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#59177 - 02/28/02 07:48 PM Dialects
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
After finally getting caught up with all posts and with my head spinning from a thousand different ideas, I'd thought an attempt at continuing a conversation I had last night would settle me in a bit. I've been a substitute teacher for the Chicago Public School system, on the west side (where my home is), so I have first hand experience with this *issue.

When a student goes into a classroom and is taught SE (Standard English), they are being taught a dialect of English. When they go home they are speaking another dialect of English, if they are speaking English. They speak one dialect of English at home, out in the schoolyard, at the candy store, on the playlot, or out in the alley. The school is only place they use/learn the SE dialect (most of the West Siders, anyway). Although I know about the *need to call dialects a name, there is just about as much Standard in SE as there is Black in so-called Black English.

This country spends time and resources to *allow a bilingual person, but not a bidialectical person. We'll spend enormous resources on making sure the cultures of other countries are respected, yet we don't respect the other cultures that are staring us in the face. This is becoming more and more of an issue when it comes to what is considered an educated person or not. It is the same problem that has surfaced as people being discriminated against by the way their voice sounds on the phone. It is what makes one race slander another, and it is clearly based on a lack of understanding, on both "sides": those that are currently learning SE but haven't grasped it yet, and those that don't acknowledge other dialects of English, and never learn them.

My friend, whose parents are Japanesse, chimed in and added that the symbol for the meaning "surprise" is the same in these three dialects - Court Japanesse, Kagoshima and Kumamoto - but they are pronounced completely differently - no audible similarities at all. I'm sure that what she called Court Japanesse is what is taught in schools, but these dialects exist within miles of each other, and a person that can speak freely within all the dialects has *clear social advantages.

I think we should be teaching all the current dialects of English that we can. We've *borrowed from other languages and put them into our dictionary, We should be insuring that more of what is considered "slang" (slang, my ass) is acknowledged as the part of a dialect of English.

IMFHO, of course.


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#59178 - 02/28/02 10:01 PM Re: Dialects
slithy toves Offline
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Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
I think we should be teaching all the current dialects of English that we can.]

There are many people who would agree with you, musick. And probably as many who would vehemently disagree. A while back there was a popular movement directed at teaching "black English" in the US public schools. For a while, as I recall, it was labeled Ebonics (for ebony, I assume). I was teaching in a public school at the time, and I recall a conversation with a colleague who happened to be black. Her comment was, "When my child is taught English, I will make it my business to insist that he is taught the kind of English that will get him into college and a meaningful career."

Most of us have multiple dialects, if that is the right term As youngsters we learn to use one type of language in the schoolroom, another with our parents, still another when we're out with our buddies. Then, of course, there are the more pronounced regional and ethnic dialects, involving vocabulary and pronunciation. If by teaching we mean including many or all of these in the public-school curriculum, we're in for a real challenge. I'd be interested in how others perceive this issue.


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#59179 - 03/01/02 09:55 AM Re: Dialects
Flatlander Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
Then, of course, there are the more pronounced regional and ethnic dialects, involving vocabulary and pronunciation. If by teaching we mean including many or all of these in the public-school curriculum, we're in for a real challenge.

I think you're right about that, slithy. Teaching students what to call a sub/hero/hoagie in various parts of the country is pretty pointless, in my opinion, but wouldn't it open students' minds to teach them about your previous sentence:

Most of us have multiple dialects, if that is the right term As youngsters we learn to use one type of language in the schoolroom, another with our parents, still another when we're out with our buddies.

And then telling them that all of those dialects are "valid" and that all of the dialects they may hear others use are equally "valid", and that the dialect they are learning in school is the dialect that is most likely to lead them to college and a meaningful career (but maybe not if they are applying for a job at MTV or a hip-hop/urban magazine or the Southern Belles Association, or somewhere). I always appreciated it when teachers let us in on the "secret" that what they were teaching us was not always right or might not be cutting edge or might be controversial -- I think it insipires tolerance and a healthy willingness to question authority.


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#59180 - 03/01/02 10:30 AM Re: Dialects
slithy toves Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
Good points, F'lander. In my teaching days I would sometimes introduce the concept of "persona," having students read excerpts from, say, Great Expectations, Huck Finn, and Catcher in the Rye; then compare the speaking styles of the narrators. Most of the kids loved doing this, discovering along the way that a literary style such as Pip's doesn't necessarily communicate any more effectively than the others. Unfortunately it's much harder to find a similar array of girls' voices--but that's another subject.


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#59181 - 03/01/02 02:11 PM Re: Dialects
Sparteye Offline
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Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
When a student goes into a classroom and is taught SE (Standard English), they are being taught a dialect of English. When they go home they are speaking another dialect of English, if they are speaking English. They speak one dialect of English at home, out in the schoolyard, at the candy store, on the playlot, or out in the alley.

