All posts by stephentanahey

All-American Dialects

Richard Lederer’s essay about all of the different dialects all over the United States has really made me think about how many dialects there actually are in America. Each region in the United seems to have different dialects and say things differently. His research has revealed that one word can have a variety of different names from all different dialects. I have probably heard most of the dialects in the United States at least once in my life, whether it be in person or on t.v. However, I have probably heard dialects from the south and the north the most since I live in the south and much of my family lives in New York. I don’t think I have much of a southern accent or dialect at all even though I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life. And even though I have a lot of close family in New York I don’t find myself or my parents and brother talking with any northern dialect. It’s a little weird to me that I don’t really have any distinguished major dialect but it is still in its own a dialect nonetheless. The quote, “when you learn language, you learn it as a dialect; if you do not speak a dialect, you do not speak”, is very important because it exemplifies the truth that everyone has their own dialect whether they realize it or not.

I found it really interesting that dialects could serve such an important purpose like helping to figure out where an amnesia victim lived based solely on the way the person said “greasy” as “greezy”. Also, the fact that the Unabomber, Kaczynski, used a dialect indicative of Northern California as well as his intelligence, which helped us catch him, made me start to think that dialect is more important than people think. Dialect has a purpose and is more than just a weird way people say things.