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Dialects

A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).

Dialects

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:36 pm

A new book excerpt on today's Delancey Place actually contradicts Dr Goodword! In fact, he has written a whole book maintaining that modern American dialects are becomming more, not less, diverse.

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com ... 7fNg%3D%3D

Re the comment on New Orleans accents, I can still recognize it when I go to NOLA. I hear it, and I ask the perpetrator whether they are native, and always get either a yes or that they arrived early in life. It's subtle, but clear once you recognize it.
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Re: Dialects

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:06 pm

The reference is a mapping of different terms and pronunciations as they vary across the USA. I didn't find any surprises here and I believe them to be current. This does not address the larger question of changes in changes in what we say and how we say it.

http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps- ... ica-2013-6
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Re: Dialects

Postby Slava » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:16 pm

If I understand correctly, dialects and regionalisms are pretty much the same thing. What I'm wondering is how far apart do you have to be to get to a dialect?

I say potayto, you say potahto type thing.

Is sherbet pronounced with two rs?

Coupon - coo or cue?

Soda vs. pop.

Etc.
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Re: Dialects

Postby Slava » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:33 pm

As an add-on to my last post, here is a wonderful piece from The Atlantic. A series of maps of the regional variances in words we use:
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... ps/276603/
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Re: Dialects

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:08 am

We have discussed the word dialect before. It is a hard word to pin down. I recently mentioned the propaganda value of the word in the discussion of the Good Word “chow”. The Chinese would have a dialect be almost any language variation that suits their purpose. Before long they may discover that Tibetan is actually a Chinese dialect.

Here is a pretty typical definition. Dialect - A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a way of speaking that differs from the standard variety of the language. http://grammar.about.com/od/d/g/dialectterm.htm

That is not a lot of help but does rule out the Chinese use of the word.
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Re: Dialects

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:22 am

Slava: The reference you gave from "The Atlantic" is the same as the one I gave from "The Business Insider".
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Re: Dialects

Postby Slava » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:04 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Slava: The reference you gave from "The Atlantic" is the same as the one I gave from "The Business Insider".
Oops. Sorry about that. I must have had a brain blip. :(
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Re: Dialects

Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:18 am

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
Dialect
A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: Cockney is a dialect of English.
SYNONYMS:
dialect, vernacular, jargon, cant2, argot, lingo, patois

These nouns denote forms of language that vary from the standard. "Dialect" usually applies to the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation characteristic of specific geographic localities or social classes. The "vernacular" is the informal everyday language spoken by a people. "Jargon" is specialized language understood only by a particular group, as one sharing an occupation or interest. "Cant" now usually refers to the specialized vocabulary of a group or trade and is often marked by the use of stock phrases. "Argot" applies especially to the language of the underworld. "Lingo" is often applied to language that is unfamiliar or difficult to understand. "Patois" is sometimes used as a synonym for "jargon" or "cant," but it can also refer to a regional dialect that has no literary tradition.
Regionalism
A feature, such as an expression, a pronunciation, or a custom, that is characteristic of a geographic area.

In other words, "dialect" refers to a collection of features utilized by a speech community, and community can be defined geographically or by other criteria. On the other hand, "regionalism" refers to a specific feature found in a geographical area.
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Re: Dialects

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:30 pm

I suspect many of those synonyms overlap. Writers are taught to avoid repeating the same word in close proximity to its last use. That can result in using synonyms with differing connotations to avoid repetition and thus dilute connotations. Speakers are also encouraged to do likewise, but this is more likely when speaking from a script. However, this has become so ingrained, I often switch terms (note sub for "words") in coversation for variety. In such a case, having once said "dialect" I would more likely sub "jargon" or "accent" or some such.
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