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No one speaks english anymore??

 
 
Mayayana
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      03-18-2013
| >students seemed to be mainly from California. I only had one
| >acquaintance who was a Tucson native and she had no
| >discernible accent.
|
| You do understand what "no discernible accent" means,
| right?
|

It's not what you mean. I grew up in Boston. I hear Boston
accents very distinctly. What I mean by no discernible
accent is the generic, midwestern accent without a twang
that I described as typical of college graduates.

It would be interesting to know the details of why that
accent seems so neutral. The only thing I can think of is
that it involves moderation in emphasis. (Sure becomes
sho[r]e in New England, shooer in the Midwest, and shirrr
on the west coast. There's a progressive compression of
vowels and emphasis on consonants. Different styles, but
the Midwest comes closest to what the letters actually
spell out.)


| Perhaps I should have put more emphasis on the fact that
| I was taking about *regional* accents. There can of
| course also be differences between classes, but that
| isn't a regional accent either.
|
| > In my experience they're nothing but. Anyone who goes to
| >colllege these days comes out with an Ohio-style, neutral
| >accent. It's become the mark of culture.
|
| It actually has very little to do with a college
| education, and has a great deal to do with the ubiquity
| of television exposure to young children.
|

I think there's probably some truth in that. There's also far
more moving around than there used to be, which dilutes
local culture. But I don't think it's so clearcut. (I'm one of
6 brothers. Two of us have Boston accents and four don't.
TV? We watched a lot of the Beverly Hillbillies, Andy of
Mayberry, the Honeymooners, and Groucho Marx growing up.
Heavy accents, all.

Tony thinks I'm exaggerating. I do live in a big city with a lot
of colleges and a lot of non-locals, so I suppose my experience
is atypical. Midwesterners come to the coast for culture. There's
no such exodus in the other direction. So I'm surrounded by a
large number of Ohioan college students.

But I have seen a pattern, nevertheless. People who go to
college -- and anyone who consciously strives to be
upwardly mobile -- works to eliminate regional accent. It makes
them sound educated. We can't help making those judgements.
Just as we can't help overestimating the intelligence of many
Brits due to their refined enunciation and general tone of
confidence.

When I was young I once rented a room from a couple with
a toddler. We were all baby-boomers in our 20s, from middle class
backgrounds, having grown up in the Boston area. The couple
wanted me to minimize my speaking with the toddler because
they had big plans for him and didn't want him to grow up with
an accent.
... Baby Einstein ... Preschool taught by PhDs ... Sheryl
Sandberg scolding women for not aiming to be top executives...
That's all part of a general trend away from valuing a middle
class and toward an idealized notion of exceptionalism as the
ultimate goal in life. For the most part, people simply do not
live with that worldview and also have a regional accent, because
others *do* judge such accents. You may prefer not to see it
that way, but denial of classism is actually part of the worldview
of the educated classes in the US. (As opposed to the UK, where
classism is savagely blatant.)

As with accents, such people also tend to lose regional and
historical idioms. The social climbers switch from local idioms
to whatever fashionable keywords the educated classes are
currently using to indicate a highbrow sensibility: "absolutely",
"having said that", and any technical-sounding
latinization of normal language: "Grow your company by leveraging
social media implementations to monetize relationships"
instead of "Buy your Facebook ads here!" (Though an interesting
exception to that is the adolescent slang that's become acceptable,
such as the use of "cool" or "I am so not going". With literacy so
low among college graduates, I guess the language of the official
intelligentsia is bound to be a bit quirky.)



 
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Mayayana
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      03-18-2013

| >| You do understand what "no discernible accent" means,
| >| right?
| >|
| >
| > It's not what you mean. I grew up in Boston. I hear Boston
| >accents very distinctly. What I mean by no discernible
| >accent is the generic, midwestern accent without a twang
| >that I described as typical of college graduates.
|
| But that is *not* a lack of an accent. It's just one
| specific accent.

