Accent Questions

General_Ricardo   Friday, October 29, 2004, 11:51 GMT
Seriously, could anyone provide more ebonics examples? I really enjoy readin and listenin to em
Toasté   Friday, October 29, 2004, 14:11 GMT
"useless intellectual gobbledy-gook" Hostile, hostile.

I'm just sharing the information as I understand it. I didn't realize we all had to bow down and worship your opinion.

I'm just saying that, as I understand it, the Pennsylvania/New York accent that came to Canada reflected a mixture of linguistic influences from throughout England and lowland Scotland --- because the religious non-conformists who generally settled the region came from all over the place. This is the language that the Loyalists brought to Ontario and sounded different from GAE.

(This does not apply to the accent in the Maritimes, whose accent is linked to Loyalists who came from New England).

I'm not saying that the GAE was unused in Canada before the CBC... what I am saying is that 100 years ago Canada and Ontario had a wider variety of regional accents - for example the Ottawa Valley accent.

These have fallen away in favour of GAE... and I think that is a result of the the influence of broadcasting.

And, by the way, Joual is not a 'corruption' of French... it is a fascinating regional dialect of Quebec French that has a lot to say about the people who spoke it. It's too bad it is looked down upon by language snobs.
James   Friday, October 29, 2004, 16:09 GMT
I reject the whole idea of 'good' speakers. I doubt that there are any concepts, feelings, expressions which this dialect is not capable of expressing. If we have an idea of a good and bad speech then surely we should have some offical organisation dictating what is correct and incorrect as they do in France. I too am not racist (or nationalist) but for the love of god we do not want to go down the French road. Half the country uses words such as weekend and email and a few academics shake thier heads and tut because one language has been influenced by another.
Steve K   Friday, October 29, 2004, 16:20 GMT

I am not sure where I asked you to bow down and worship. I simply stated my opinion that much if not most of the pseudo-science taught under the heading of sociolinguistics and related "linguistics" theory that I have seen is pure nonsense. I also consider joual, ebonics, and similar slang ridden " languages" to sound uneducated and not be worth emulating for anyone outside the in-group. Just my opinion.

Accents evolve. Even individuals in the same accednt group all speak differently to some extent. In my opinion the Canadian accent is identifiably different from although certainly similar to accents in the Mid-West and US West Coast. But it is also similar to the Ulster English in some ways. I do not believe anyone could purport to separate all the influences on present day Canadian English given the waves of immigration to Canada from Ulster, Scotland and Ireland during the 19th century. But it all started with the Loyalists who brought with them the accent used in the United States at that time. The accents prevalent today up and down the Atlantic seaboard of the US are probably the result of the influence of further immigration after 1776.

That broadcasting has brought about greater uniformity of accents is true everywhere and not unique to Canada and does not explain our accent.
Toasté   Friday, October 29, 2004, 17:17 GMT
No, your right. It doesn't explain our accent's existence. But it does help explain why it became our 'national' accent.

I agree with you to a certain extent about that linguistics 'theory' and sociolinguistics haven't exactly got it right yet... but linguistics theory has nothing to really to do with this discussion. And it's not productive to deride it because without theories you never eventually find the truth.

I find you a contradiction - on one hand you deride educated 'theory' as 'useless intellectual gobbledygood' and on the other hand you deride Joual and other cultural language variants as sounding uneducated.

Tell me... what do you think about people who use Received Pronunciation and consider Canadian English (and all other regional variants) and to sound inferior and uneducated?

What do you think about when you hear, as I recently saw in another thread here, that Quebecois French sounds terrible and should be avoided?
Steve K   Friday, October 29, 2004, 19:03 GMT
I have never derided anyone's accent. I have consistently suggested that learners imitate the accent that they find the most appealing or useful. In Quebec that is French ( not joual) spoken with a Quebecois accent. Nor should Quebecois feel shy about their accent. However, joual is an an uneducated slang or pidgin French. Many Quebecois cannot speak educated French, to their disadvantage.

Intellectual gobbledy-gook written for a rarified group of initiates is not "educated" language anymore than so-called post-modernism is of any meaning to the average person. None of this would matter except that considerable public money supports these kind of useless activities. I do not see the contradiction between stating that fact and recommending educated standards of English or other languages as being the most universally useful and worthy of emulation.
Toasté   Friday, October 29, 2004, 19:50 GMT
I disagree... language standardization... even to some agreed 'educated' standard... occurs to the detriment of that language. Patois, creole languages, cultural dialects and even 'pidgin' (a loaded word if I ever heard one) all serve a purpose and contribute useful words to the main 'trunk' language. They make it stronger.

Every Romance language started out as an 'uneducated' version of Latin. Modern German started off as a 'bastardization' of classical German. That is the nature of language.

Joual is dying off because it was shunned by intellectual Quebecers, but they also could have embraced it, provided it with a structure, and seen it grow into a separate viable, 'Quebecois' language with a literature. Even though that didn't happen, it doesn't mean the language is without value.

We can debate on the appropriate uses of public money, and public support for minority cultures, but I suspect we would come to the discussion from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and I don't see any value in that.