BASILECT

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BASILECT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:42 pm

• basilect •

Pronunciation: bæ-zê-lekt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: The least prestigious variety of language in an area or region, the antonym of acrolect, the most prestigious language variety.

Notes: The politically and economically weakest dialect becomes the basilect, and often vanishes beneath the pressures of the acrolect. The various varieties of Gaelic have become basilects in their regions because they do not offer the political and economic advantages of the acrolect, English. If you want to get ahead in a region with competing dialects or languages, you usually have to acquire the acrolect and lose the basilect.

In Play: The dialect of Brooklyn, New York is often considered the basilect and the English of TV announcers the acrolect. Many Southerners consider their dialect a basilect and try to acquire some northern variety of speech. Both are dialects that we laugh at, the dialects of comedies. In Jamaica, Jamaican Creole is the basilect and Jamaican English, the acrolect.

Word History: The basi in today's word was taken from Latin and Greek basis "foundation, base", implying something at the bottom. Lect goes back to the oldest root we have for "speak", *Ieg-/*log-, which also seems to have meant "gather". We find it in lecture, lexicon (leg-s-icon) and Greek logos "word, idea", the basis of the names of many sciences, such as biology, theology, sociology. But we also get it in Latin lignum "firewood", something that was, in those days, gathered, and Greek legein, which means both "speak" and "gather". (Today's Good Word was among those gathered by M. Henri Day, a senior Lexiterian in our ever-growing Alpha Agora.)
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scw1217
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Postby scw1217 » Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:58 am

Hello - I love your Good Words each day. This one brought many thoughts to mind, esp. in your reference the southern language being a basilect. I am certainly not a scholar, but it seems my lot in life to proofread things. Any job I am hired to perform dissolves into such. That said, it has translated into other parts of my life - the reading of books and magazines, where I catch every error, menus at restaurants, why-oh-why did they put that there?, and lastly the way people talk. I am a true Southerner, being born and raised in the same county I reside in, and having seen (and heard) lots of southern basilect. I often fall into it myself with words like "pilla" instead of "pillow", this particular word being my spouse's favorite dig into my side. However, I decided to make this post to have a little laugh at southern society, where they feel they are so educated (and perhaps they are) but yet Walmart is Walmarts and chicken breasts for dinner are chicken breastes regularly. In fact, I have heard every version of this poor pluralization - from breastes to the forbidden school testes (yes, and that one scared me at the time) to the roastes we were having for dinner. It is good to laugh at oneself. Thanks, Dr. Goodword, for reminding me of my heritage! :lol:

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:28 pm

Welcome, Suzanne! Nice pics, although I haven't had a chance to look at them all.

Speaking of Southern dialects, I was struck this morning by the voice of a spokesman from Vermillion Parish in Louisiana on the FOXNews channel. No trace of a Southern Drawl that I could detect, but a distinct "Lou'siana" style.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video on FOXNews to give an example.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee

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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:24 pm

Welcome, Suzanne! Nice pics, although I haven't had a chance to look at them all. ...
What pics ? Have you managed to get a special pipleline again, Larry ? At any rate, if «Suzanne» is a special codename for scw1217, please allow me to second....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:27 pm

Scw1217, get out of here. Nobody was ever born in Florida with all them senior citizens living there. Unless a certain blue pill...

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!

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Re: BASILECT

Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:13 pm

...

Many Southerners consider their dialect a basilect and try to acquire some northern variety of speech.

...
I understand that in the US military, which for economic and social reasons has historically been dominated by persons from the south of the country, those dialects are the prestige dialects, which recruits learn to imitate in boot camp. Is this indeed the case ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?

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Basilects

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:46 pm

Just remember that the basilect/acrolect distinction is logically bogus. Speaking a regional dialect reflects nothing about intelligence, spirit, or morality. Regional dialects are simply variations in grammar caused by distances--no language is the same everywhere it is spoken. If you feel beset because of your regional dialect, the pressure is social or economic.

Decades ago, I felt impelled to adopt the Northeastern US accent to be taken seriously by my Yankee students. However, it is gratifying to see more and more Southerners elected to the presidency--Carter, Clinton, Bush. It indicates that the perception of our basilect is improving.
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:01 pm

Welcome, Suzanne! Nice pics, although I haven't had a chance to look at them all. ...
What pics ? Have you managed to get a special pipleline again, Larry ? At any rate, if «Suzanne» is a special codename for scw1217, please allow me to second....

Henri
Alas, Henri, it's no special trick, but, as Captain Kirk once said, "You have to understand how a starship works."

Click on the profile button in her post and all will (or should) be answered. :)
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee

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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Sep 28, 2005 5:30 am

Thanks for beaming me up, Larry ! It would seem that I'm still a very junior pilot....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?

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Postby scw1217 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:10 pm

I got this word in my email again this month and had to dig to find the post for it in the forum. I was so surprised to discover I had already commented on it. It's still a great word!
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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:41 pm

And I was just reading your post of years ago.
I too find myself correcting spelling, especially. I enjoy
watching the banner across the bottom of News
programs. All the mis-spellings there are enough to gag
a real lover of words. In books - which I venerate with
great awe - I will still correct in the margin, any misspelled word
I find which the proofreader missed.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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scw1217
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Postby scw1217 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:30 pm

And I was just reading your post of years ago.
I too find myself correcting spelling, especially. I enjoy
watching the banner across the bottom of News
programs. All the mis-spellings there are enough to gag
a real lover of words. In books - which I venerate with
great awe - I will still correct in the margin, any misspelled word
I find which the proofreader missed.
Somebody at this forum called that "proofreader's handicap" for me once, and I have now adopted that term!
Suzanne D. Williams, Author
http://www.feelgoodromance.com

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LukeJavan8
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Not bad, not bad: I like that.
I think I will try to remember it: "proof readers handicap".

I sometimes think I am the one handicapped, however,
seeing all the mistakes must be a "condition" of some sort
and it makes me ill.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:40 pm

SCW 1217
Glad to meet you. Must be nice to be a Floridian. Beck,
who came with me from another 'dead' site is from
Jacksonville. I live in the Frozen Wastes of the Great
Plains and hate every snowflake. Pretty yes, but after
this year: a mess: ice everywhere.

I too love photography. I retired early from high school
teaching (grammar) when the district closed, and I had the
opportunity. Great decision. Not SS age yet, just retired
and keep busy. I joined Cornell University bird watch
(cannot believe I am now a 'birdwatcher'), and we count
birds. Had no idea so many birds of different varieties
wintered in this harsh land. I am forever at my window
taking pictures of the critters.

Also belong to Monarch Watch. Those lovely butterflies
who make the 3000 mile trip to Mexico every year.
I photograph them incessantly when they are here. I grow
four kinds of milkweed (their favorite food) and have
butterfly bushes and other favorites as well.

Tell me: is it possible to post photos on this site??
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby scw1217 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:57 pm

I think we'd best leave the site to its specific activity. But you can email me at scw1217@yahoo.com with whatever photos you like. I am also on Facebook where I post a lot of photos. Just look for Suzanne Williams (in Florida, picture is of my dog, a dachshund). I'm always glad to meet another photographer. :)
Suzanne D. Williams, Author
http://www.feelgoodromance.com


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