If you say so. It's cultivated because it's perceived as
lack of accent. It's not an accident that news announcers
are not trained to speak with a southern drawl or a Down
East accent.

| > But I have seen a pattern, nevertheless. People who go to
| >college -- and anyone who consciously strives to be
| >upwardly mobile -- works to eliminate regional accent. It makes
| >them sound educated. We can't help making those judgements.
| >Just as we can't help overestimating the intelligence of many
| >Brits due to their refined enunciation and general tone of
| >confidence.
|
| That's a matter of perspective. I spend a lot of time
| teasing, and being teased by, a couple of Brits. We all
| realize that there are many accents in the UK and there
| are many accents in the US. None of them represents the
| definitive accent for either. And nobody lacks an accent,
| by definition.
|

How graciously multicultural of you. But I think you're trying
hard to deny the obvious fact that we all judge accents. Why
do you suppose Downton Abbey is such a big hit with the
highbrow Anglophiles who fund PBS? Those people wouldn't be
caught dead watching a US soap opera, but clad the same
plotless, gossipy titillation in British accents and it becomes
respectable theater. (Which is not to deny that there are
some rough and unattractive British accents. That's why I
said *many* Brits.)


 
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Tony Cooper
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      03-19-2013
On Mon, 18 Mar 2013 09:54:03 -0400, "Mayayana"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Tony thinks I'm exaggerating. I do live in a big city with a lot
>of colleges and a lot of non-locals, so I suppose my experience
>is atypical.


I don't think are necessarily exaggerating, but I do think that you
are pulling from too small a sample to extrapolate what you find to
the national picture.

To make the claim you did, you'd have to have a lot of empirical
evidence that includes a study of accents of students going into a
college with a follow-up of any changes after entering college. Before
and after stuff.

--
Tony Cooper - Orlando FL
 
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Robert Coe
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      03-19-2013
On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 20:21:08 -0800, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Floyd L. Davidson)
wrote:
: rwalker <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:51:46 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) (Floyd L.
: >Davidson) wrote:
: >
: >>Whatever, regional accents and dialectic differences in
: >>how language is spoken and used are very real and are
: >>not in any way a class distinction.
: >
: >Well, that's one take on it.

A wildly incorrect take, as it happens.

: But it is also an easily verifable take (which any
: linguist will expond on),

Nonsense; linguists are as able to recognize and catalogue dialectical
distinctions based on class as they are distinctions based on region. Whether
the implied class distinctions are real or not is a different question, with
different answers in different cases.

: while saying that such distinctions are merely snobbery,
: probably is itself an expression of snobbery.

But that's not at all what Mr Walker said. He said he thought the pretense to
finding the regional dialects of others incomprehensible is a bit of snobbery.

Bob
 
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Robert Coe
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      03-19-2013
On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 14:37:28 +0100, Wolfgang Weisselberg
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: Rob <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
:
: > Speaking Swiss/German this chap came up and asked "where's the railway
: > station", which I understood, my reply in English "down there" I don't
: > know what his thoughts were.
:
: He only understood "railway station".
:
: (Translate that!)

"Bahnhof", nicht wahr?

Bob
 
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John Turco
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      03-19-2013
On 3/18/2013 7:37 AM, Usenet Account wrote:
> On 17/03/2013 10:07 PM, rwalker wrote:
>> On Fri, 15 Mar 2013 15:46:42 -0400, Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>> But
>>> enough people say that they find southern accents incomprehensible
>>> that I have
>>> to believe them.
>>>
>>> Bob

>>
>>
>> I've lived all over the U.S., and I think it's a bit of snobbery
>> personally.
>>

> I recall seeing a bleak British movie filmed in some industrial city,
> where the local dialect was used. The movie had English sub-titles
> because nobody outside that region (even fellow Brits) could understand
> half the dialog.


I recorded that same movie off cable TV, in the early 1990's. Can't
even recall its name, as I only watched it once (it wasn't very good,
in my estimation).

Although, I'm in Nebraska (U.S.A.), I'd no trouble understanding
what was being spoken. Those subtitles were silly, as far as I'm
concerned.

> And then there are the Scots!!!


No problems, here.

John
 
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Mayayana
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      03-20-2013
| I have to say you are wrong. Not often, but sometimes.
|
| There are regional dialects which are incomprehensible to other
| speakers of regional dialects. Such combinations are hard to find, but
| they do exist.
|

I think that's known as "mumbling".