Wow, really? Why is the language used in school so different from that used at home? My language didn't differ between the two. Now, my language differs a bit between work and home, but the difference is mostly based upon the difference in the usual subject matter. The language I use on a sports message board - a board relatively full of young males with slangy language - varies little from the language I use here or on other boards with very different constituencies.

Am I an anomaly?


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#59182 - 03/01/02 02:27 PM Re: Dialects
Fiberbabe Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 771
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Sparteye asks: Am I an anomaly?

Oooooh. Must..... resist...... temptation....




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#59183 - 03/01/02 04:01 PM Re: Dialects
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
Why is the language used in school so different from that used at home? My language didn't differ between the two.

I'll adjust the stress of my words to indicate that (even in my personal life) the difference between home and school is less than school -vs- other than home social situations.

Although the nature of 'certain stresses' brought about by living in a materialist based ideology (seeing success in that realm but not living it or seeing opportunities) may be only one of the catalysts for developing a *exclusive dialect that intends to create a different playing feild - with some hope of creating an advantage - it certainly is a strong one. In some neighborhoods and social situations it is a matter of survival!

As the goals of society vary, so shall the language. If pursuit of different happinesses are imbedded in our so-called Democracy, freedom and availabilities of different 'cultures' should be 'promoted', yet it is clear that aint what is happinin'. I know it's a big job, but we have a lot of people not doing anything. Maybe when government institutes the "none of the above" vote into elections will languages be represented as they *are and not as the 'status quo' believes they should be. Eh, just maybe.

The goals of your slangy sports buddies and you are *probably not that different. I'm not convinced what you're calling "very different constituencies" actually are.


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#59184 - 03/01/02 04:07 PM Re: Dialects
musick Offline
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Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
There are many people who would agree with you, musick. And probably as many who would vehemently disagree.

... but any that vehemently agree?


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#59185 - 03/01/02 06:26 PM Re: Dialects
Sparteye Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
Sparteye asks: Am I an anomaly?

Oooooh. Must..... resist...... temptation....


OK, FB. Here's something I don't normally say at work: ppppppppppfffffffffffffffffftttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!






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#59186 - 03/01/02 06:38 PM Re: Dialects
Keiva Offline
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Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 2605
Am I an anomaly?

No, that makes you special. IMHO, it's laudable.



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#59187 - 03/02/02 10:47 AM Re: Dialects
RhubarbCommando Offline
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Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
but any that vehemently agree?

It's contrary to my constitution to be vehement, but I certainly strongly support the principle underlying your suggestion, Musick.
I would not recommend trying to teach anyone to speak a different dialect, but I am very much in favour of young people being made very aware of the different ways our language can be used, and that a different way of speaking does NOT mean that the speaker is of less (or more) value than any other because of it. It is, as we are aware here, the content of speech that is important and should be the basis of any judgement of worthiness.


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#59188 - 03/02/02 06:48 PM Re: Dialects
Capital Kiwi Offline
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Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
Actually, I think that teaching dialect (elocution?) is a complete waste of time. First of all, you will never succeed if the pupil doesn't have an ear for the different rhythms of the various dialects. Secondly, what is the purpose?

My goddaughter, bless her little cotton socks, goes to a plutey English public school (read "private", USns). She is taught by teachers who speak RP, she is surrounded by pupils who speak various levels of RP and she can do a great imitation of RP herself; she has the music. But when she's at home, although out of her mother's earshot, she reverts to her normal accent which is pretty damned broad Northamptonshire, dropped aitches and gees all over the place. In other words, she's faking it at school.

I think that as long as one has an understanding of the meanings of the colloquialisms inherent in the brogues or patrois which one comes into contact with there is no real need for people to learn to speak "differently".

Except for two particular cases. Brum and Geordie should be stamped out, by force using mounted troops if necessary. They are taking "viva la difference" just tooooo far!

_________________________
The idiot also known as Capfka ...

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#59189 - 03/03/02 06:59 PM Re: Dialects
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
In my first post I said: I think we should be teaching all the current dialects of English that we can. I'll ammend that statement to say that teaching what dialect is and being aware of its intrinsic value as its words hold specific meaning (as you suggest) would be more in line with my intent. However, the person that comes to school and is told that the other 90% of their linguistic life is "without quality" is getting quite a different education than your goddaughter who is has the ability to fake it, and I think it makes a bit more sense to teach "Northamptonshire" to a class of 75% Northamptonshire-ites than it does to teach the whole class "RP".I'm guessing this is the Brit equivalent to SE pronouciation.

I agree that actually teaching the skills to adjust one's language and speech to eloquently manifest a specific "foreign" dialect is damn close to a waste of time (almost as wasteful as teaching SE sometimes), yet certainly not to someone who has "the gift of song".


