Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I think I talk good!

My mom cries whenever I (purposely and speciously) use this ungrammatical construction, "I don't got no ...", referring to when I don't have any of something. I guess it is that all that education went to waste. Perhaps it is because of the brand/dialect of American English I speak. Here are the results from the quiz:

Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
35% Yankee
15% Dixie
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern

I always knew I was a Yankee, in spite of my love of grits. Technically, what I speak is the Philadelphia variation of the Midlands dialect. Here is a very technical map of these dialects that only a linguist could love or understand. Here is an even more detailed linguistic map for Pennsylvania. There are maps of the pop vs. soda controversy, and a whole list of regionalisms (spigot for faucet, crayfish vs. crawfish vs. crawdad, aunt as ant or ahnt, and others) with maps.

Obviously I know that the differences in American English shrink into insignificance when compared with the varied dialects of English spoken in the United Kingdom. Those differences birthed the play, Pygmalion, and the musical, My Fair Lady, based on it. With that rich diversity of accents you can have Professor Henry Higgins (or 'enry 'iggins if you prefer) guessing, with a few spoken words, what particular street in London a poor urchin comes from. Pygmalion is also a leading example of the whole trope of taking a poor kid and training them to be a rich one. My favorite from the movies is Trading Places, set in Philadelphia.

Even in the mass media future, how one speaks often remains a signal of where and what socio-economic background from which they come.

(quiz via Metaphor Voodoo)

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