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Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language

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Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language essay
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Language is seen to be more prestigious than dialect since it is used in the written forms and the more formal situations. Dialect is a regionally and socially distinctive variety of language, identified by a particular set of words and grammatical structures. Most people from the same region are not able to realize the dialect that they all contain because it’s synchronized in their language. One aspect that has been studied of language and dialects is the different dialects that every regions speaks, which makes it hard to achieve a standard language. Generally it is believed that one’s dialect forms, depending on the social and regional setting which can presumably define us or betray us.

Many linguistics do believe that language is bigger than dialect since language is the sum of its dialect (Cooke, 1989). These developed dialects are usually also associated with a distinctive pronunciation or accent. The concept of dialect as a subdivision of language creates the hypothesis that any language with a reasonably large number of speakers will develop dialects, especially if there are ethnical and geographical barriers separating groups of people from each other, or if there are divisions of social class.

That hypothesis can be tested by exploring the different languages that every region speaks in the United States. The various regions of the country are sounding increasingly different from one another. New dialects spring up where they are least expected and people are able to distinguish what region one is from by doing something as innocent as ordering a ham Sandwich (Cooke, 1989).

The exploration described in the article, “ARE ACCENTS OUT?; Hey, Dude, Like NEH-oh Way!” was performed in the United States of America. The exploration was performed to distinguish the different dialects in the country and how they spread through regions. The hypothesis described in the article is that the different dialects affiliated with every region makes it hard for everyone as a whole to comprehend each other.

The subjects in the exploration were residents of the United States. They were from the different regions of the country. They all had different dialects depending on their regional and social settings. The article begins with the author explaining the upstate New York accent where he was raised. People in that area said things like “lemme have a HEE-am SEEN-wich” and “You scared the BEE-JEES-us outa me.” He went on to portray how he believes the nation is starting to sound all the same and “if a Big Mac bought in Hollywood, Fla., would taste the same as one from Hollywood Calif., it would not be unreasonable to presume that we all sound like Ronald McDonald” (Cooke 1989).

The exploration went on to show how an areas accent can be of betrayal using a non-fiction. A cargo handler for Pan-American World named Paul Prinzivalli was suspected of having phoned in bomb threats to an airline’s offices in Los Angeles. He ended up being the main suspect because his accent was similar to the East coast accent on tapes made of the caller. Prinzivalli was let loose when, William Labov, a linguistic at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Prinzivalli had a metropolitan New York accent while the caller had a Boston accent. Labov’s motive was to explain to the Californians that not everybody on the east coast sounds the same (Cooke, 1989).

Linguistics suggest that dialects spring up where they are least expected and remain potent enough to define us or betray us but accents are carried out individually. This goes along with the exploration of how the different dialects that submerged in America’s regions were born. Ethnic groups grabbed lands and built cities in different parts of the country such as the Dutch in New York, the Irish and Italians in New England, and the Ulster Scots and Germans in the South. The ethnic groups later on shifted locations and the different dialects that they all attained spread which led to other dialects being born. This is shown by the dialect of Chicago which is purely Northern inland. It came from western New England and Hartford, Connecticut, and became the dialect which is spoken around Cleveland, Detroit and the Great Lakes (Cooke, 1989).

As the dialects continue to emerge people from different regions are having trouble understanding each other. This issue has led to people seeking a voice that doesn’t stand out. Beverly Inman-Ebel, a speech pathologist in Chattanooga, gets clients who need help reducing their regional dialects. Her clients pay the range of $75 to $175 an hour to untangle features of the Southern vowel shift. It has become a barrier to success that she says, “One company just sent me three executives for accent reduction” and their dialect would be a factor in the criterion for their promotion (Cooke, 1989).

The outcome of this exploration supported its hypothesis that dialect is a barrier and it also defines or betrays us. It was apparent “some Americans, hoping perhaps to identify with a particular group or conversely, to not be identified with a group –are desperate to purge any trace of their origins” (Cooke, 1989). Overall this exploration supports the widely accepted language and dialect hypothesis.

The exploration described in the article “These Southernisms Are as Numerous as Fleas on a Lazy, Old Mutt” was conducted in the United States of America. The exploration was conducted in order to really understand the language that’s used by Southerners. The hypothesis of this exploration was that Southerners’ language is richer in expression, imagery which makes it effortless for one to be able to distinguish their dialect mainly because of the phrases they include in their language and it also has a big influence in how others perceive them.

The exploration was mainly done on occupants of the southern part of the country. It was conducted in a manner that some of the famous Southerners were quoted expressing themselves using phrases which were mainly considered southern, outside the southern region, while the big chunk of the exploration was individual Southerners quoting and explaining their southern phrases. The article starts out by showing examples of two separate events that famous Southerners, President Clinton and GOP chairman Haley Barbour were addressing the public and the southern dialect made it up to their speech. Haley Barbour was at the Republican National Convention and she was quoted saying, that bringing competing elements of the party into a single platform is like “trying to load dogs into a wheelbarrow.” Similar to Barbour’s Language, President Clinton during the 92 convention said, “that he’d fight alongside his supporters” ‘til the last dog dies” (Lollar, 1997).

