Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1993 12:19:49 -0600


Subject: Re: diversity of accents

I just logged onto the system and landed in the middle of this

discussion, so I missed some things. Dennis, could you or someone else

please cite for me the newspaper article which treats "decline of dialects"?

Or enter it, better yet, on the system so I can print it off? I also get

angry at journalists who print crap like this, but wehave to remember

that the very journalists who perpetuate this myth are part of a

cultural superstructure which has existed for more than a century. It is

so common that most literatre people take it for granted. It is the

result of a regional group which established economic and cultural hegemony

after the Civil War and which has dominated higher education and

publishing since. For this reason, Inland Northern dominates textbooks,

pronunciation guides (e.g, the NBC Handbook of pronunciation) and many

dictionaries. Rudy: I have on my desk a primary school textbook called

IMPROVINMG YOUR LANGUAGE. It dates from 1951. It has this entry:

say: pen

make it rhyme with: Ben

Do not say: pin

This book does the same for GET, TEN, etc.

I have a long discussion of this in my book, out this week, HEARTLAND

ENGLISH; the intorduction touches on journalistic myths and chapter 4

touches on Yankee domination. See also chapters by Preston, Donahue,

Sledd, and Riney.

On TV influence: somewhere I have read about a deaf-and-dumb couple who

gave birth to two normal children. They decided the kids would learn to

talk "normally" by watching lots of TV. By kindergarten they had not

learned to talk. I would guess from this that language learning is

an interactional process (and so is dialect acquisition); watching TV is

not interaction.

--Tim Frazer


Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1993 15:43:41 -0700


Subject: Re: diversity of accents


Thanks for the pin:pen item. In the late '60s we got the state of Texas

textbook adoption process (thanks to Mary Galvan) to require that all English

texts recognize the validity of regional variants, and many publishers complied

but linguists in NCTE and elsewhere have lost the impact that Marckwardt and

Allen and McDavid were having at that time, and textbooks have seriously

backslid. So if journalists are ignorant, the problem really starts with

uninformed English teachers. I don't know what to do about it, but I find the

state of ignorance today compared to 20 years ago depressing. We can't blame

it all on the Reagan administration, but it will continue to regress unless we

figure out something to do about the situation.

The news on your book was good to hear: can you give everyone on the

network the full bibliographic information and price? It could be useful as

a text.

On TV and basic language acquisition: If you find the reference, it

would be interesting to have. Some years ago a Spanish monolingual child in

Austin was left alone with the TV as a baby-sitter while both the parents

worked, and when the girl started school, she did not know a word of English

except apparently to identify it as "background noise". For six weeks she

wandered around the classroom and paid no attention to the teacher. Only when

a student of mine who was bilingual (Caroline Willard) sat her down and clued

her in and gave her some English vocabulary did she begin to pay attention.

--Rudy Troike


End of ADS-L Digest - 26 Nov 1993 to 27 Nov 1993


There are 9 messages totalling 185 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. diversity of accents (2)

2. diversity of accents revisited

3. Mail Order / Pin-Pen / LAGS (4)

4. egg-aig (2)