Do You Speak American?

Do You Speak American Is American English in decline Are regional dialects dying out Is there a difference between men and women in how they adapt to linguistic variations These questions and about our language catapult

  • Title: Do You Speak American?
  • Author: William Cran Robert MacNeil
  • ISBN: 9780385511988
  • Page: 357
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Is American English in decline Are regional dialects dying out Is there a difference between men and women in how they adapt to linguistic variations These questions, and , about our language catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran the authors with Robert McCrum of the language classic The Story of English across the country in search of the answers Do You SpeaIs American English in decline Are regional dialects dying out Is there a difference between men and women in how they adapt to linguistic variations These questions, and , about our language catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran the authors with Robert McCrum of the language classic The Story of English across the country in search of the answers Do You Speak American is the tale of their discoveries, which provocatively show how the standard for American English if a standard exists is changing quickly and dramatically On a journey that takes them from the Northeast, through Appalachia and the Deep South, and west to California, the authors observe everyday verbal interactions and in a host of interviews with native speakers glean the linguistic quirks and traditions characteristic of each area While examining the histories and controversies surrounding both written and spoken American English, they address anxieties and assumptions that, when explored, are highly emotional, such as the growing influence of Spanish as a threat to American English and the special treatment of African American vernacular English And, challenging the purists who think grammatical standards are in serious deterioration and that media saturation of our culture is homogenizing our speech, they surprise us with unpredictable responses.With insight and wit, MacNeil and Cran bring us a compelling book that is at once a celebration and a potent study of our singular language.Each wave of immigration has brought new words to enrich the American language Do you recognize the origin of 1 blunderbuss, sleigh, stoop, coleslaw, boss, waffle Or2 dumb, ouch, shyster, check, kaput, scram, bummer Or3 phooey, pastrami, glitch, kibbitz, schnozzle Or4 broccoli, espresso, pizza, pasta, macaroni, radio Or5 smithereens, lollapalooza, speakeasy, hooligan Or6 vamoose, chaps, stampede, mustang, ranch, corral 1 Dutch 2 German 3 Yiddish 4 Italian 5 Irish 6 SpanishFrom the Hardcover edition.

    660 Comment

    • Mirrani says:

      I am not a linguist, but I was raised by one. As a result of hearing different languages and different language dialects throughout my life, I have a love of listening to the various dialects of America (and other countries), which is why I picked up this book. I loved the way it was written, both with an educational tone and with a certain humor.Being the average, curious American had an advantage when reading through the pages, since the topics covered were widespread. They would have to be, s [...]

    • Anna says:

      I loved reading this book because it was full of so much fascinating information about the American English language. The book provided an excellent overview (with some depth) as to what the major dialects are (Southern, Inland Midwestern, Black, Chicano, etc.), how they have been shaped historically, and how they continue to shape mainstream American English. The book is well organized into chapters that flow and I think it does a nice job of showing both "sides" of each of the major debates ab [...]

    • Lori says:

      This book contained a ton of interesting facts. It made me think about language (particularly the language of *others*) in a less critical light. But I had to force myself to finish because the presentation was dry and sometimes too drawn-out. The choppy transitions between topics suggest that this book is a transcript of the TV special, and was not edited to fit the print format. If you are thinking of getting the book, you might consider watching the video instead. (That I plan on watching it [...]

    • Nathan Albright says:

      As I have noted before on occasion, my native American accent is Western Pennsylvanian [1], one of the dialects spoken of in this book. There are some dialects, and this is one of them, that have a mixed sort of prestige. Locally, and I am a witness of this, there is a great deal of pride in the distinctiveness of the accent of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, where creek is pronounced crick, where people go to Ver-sails but also Du-kain, where people appreciate Giant Iggle, cheer on the Stille [...]

    • Rex Libris says:

      The book started by discussing the various regional English accents or dialects. When it stayed on the topic of regionalism, the book seemed to be on some solid foundations, though claims were made how Midwestern english is shifting vowel sounds. Living here in the miidle of it all, I do not hear it.An interesting discussion on Black English indicated that black English has diverged from American English more as time progresses, rather than less as was previously thought. Even more interesting i [...]

    • Emma says:

      This book is a great study on the language of Americans and how it changes in relation to the nation's history and cultural values. It answered some questions I had about the language (such as why some American dialects are rhotic while others are not) and brought up some ideas that I hadn't thought about. Most interesting was the section about how some non-standard American dialects (for example African American Vernacular English) are treated by many as "incorrect" or "lazy" English, and how t [...]

    • Shaun Welch says:

      Although it was written in 2005, Do You Speak American? is still young enough to be relevant. It is an excellent layman's introduction to the variety of language and dialect that permeates the United States. What people say, how they say it, and how others perceive them for doing so are all covered. The tendency of mainstream America to look down upon the speech of African Americans, immigrants, and other minorities is explored.So-called grammar Nazis will likely bristle at the contents of these [...]