The exploration provided Southerners views on their own language, in which one states, she is “proud to be a Southerner. The language has always been a source of joy for me. It becomes almost a Spiritual thing.” The article goes on quoting phrases from individual Southerners. Instead of Southerners announcing that they had enough to eat they might announce, “I’m fuller’n a tick.” Powell, who is a 39 year old nuclear medicine technologist at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, believes that this kind of language brings memories back. One sees the faces and hears the voices of the once who used the phrases. These phrases are passed down through generations and every generation plants the seed for another generation (Lollar, 1997).

The exploration explains how the southern language and dialect is full of imagery. A Southerner, Miss., Evelyn Bearden believes that their language is colorful that you can see it while they talking, like word pictures. She gives an example from her aunt, who once described a man as, “so crooked that when he died they didn’t have to dig a grave, they just had screwed him into the ground like an auger” and another one she described her hair like a brillo pad. These expressions try to outdo an original one, like different southerners would say, “He was crooked as a barrel of snakes”, “Crooked as a jaybird’s hind leg,” and Crooked as a barrel of fish hooks” (Lollar, 1997).

Southerners tend to believe that their expressions are uniquely recognizable and they are also their favorite sayings. A Southerner in West Memphis, who is an Oldsmobile-GMC dealer, shares his favorite sayings which came from his hometown of Brooksville, Mississippi. One of his favorite sayings is, “every tub should sit on its own bottom,” which he described the meaning as; everyone is responsible for solving their own problem. He also described the South as a place where people sometimes ran around “like a duck after a June bug,” and didn’t “put all their eggs in the same basket,” and could “cuss you out more ways than a farmer can go out to town.” One Southerner expressions that are very recognizable are Elvis Presleys. One would have no trouble recognizing an Elvis expression that has evolved into a broader meaning through the years. “Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building” (Lollar, 1999).

Therefore, the expressions that were shown by this research supported its hypothesis that Southerners’ language is richer in expression, imagery which makes it effortless for one to be able to distinguish their dialect mainly because of the phrases they include in their language and it also has a big influence in how others perceive them. These expressions from the South have become even more pronounced as the region becomes more diverse. Overall, this research supports the widely accepted language and dialect hypothesis.

Discussion

For the same exact hypothesis, the articles “ARE ACCENTS OUT?; Hey dude, Like NEH-oh Way!” and “These Southernisms Are as Numerous as Fleas on a Lazy, Old Mutt” produced similar results. Generally, the concept of dialect as a subdivision of language creates the hypothesis that any language with a reasonably large number of speakers will develop dialects, especially if there are ethnical and geographical barriers separating groups of people from each other, or if there are divisions of social class. Articles such as “ARE ACCENTS OUT?; Hey dude, Like NEH-oh Way!” and “These Southernisms Are as Numerous as Fleas on a Lazy, Old Mutt” provide observations that support the language and dialect hypothesis.

The procedures used in both of these articles were similar. They both explored the dialects in different regions and how it was inclusive in their language and showed the effect it had on different people understanding each other. Lollar’s article mainly observed the dialect spoken in the southern part of the country and how it had made their language unique. They are able to be distinguished from the rest of the country mainly of the expressions that is included in their dialect which also gets distributed to their language. Similary, Cooke’s article explores all the regions in the country and portrays clearly the different dialects that combat the country as a whole. Both articles clearly support the language and dialect hypothesis by showing the regional and cultural barriers separating groups of people from each other and how it has led to the development of dialects in the language that they posses.

Conclusion

Through my own experience, I support the language and dialect hypothesis. I agree with the results of both articles that dialects tend to be influenced by the region one resides (Cooke, 1989). Observing the dialect that my family and I had coming from Africa to the United States strengthens my support of the language and dialect hypothesis. The influence that St. Louis, Missouri, the state we reside in has had on our dialect is huge. The difference in region from what we were used to living, involuntarily changed most of our dialect to match our new region. Scrutinizing, the language and dialect hypothesis using my own personal experience, it seems to be accurate.

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Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/using-linguistics-to-understand-the-importance-of-dialect-and-its-connection-to-language/
“Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/using-linguistics-to-understand-the-importance-of-dialect-and-its-connection-to-language/
Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/using-linguistics-to-understand-the-importance-of-dialect-and-its-connection-to-language/> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].
Using Linguistics to Understand the Importance of Dialect and Its Connection to Language [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2021 Jan 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/using-linguistics-to-understand-the-importance-of-dialect-and-its-connection-to-language/
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