Saturday, June 1, 2013

You Say Sofa; I Say Couch

I got this question on the Ask the English Teacher page, and I'm sharing it here. Do with it what you will. 

Here is the question as it was written:

What is your opinion, is Appalachian English nothing more than inferior dialect of uneducated lazy Southern Hillbillies living among themselves isolated from the real world? Or is it as research expanding over 80 years now theorize as remnant of Elizabethan (or Shakespearean) English that due to isolation has been preserved? There is other theories from the British Isles settlers to adapting with Colonial American English. Personally my opinion the so call educated people are not willing to acknowledge years of stereotyping from being unable to speak or understand it. Where as speakers of Appalachian English have no trouble understanding standard English as well.

Love to hear your prospective on the subject, from my quick overview you have experience with standard English, to being married to an Hillbilly, to teaching and that's the upmost authority any could have.

If you have not noticed I am an true Appalachian Hillbilly, over the years one can only imagine the theoretical I have experienced. As an example two have stayed implanted among my old head. After moving to New York City in 2000 was asked by who now is an dear friend, "Don't you people do things with barn animals why?" Took a few minutes to reply then said well I was hoping that our delightful habits were not known but maybe one day I'll take you down there so to experience it. Left it at that for a couple years. Then while on an four week Caribbean cruse was approached by a wonderful educated well rounded lady from Chicago, she wanted to know why and how it was that I am not those on Hee Haw? She and her colleagues for years could not understand how no one would help us, educate us, send us to boarding schools for such types. Cruse already half way she had become part of our afternoon martini tea time group but, just could not let this pass. Came back well honey you know what I am glad you're so good to see that in me if you would like to donate I am not ashamed to accept an Harvard education as well as summer abroad the european expanding my little pea picking brain. LOL Got neither but she did get educated.

In closing am in debate for now ten years that I am no more than just an Hillbilly reason I can speak better is association among the educated, any so called theories Appalachian English is superior I should really go to be mentally checked, jokingly of course.

In answer to the question, I don't find any one dialect inherently inferior to any other. Dialects tend to be based on regional or socio-economic isolation. In other words, we use the speech we hear around us all day. 

Also, language is constantly changing. If we take a group who all speak the same dialect and separate them for long enough, they will eventually be speaking two completely different dialects.

However, there is a dialect known as Standard American English. This is the English used in business and education. It is the language of power. In order to be successful in America, one should be able to use Standard American English. Without this ability, one is unlikely to be taken seriously by those who have power and authority. These are the people who will hire you, support you, connect you, bankroll you. Or not.

The Wicked English Teacher only corrects the grammar, punctuation, and spelling of people who are writing in a venue in which Standard American English is expected. 

So there you have it. What's your opinion on the question of whether one dialect is "superior" or "inferior"? By the way, MY Hillbilly has a very good grasp on Standard American English.