Sunday, April 17, 2011

Language, English Spoken in USA

I am beginning to miss the divergent sounds of the English language here in the USA.  People in Boston, Houston and Chicago are beginning to sound alike.  They are losing their regional dialects.  I believe it has been the omnipresent TV that is responsible for changing the American English sound, blending it into a homogenized goop.

It seems as far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated with language.  I was raised in South Philadelphia (Sou'filly).  All around me I heard immigrant accents and local dialects.  On television I heard people from different parts of the US and the world and I wondered how could the English language sound so different in England, South Africa, India, Australia and here in Boston, Chicago and the Appalachian Mountains a short distance from my own front door?

With all that difference in spoken English, the professionals on TV, the reporters, had a more pure sound to their American English, TV English.  I think the entire US is moving towards speaking TV English.  The only hold outs maybe those without TV or those who speak in jargon.  Jargon is another story altogether.

Here on my recommended reading list you will see a recording by the late comedian George Carlin and a book by Geoffrey Nunberg.  If you haven't heard the recording or know about them, do yourself a favor and check them out.

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