Friday, November 20, 2009

Do You Speak American?

**Warning! Academic-ish discussions ahead**

Since I'm taking classes, from time to time I'll blog about what I'm learning (if it interests me and I feel like sharing, which doesn't happen a lot, so when it happens PAY ATTENTION!). Today is one of those days. Yesterday, my linguistics prof showed us a website where you can rank on a scale of 1-10 the proper-ness (is that a word?) of the English spoken in different parts of the United States. Go there and do it, it takes like 3 seconds. The results are really interesting, especially to English nerds like me. What generally happens with Michiganders is that they rank Michigan the highest, meaning they think people from Michigan speak the most proper, or best English. Surrounding states speak almost, but not quite as well, followed by the West, the Northeast, and finally the South. What was interesting to me was that Michigan ranked Indiana lower than Ohio and Illinois, even though it's right between those two states. Also, Michiganders ranked California, Colorado, and Washington higher than other states out West (I can't help but think that Grey's Anatomy has something to do with the higher ranking of Washington... haha). Poor Alabama got ranked the lowest, proving that we think people in the South speak poor English. See for yourself:

What I've realized in my linguistics class is that there is no 'Proper' English, just a dialect called Standard American English, which is used most often in the media. That dialect tends to reflect speech patterns in the Midland section of the country, including parts of Missouri and Southern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Turns out Michigan doesn't even speak SAE! Michiganders tend to nasalize vowels, just ask anyone from the Midland states! Go Here and try and match the speakers with where they live. It's harder than it sounds!

So there's a quick rundown of what we've talked about in my linguistics class. I find linguistics extremely interesting for some reason. If I hadn't already made the decision to be a teacher, I think I would have traveled down the linguistics path!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Wow that is interesting. So where do you think my grammar falls if I have lived in WA, ID, NY and TX?