 
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Wolfgang Weisselberg
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      03-20-2013
Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 14:37:28 +0100, Wolfgang Weisselberg
>: Rob <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>: > Speaking Swiss/German this chap came up and asked "where's the railway
>: > station", which I understood, my reply in English "down there" I don't
>: > know what his thoughts were.


>: He only understood "railway station".


>: (Translate that!)


> "Bahnhof", nicht wahr?


yep, but that wasn't what I meant.

Please translate 'He only understood "railway station"' and
indicate what that means.

-Wolfgang
 
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Whisky-dave
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      03-21-2013
On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:58:37 AM UTC, Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
> Savageduck <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote:
>
> >On 2013-03-19 22:05:50 -0700, rwalker <(E-Mail Removed)> said:

>
> >

>
> >> On Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:35:14 -0400, Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> >>

>
> >>> But that's not at all what Mr Walker said. He said he thought the pretense to

>
> >>> finding the regional dialects of others incomprehensible is a bit of snobbery.

>
> >>>

>
> >>> Bob

>
> >>

>
> >> Exactly.

>
> >

>
> >However, there are times the failure to comprehend that

>
> >regional dialect and accent is not a pretense.

>
>
>
> I see it literally on a daily basis and what I see is
>
> never a pretense.
>
>
>
> >I can

>
> >certainly attest that while I was able understand what

>
> >cousin D.M. and his wife Stella, with their native Rock

>
> >Spring, GA accents were saying, my English born wife Sue

>
> >didn't, and Stella was hard pressed to understand Sue.

>
> >That certainly didn't have anything to do with snobbery

>
> >on her part, or Stella's, but was explained by their

>
> >lack of familiarity with those particular accents.

>
> >Stella and Sue hit it off great, but neither one had a

>
> >clue as to what the other was saying. Perhaps that was a

>
> >form of linguistic diplomacy, but both D.M. and I acted

>
> >as interpreters translating English to English.

>
>
>
> Years ago I often translated English to English for
>
> people visiting the small Yup'ik Eskimo village that I
>
> lived in at the time. School adminstrators and State
>
> officials would hold meetings, and nobody would
>
> understand a word they said, plus they didn't understand
>
> a word that was said to them! In this case most of it
>
> was dialectic rather than the accent.
>
>
>
> Today I deal with a number of immigrants who have both
>
> the distinction of unusual accents and dialectic
>
> differences. I am often called on by Thai, Korean, and
>
> Laotian people to talk to someone for them. I do not
>
> know a word in any of those languages, but since I hear
>
> them speaking English all the time it isn't too hard for
>
> me to first figure out what they are trying to say, and
>
> second I can say something in English using words that
>
> they understand. Hence it really is translating English
>
> to English. (Incidentally, someone who is a native
>
> speaker of English from Pakistan or India is almost
>
> impossible for me to understand.)
>
>
>
> In regard to anyone in the US genuinely having "no
>
> accent", I had dinner with a Brit this evening, and
>
> mentioned this discussion and that particular point of
>
> view. This Brit has lived in the US off and on for 30
>
> years and thought the idea than any American does not
>
> have an accent to be just hilarous. She often comments
>
> that when she is in England they all tell her she sounds
>
> like a bloody American, and of course in America she is
>
> obviously a Brit.


Being born in East London, I know I ain't got no accent mate, got it !
the rest of the world has accents or speech deficiencies is perhaps the polite term

>
>
>
> --
>
> Floyd L. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/
>
> Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) (E-Mail Removed)


 
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PeterN
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      03-23-2013
On 3/19/2013 10:35 AM, Robert Coe wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 20:21:08 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) (Floyd L. Davidson)
> wrote:
> : rwalker <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> : >On Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:51:46 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) (Floyd L.
> : >Davidson) wrote:
> : >
> : >>Whatever, regional accents and dialectic differences in
> : >>how language is spoken and used are very real and are
> : >>not in any way a class distinction.
> : >
> : >Well, that's one take on it.
>
> A wildly incorrect take, as it happens.
>
> : But it is also an easily verifable take (which any
> : linguist will expond on),
>
> Nonsense; linguists are as able to recognize and catalogue dialectical
> distinctions based on class as they are distinctions based on region. Whether
> the implied class distinctions are real or not is a different question, with
> different answers in different cases.
>


Only cunning linguists.

--
PeterN
 
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