Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Dialect/ Southern Accent

I don't normally "blog with a purpose" like this, but it is something that I might start doing from time to time.  After all, these things 'pop' in my head too!

I prefaced this in the video below, but I will type it out here too.  In 2 of my classes this semester, we have been talking about dialect and accents, specifically Southern accents/dialect.  This is the way that I distinguish the difference between accent and dialect (often used interchangeably).  Accent is the way that you say certain words.  Dialect is a little more complex.  It encompasses accent and includes the certain grammatical differences of certain regions/areas.

In my Language Arts class the other night, we were talking about code switching.  This is when you learn to lose your native accent and dialect in order to speaking in a more "academic" way, so that you sound more educated.  There have been students taking classes to lose their Southern accent so that they do not sound "uneducated" in job interviews or in their professional life.  An example of a celebrity that has admitted to doing this is South Carolina native, Stephen Colbert.  He observed that on television, people that spoke with a Southern accent were portrayed as "dumb," and he did not want his accent or dialect to hinder his career.

I think that everyone code switches from time to time.  Just think about when you talk on the phone.  Depending on who you are speaking with, you might change some of your word choices or speak a little differently.  I agree with my teacher that we, as teachers, need to demonstrate proper "Standard American English" when we are teaching.  We have to model this practice for our students.  However, if one of my students does not speak with "proper" English, I will not freak out... until they write that way.  I cannot stand when people "write the way they talk" in professional or academic writings.  Written English has certain rules that everyone should follow. Good written grammar is important in a professional or academic setting (obviously blogs aren't included in this)

Here is a video I made to demonstrate my Southern accent and my dialect.  (Ignore my stupid facial expressions and the massive eye roll when I say "way up North" lol)

I am proud of my Southern accent.  If someone thinks that I am stupid, dumb or uneducated because of the way that I sound when I speak, that is their problem.  What is more important is what I am saying, and not necessarily how it sounds.


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