    • Marie Hew says:

      Super fun for linguists and non-linguists alike! If you are at all interested in how we Americans speak, this is a wonderful book that stands on its own. The authors cover the major dialects spoken in the U.S. and puts into context how they developed. My take away from this book is that how we speak is forever changing and the idea of making English our national language isn't as simply as it may seem. Fun and easy read!

    • Hillery says:

      Nice enjoyable read on the current state of American English. Delves into the dichotomy of the homogenization of the language at the same time certain regional and group dialects continue to flourish and grow. Also looks at how immigration and the growth of computer speech interfaces are affecting American English. Written by Robert MacNeil who also produced a PBS documentary to accompany this book.

    • Lindsey says:

      I was assigned to read this for a sociolinguistics class, but it's super interestingople who don't do the linguist thing would also be interested to read about the development of our language in the US. Besides grappling with the question what exactly is American English is a dialect or is it a language? It covers aspects of our speech such as Black English, Chicano English, and Regional Accents and dialectsD, it does it in a way that is easy to read and fun.

    • Freda Anderson says:

      This book was fantastic. I was worried when I first got it that it was going to be illegible for a non-linguist reader like myself. Totally not the case. This book is accessible to anyone. I learned so much about American English and the insane variety of it. I also learned a lot about the politics and racism/sexism/classism involved in the way that we as a country value different ways of speaking English. Super cool book.

    • Ellen says:

      Excellently detailed for the layreader. I read it for background information regarding American English for the A level English Language classes I teach. We can't access the PBS documentary upon which it's based (the DVD was never released in the UK, and it's out of print in the US, with only very limited clips available on YouTube), but some narratives about more contemporary studies, particularly regarding attitudes towards language variation, are quite useful.

    • Bruce says:

      An interesting discussion of "American" English. The authors traveled over the country listening to people speak and noting their 'accents/dialects'. Through their study they discovered some dialects were dying, others were forming. At the same time "American" English adopts many of the words and expressions of different languages and dialects thereby continually evolving and remaining a living language.

    • Sarah Enescu says:

      Linguists. Yawn. It was a hard read, I actually don't think I finished. But the glossy synopsis on the back makes it all very interesting. It is text book style, no story to follow. I wish someone would do a presentation, with all the different dialects and accents, that would hold my attention.

    • Erica says:

      Gives a nice sense of the organic/dynamic nauture of language and dialects in the US. Each chapter focuses on a different region or dialect such as chicano, black english, computer technologies that attempt to mimic human speech, valley girl, etc. A light read that scratches the surface of linguistics, but a decent introduction peppered with some occasional "no kidding!" insights.

    • Tara says:

      This was a great book. It discussed the linguistics of the very different American dialects and changing trends in pronunciation. Even if you are not a linguistic, after the first chapter the book is easy to read and fascinating. As an ESL instructor, I teach vowel pronunciation because if you shift the vowels; you change the entire word dynamic. Highly recommended!

    • Jimmy Head says:

      Glad to find out that my horrible Philadelphia accent spread throughout the country in the form of the pronounced "R" at the end of words, unlike Boston, New York, Richmond, and Charlotte. You're welcome, America.Troubling, though, that African-American speech has diverged even more from the rest of America.

    • Christi says:

      I love the topic but had to force myself through the book. It was more of a transcript of the tv show than enjoyable as a read on its own. There were several instances where a speech-sample dialog would have made more sense if it was audible rather than just readable. They should have done some more editing to translate this from tv to book form.

    • Lindsay says:

      I read this in one sitting, since I had to keep myself occupied from Portland to LA, via San Francisco. It's super interesting and although I don't feel it's necessarily dumbed down, it is much more accessible than a scholarly book on linguistics. I think it helps that the authors are NOT linguists. If you are interested in American English, I would recommend it.

    • Webster says:

      CompellingAn overall good read, if a bit dated. The author can at times seem awfully "square" - particularly, when describing certainly slang - but makes up for it in earnest objectivity.

    • Wallace says:

      A light and accessible introduction to how American English actually came to be and how it is changing. What you learned in school is probably wrong, and how you spoke at the time was probably right.

    • Samuel says:

      Overall this book was disappointing. It seemed like there had been a lot of research and interesting information that they'd gathered, but the whole book has been "Reader's Digested" down. I felt like I learned less than I would have reading an article in the Economist.

    • Elisa says:

      This is a good book for those who haven't dabbled a lot in linguistics, but I've let some non-linguist friends borrow this book and they loved it.

    • Paul Madarasz says:

      A great introduction to our American language, told in an erudite (but quite readable) fashion. This ex-linguistics major found a lot in it I didn't know.

    • Ryan says:

      It's all right but nothing spectacular; more of an overview of current (well, old now) linguistic trends for the very generalist reader

    • Miriam says:

      Interesting analysis of current trends in American English.

    • Jessica says:

      The PBS series "Do You Speak American" was excellent as well as the accompanying book. This is a topic that is so misunderstood.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Three ideas resonate:Everyone has an accent.Langauge is constantly changing.Linguistic style can divorce, unite, and individualize people and regions.

    • Bethany says:

      I recommend this book! It was quite interesting!

    • Mills College Library says:

      420.973 M1696 2005

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