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#59190 - 03/03/02 09:50 PM Re: Dialects
Happy Birthday consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Okay. Now I can agree with you. As a person who has the "gift of song", but only as far as languages, accents and dialects are concerned(drat it!), I know that I have a gift and that no amount of "teaching"read browbeating could have helped me attain this. Only by exposure to various languages, accents, and dialects did I even know that the gift was mine. This, incidently, was not achieved in school. I travelled. I still travel. I will always travel.


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#59191 - 03/04/02 08:27 AM Re: Dialects
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
OK, Musick - I'm definitely prepared to agree vehemently with you, given your gloss to what you first said.
It'll be interesting to find out what happens to CapK s god-daughter when she grows up. My two were born and bred in Northampton, and had very broad Northamptonian accents (which would be significantly different from CapK's g.d. if she lives, as I suspect, in Wellingboro - that's a whole twelve miles away!!) My wife and I speak a London debasement of RP (yes - it is the same sort of thing as SE) - guess how my kids speak now, in their early thirties? Yep, you're right - not a trace of N'thampton, me dook, but a flattish Estuary English.
My daughter did live in London for about six years from age eighteen, but my son never has done - and they both speak the same.


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#59192 - 03/04/02 08:36 AM Re: Dialects
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Except for two particular cases. Brum and Geordie should be stamped out, by force using mounted troops if necessary. They are taking "viva la difference" just tooooo far!
(translation of foreign terms:
Geordie= someone from Newcastle-on-Tyne or the language they speak
Brum= Birmingham

No, CapK - can't agree with you there. Geordie's a bit like Guiness ( apart from being of just as thick a consistency and just as dark) - it's an acquired taste - but it is a very colourful language which would be great to write poetry in, if only other people would be able to understand it.
As for Brum, it is absolutely the best language for telling jokes in; the oxymoron between the sadness of the accent with the gaiety of the laughter invoked is nothing sghort of marvellous!
(Brummies make b****y good drinking partners, too! - it's a laugh a second with them - almost as good as the Cockneys.)


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#59193 - 03/04/02 04:12 PM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#59194 - 03/06/02 11:15 AM Re: Dialects
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
But do they speak 'Estuary'? Somehow I doubt it, as that implies mixing up tenses and persons, replacing 'th' with 'f' (as in free instead of three). I would suggest that they probably speak a more modern version of RP (Received Pronounciation). There's been much in the press recently about how the Queen has changed how she speaks and that the Beeb no longer stick strictly to RP. To my mind, it's just that RP is moderating/modulating slightly.


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#59195 - 03/07/02 08:41 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>I would suggest that they probably speak a more modern version of RP

Have you noticed that our Tone (Tony Blair for furriners) when making off the cuff remarks likes to use a bit of "modern PR" - sounds pretty estuary to me. I think that he likes to model his conversation style on the classic after-match interview, "Well, the lads had it all to do but in the event they pulled out all the stops, the other side were sick as parrots, we were pretty gobsmacked by the whole thing ....".


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#59196 - 03/07/02 09:38 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
and even more irritating - have you noticed that he can't string more than about three words together without breaking off for emphasis?


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#59197 - 03/07/02 10:03 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>stringing words together

no I hadn't.............noticed that but.............I will keep.............an eye out


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#59198 - 03/07/02 10:29 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
rkay Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 144
Loc: London, UK
oh dear, sorry - it'll probably really start to irritate you now - it's one of those things that you don't really notice until someone points it out to you and then it bugs you more and more! I think somebody must have told him at some point that it made him sound more earnest, so he decided to adopt it - it's most noticeable when he's speechifying, less so in PM's Question Time


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#59199 - 03/12/02 06:15 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Don't worry, rkay, - he has enough irritating habits that one more or less makes little difference.

As to his altering his speech according to his audience, many people do this to a greater or lesser extent, without even realising they do it. Mind you, if you are doing it where millions can hear you (like on radio or TV!) it is something to be resisted, I think.


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#59200 - 03/12/02 08:41 AM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
slithy toves Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
Can't help noticing GWB's little Texas twang. Not bad for a Connecticut patrician, and quite different from brother Jeb... Then there's the wonderful folkie patois of Arlo Guthrie, who was born in Brooklyn and attended a Massachusetts prep school. This is not meant as criticiam. Most of us learn to adapt, which can mean learning to talk the talk.


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#59201 - 03/17/02 02:33 PM Re: "modern RP v Estuary Eng
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
Rhube, I have drunk with a lot of Brummies in the past few months. Their continual apparent whining doesn't improve on closer acquaintance, I assure you.

As for Wellybro, the accent is actually broader than I hear in Northampton itself. Whether or not it gained city status. You think they'd have just built a bloody cathedral, wouldn't you?

Goddaughter will speak whichever accent had the most lasting impression on her. Northampton seems the safe bet. She doesn't have the slightest touch of Zild in spite of both her parents speaking it broadly.

My dislike of the Geordie accent stems from having had two bosses, one direct, one indirect, both ignorant, from Newcastle.

_________________________
The idiot also known as Capfka ...

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