Provides a study of the distinctive characteristics, dialects, cultural innovations, and ethnic eccentricities of American regional English, discussing the unique qualities of language in the South, New England, and the Midwest.
Where are you when people go to the coast instead of the beach tote things as well as carry them wait on line instead of in line get groceries in a paper sack instead of a paper bag say things like The baby needs picked up” and The car needs washed” eat solid rectangular doughnuts that are also called beignets complain when something is spendy (costly”) are chilled by a blue norther ask for tonic instead of soda go dahntahn” to shop.Allan Metcalf answers these and many other fascinating questions in his new book, How We Talk: American Regional English Today. In short, delightful essays, Metcalf explains the key features that make American speech so expressive and distinct. He begins in the South, home of the most easily recognized of American dialects, and travels north to New England, then on to the Midwest and the far West, even to Alaska and Hawaii. It’s all here: the northern Midwest Fargo” accent, Louisiana Cajun and New Orleans Yat, dropped r’s as in Boston’s Hahvahd Yahd,” and intrusive r’s as in Warshington,” especially common in America’s midlands. With additional chapters on ethnic dialects and dialects in the movies, Metcalf reveals the resplendence of one our nation’s greatest natural resources its endless and varied talk.