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American Tongues

             American Tongues is an interesting documentary that chronicles and demonstrates the different varieties of spoken English in the United States. It portrays some of the regional, social, and ethnic differences in American speech and presents various attitudes that people have about these differences. Attitudes towards dialects and accents that are not one's own are typically negative and seen as sub-standard forms of the language. When people listen to how something is said rather than what is being said then the effectiveness of communication is being lost. Regardless of one's dialect or accent, neither one is any better than the other. If effective communication occurs in any variety of English then it is successful interaction. .
             "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ONE STANDARD ENGLISH ACCENT THAT IS BETTER THAN ALL OTHERS, but there is a type of English favored by actors, TV and radio announcers (American Tongues)." The woman who provides the voice for directory assistance notes that she uses a "generic homogenized speech." If there were a standard English accent, this generic homogenized sound that seems accent-less would be the standard. .
             Video's definition of a dialect: "An accent or a dialect means the words we use and how we pronounce them. It doesn't mean slang, which includes words or expressions that are passing fads. And it doesn't mean jargon, which is the vocabulary of a special group. You can have an accent and still speak `computerese."" The dialect known as "standard English" is used throughout the world, but it is spoken in a vast range of regional accents. Words and expressions used by speakers in different regions of the country:.
             Cabinet - milkshake .
             Gumband - rubbberband (Pittsburgh) .
             Pua hana - work is finished (Hawaii) .
             Jambalaya - spicy rice stew (Louisiana) .
             Antigogglin - crooked (South/West) .
             Snickelfritz - little kid .
             Schlep - carry (New York) .

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