Ling - Reading Presentation gen - Language in US Society...

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Language in US Society Reading Presentation February 6, 2008 EWAA Ch. 10 – Hillbillies, rednecks, and southern belles (202-216) Summary/Evaluation: The overall point of chapter 10 in this reading was that the southern accent is judged and misinterpreted. The United States has a tendency to relate southern accents with ignorance, illiteracy, daftness, idiocy, and so on. The main criticizers of the south and their accent are the northerners. Anyone that is not from the south generalizes the south and assumes that there is no distinction throughout it, and that everyone has the same southern accent. The reading calls this “producing the one-size-fits-all accent when attempting to “sound southern.”” The US population seems to want to combine the south and identify it as distinct from the north, and even other parts of the country. Southerners are both promoting and rejecting this process. Southerners tend to be proud of their heritage and where they come from, and like to differentiate itself from the north. But as soon as the south is called terms such as “hick,” they get defensive and upset. From research and polls that were conducted, it is increasingly being shown that the southern accent is strongly connected to preconceived southern values and social differences. Southern accents are defined, not only by syntax and phonology, but now also by history, culture, fashions, and reputation. Bourdieu’s strategies of condescension are referred to here. “This is a tactic whereby an empowered individual – someone with social legitimacy in terms of employment and language and other kinds of authority – appropriates the subordinated language for a short period of time.” This is common in our society, as can be seen by more prestigious individuals such as Strom Thurman, Al Gore, Julia Roberts, and William Styron. Despite these more prominent public figures, the image that to come to
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  • Spring '08
  • ZIMMAN,LAL
  • Southern United States, Southern Accent

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