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DIALECTS. “A dialect is “simply a habitual variety of a language, regional or social. It is set off from all other such habitual varieties by a unique combination of language features…” Raven I. McDavid, Jr. Regional Dialects in the US: Causes.

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DIALECTS

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Dialects l.jpg

DIALECTS

“A dialect is “simply a habitual variety of a language, regional or social. It is set off from all other such habitual varieties by a unique combination of language features…”

Raven I. McDavid, Jr.


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Regional Dialects in the US: Causes

  • Borrowings other languages (from Spanish, French, etc)

  • Language contact (Indians, slaves, other immigrants)

  • Industrial revolution (move to big cities, new inventions, better mobility)

  • Trade & immigration (the big cosmopolitan centers influenced other towns). Ex. ‘bird = boid’ (Brooklyn accent = New Orleans)

  • Environmental Factors (topography, climate, plants, animals, etc). Ex. ‘fresh-water streams.


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Dialects: How They Differ

  • The frequent 1st reaction of a person who hears an unfamiliar dialect is that the strange sounds and words are a chaotic mess. This is similar to the feeling an American has when he sees British motorists driving “on the wrong side of the street”.

    Roger W. Shuy


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Languages Don’t “Lack” Anything!

  • Should we say that in ‘pahk the cah’ the [r] was deleted? Or should we say that in ‘park the car’ an [r] has been inserted?

  • In order to avoid prejudices, it is better to say: One has the absence of the feature and the other has the presence of it.


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FINAL COMMENTS

  • Dialectal distinctive features of other dialects are more noticeable than those of our own dialect

  • Prescriptive vs Descriptive perspectives

  • Self-esteem of dialects speakers


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