Saturday, July 09, 2005

PBS validates my entire childhood!

PBS has recently broadcast a show focusing on Southern American English (SAE). What is the salient point of the broadcast? Maybe this:

In a recent study of folk beliefs about American dialects, Dennis Preston (1996) found that 90% of his respondents from Michigan and Indiana and 96% of those from South Carolina recognized SAE as a distinct variety of American English. Both the Michigan and Indiana respondents, however, also evaluated SAE as the most “incorrect” variety of American English (New York City speech was the only serious competitor), and the South Carolina respondents were ambivalent about its correctness as well.
Am I ambivalent? Not really. I doubt that the "typical" Southerner that might be "fixin' to eat breakfast" would understand the particular linguistic nuances of this website.

But there are some interesting items embedded within this site. For example, you can use this link to answer some questions on English usage and see how you compare to others.


Sven Golly said...

Great stuff, Burb. I don't sense much ambivalence on your part, either, which seems healthy. My favorite line: "The use of multiple modals provides Southerners with a politeness strategy not available in other regional dialects." The rest of us might could use a multiple modal or two.

David said...

Yeah Sven. That was my favorite line as well.

While Southerners are renowned for their politeness, I don't think that anyone has quite put it in those terms before.