Search This Blog

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Regional Dialect

Regional Dialect: Dialect refers to specific speech patterns within a language; therefore regional dialect refers to speech patterns recognizable in a specific geographic location, regardless of race or social class. For example, use of the contrived word, ain't, although it has spread to other locations, is distinctly southern and is common across socio-economic classes and ethnic groups.

An Example from Literature: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

The cow nuzzles at me, moaning. "You’ll just have to wait. What you got in you ain’t nothing to what I got in me, even if you are a woman too." She follows me, moaning.

My Try: Lou Ellen's cell phone blurted out a yelp that made Lou Ellen jump. It was Roy. She pressed the key with the green phone icon. "Hey," she answered.

"Where you at?" said Roy.

"Home," Lou Ellen told him, not wanting to say much more.

Roy's voice pushed, "Who all's there?" He always wanted an update on the status of things before he could ever get to the point of his call. It was something that drove Lou Ellen most crazy about him; and not crazy in the good way.

"Just Netty," she sighed.

"She ain't still goin' on 'bout that Junior League thing is she?" asked Roy, always amazed at how women could hold on to irritation like a man holds on to teenage longings.

Lou Ellen didn't want to say much. She knew something was bad wrong. Netty didn't look right in the face, like she'd gone and snapped a twig just like her mama did. "No," replied Lou Ellen. "Says she's fixin' to tell me somethin' real important, that she's got some kinda news." Lou Ellen was well aware of Roy's latent crush on Netty and she braced herself for his response.

"Well tell her to go on and fix some lunch while she's fixin' on stuff, 'cause I'm on my way home."

In what region do you live? Is it distinguished by a particular way of speaking? Do tell.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 22nd - Simile


welcome to my world of poetry said...

I have a broad west country accent having been reared in Brisol UK.
One can tell as soon as I speak where I come from,

Loved your post,
Have a good day.

Arlee Bird said...

I've tried to capture the way people in East Tennessee talk. That's where I used to live before I came to Los Angeles, which doesn't seem to have any one standard regional dialect. I think dialect should be handled carefully as it can be difficult to understand if a reader isn't accustomed to it.

It took me a while to get into the dialect of Huckleberry Finn. I reread it a couple years ago as my wife read it. She had a very difficult time with the dialog since English is her second language. I would have to interpret and explain many passages to her.

I like to get the sense of color of language, but I don't like it to distract from the story being told.

Tossing It Out

Brianna said...

I think we share a love of Southern Writers. Am I wrong? I'm so looking forward to after the challenge because I have a southern writers post in my head dying to get out. capture the southern dialect beautifully! You have a real handle on it.

I'm from West Virginia - the northern part of the state. I live in PA now and my husband has pointed out what he calls 'WV' words - pop rather than soda crick rather than creek and my brother and sisters and I call my father 'daddy.'

The further south you go in WV, the more of an accent you can detect. Check out the show 'Coal' on Spike TV to hear more.

Netty's mama had a breakdown and now it looks like Netty's headin' the same way. Roy's got something to do with this ...I think. I'm on the edge of my seat!

the writing pad said...

I live in wales, UK, a tiny Principality which nonetheless has lots of regional dialects, with accents and vocabulary differing in towns as little as a few miles apart. I recognised your excellent 'deep south' dialect, because of Hollywood(!) but I doubt some subtle nuances of UK dialects would be as immediately obvious to an overseas reader? I'd be interested to know whether the UK is regarded only as, e.g. either 'posh' or 'cockney', or whether our more localised speech patterns are known of abroad?
Thanks for a thought-provoking R post :-)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thank you Lucy for the comment, Yes it's still a library.My brother still visits it as he lives nearby.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Fun blog, and great use of dialect. Ubetcha there's a bit of regionalism in my neck of the woods. Uff-da, I could go on, don'tcha know.

Laura Eno said...

As Lee said, Los Angeles (and SoCal in general) doesn't really have a regional dialect...unless you count the 'Valley Girl' speak in the '80s. :)

M Pax said...

Probably there is. Only I've only been here a few years and most folks I know are from elsewhere like me.

Where I grew up, there was definitely one. And NYC definitely has dialects. DC didn't really -- everybody was from somewhere else.

Tundiel said...

What a perfect post for me to stumble on in my quest to return comments in the A-Z!

I'm from Wales in the UK, and we do indeed have a regional accent. Most people call us 'Taffies', as the villages and towns in the area around the River Taff have varying degrees of a really 'Welshie' accent. We drop letters such as 'g' and 'g', roll several words together, and pepper our speech with (mostly harmless) cuss words.

I say this post is perfect for our introduction because a lot of my blog posts take the mickey out of Taffies and the way we speak. So, so apt.
Thanks for the comment!

Tundiel said...

I meant 'g' and 'h', not 'g' and 'g'... it's been a long day LOL.

Ella said...

Great post; Nice to meet you~
I'm a Yankee living in the would be difficult for me. I am starting to talk with both dialects, which is funny to some! ;-D

Martha (MM) said...

You did a great job with it - now I want to know what's going on with Netty!

Mike said...

People have said that they can tell I was raised in Chicago by my "Chicago accent"! How ridiculous is that? It's "everyone else" that has the accent......ain't it?