3/2013 02:05 AM

I'm in my own microcosm of linguistics here in western pa. I don't think I have an accent, but I've had people in other parts of the country comment on it.

travels posted 11/3/2013 07:47 AM

I'm with you, Williesmom. I don't think I have an accent. Yet, when I was in Alaska this summer I met a woman who was formerly from SWPA. She said I had an accent.

[This message edited by travels at 7:47 AM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

Williesmom posted 11/3/2013 08:29 AM

Travels- years a go, wxh and I were at the Grand Canyon. Someone stopped us and asked where we are from.

When we told him, he said " I get people from all over the world here, and I've never heard that accent before. Now I see why people talk about it." Then, he made us talk some more. It was hilarious!

Cabrona posted 11/3/2013 08:47 AM

Having "no accent" in the US generally mean you sound like a newscaster and they try for a midwestern w/no twang sound.

Interesting enough it turns out I speak my spanish with a BRAZILIAN accent because I learned to speak portuguese in Brazil before living here, and this makes me very happy that I don't sound like the typical gringa

Rebreather posted 11/3/2013 09:23 AM

Last year I was sitting in the left bank in Paris at a bar talking to my spouse and the woman next to us stops her conversation and leans over to say, "excuse me, are you from Nevada?" we were all "uhhhh yes, how did you know?" and she says, "your accents." Really shot to hell the theory that people in the west don't have accents!

circe posted 11/3/2013 10:01 AM

As far as ask/ax - to me it's not a racial stereotype so much as a regional mispronunciation, along the lines of nuclear being pronounced Newk-yuh-ler. When I lived in the south, both "ax" and "newk-yuh-ler" were common across several races and ethnicities. I think it's just that you repeat what you hear, whether in accent, pronunciation or idiom.

I grew up in a major city whose inhabitants can apparently be traced to the neighborhood, based on our accents! I haven't lived there in 25 years, and my family hasn't lived there in 15 years so I haven't even visited that area in all that time - and my accent has (to most ears) disappeared completely. Yet still sometimes I'll encounter someone who can place the neighborhood where I grew up from a single word that exited my mouth wrong. Usually this happens when I'm tired or have had a drink or two.

Hey you guys in Western PA - do you guys say "wooder" for "water"?

circe posted 11/3/2013 10:07 AM

I forgot, one thing that always strikes me when I watch BBC series on Netflix. A lot of times they have an "American" character and sometimes they have an actor who does a really good accent, and other times I would have NO IDEA they were supposed to be the "American" character if the subtitles didn't have: [American accent] written before the dialog. It just sounds like a British person talking with a British accent to me. But apparently it's their American accent.

Which always makes me think what a true talent it is for actors to be able to maintain a good foreign accent throughout a movie or TV show. Like Hugh Laurie in House, or Emma Thompson in many different movies. If a native speaker can't detect any foreign accent, it's pretty impressive!

Lionne posted 11/3/2013 10:51 AM

Well, "water" is "wooder" in my area, South Jersey. But we don't have the strong, so called "Joisy" accent one hears on TV, that's more NY, and we also don't have the Philly accent, unless you count the many transplants that have moved here. My father was an immigrant, Yiddish his native language, added many syllables to words, Elm became Elem, for instance.
We also live near the Pine Barrens, rural America, and there are many words/phrases/pronunciations that are common in other rural areas.
And, apparently, "axed"isn't a mispronunciation, but an alternate, or a dialect difference. THAT'S what I found so interesting about that.

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 10:54 AM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

jrc1963 posted 11/3/2013 14:11 PM

My stepdad grew up in Chicago and always said "warsh" for wash.

That's one example I can come up with.

I've been told I say "Rock" like a Michigander... "Rooock" With real emphasis on the ock sound.

I don't hear it.

And having lived in the "South" (Florida's not really the south... too many transplants from all over...) I can do a decent Southern twang if I want to.

mom of 2 posted 11/3/2013 15:41 PM

I just read this fascinating article on Cracked

I LOVE! Check it almost every day.

Go to YouTube and look for a channel called mental floss. There is one video where they show words that are specific to areas of the United states, and another showing how words mean different things around the world. Very interesting stuff.

Found it and very interesting. Watched other mental floss videos too. Thank for sharing!

Sad in AZ posted 11/3/2013 15:52 PM

I worked in South Dakota for a while. I was told that call centers were looking to relocate there because it was the only place in the US without a discernible accent.

I've been asked what part of the Bronx I'm from I'm a cross between the LI Medium (when I'm tired) and Ed Koch (when I'm explaining something)

Williesmom posted 11/3/2013 18:29 PM

We do not say wooder for water in western pa.

InnerLight posted 11/4/2013 21:53 PM

My SO is from Arkansas and pronounces 'pen' as 'pin'. His co-worker is named Jenny but for months I though he was saying 'Ginny'. He also eats a 'Sammich' for lunch.

I've moved a lot but I'm mostly from the Northeast. I don't think I have an accent.

As a kid I lived in England for 5 years and when I returned in 6th grade I had a blended US / UK accent, neither one nor the other. I remember sweating bullets reading aloud in class and trying to figure out how to say 'quarter' and soften the 'T' sound into a swallowed 'D' sound like Americans do. I mastered it within a year.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 9:55 PM, November 4th (Monday)]

Dark Inertia posted 11/4/2013 22:28 PM

My SO is from Michigan, and I swear some of the things he says sounds ever so slightly off to me. I have heard the same weird accent from his friends and parents (all of them having long roots in Michigan). The words that stick out to me are "mom" which he pronounces as an ever so slight "mam" and the word car, which has a similar sound to it. We took an accent test once, and mine came back mid western and his was "inland north", which apparently is a slight shifting vowel sound.

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