What is the acrolect and basilect in your country?

Sven   Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:23 pm GMT
Various linguistics textbooks define 'acrolect' as the variety of a language with the most prestige and 'basilect' as the variety of a language which is the most stigmatised.

In Norway, where I live, the Oslo accent is the acrolect - probably because it is the language of our capital - and the language of Toten is the most stigmatised - probably because it is associated with a heavily industrialised area.

I find this subject fascinating and would be very interested to learn what the acrolect and basilect is in your country.
Myself   Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:41 pm GMT
In Spain , the acrolect would be the spanish talked in some parts of Castilla-Leon region, for example in Salamanca ( a university city similar to Oxford in England ).
And the basilect would be the " andalusian ", which is a vairety of spanish talked in the south of Spain ( Andalucia ) and is very incorrect , plenty of mistakes, a pronunciation very particular . It's normally associated with peasants, uneducated persons, illiterates etc.

In catalan language, the acrolect would be the catalan talked in " Barcelona ", in fact the standard catalan is based on " barcelona dialect " ( barceloní ) , and about the basilect i think a catalan person will can answer you better than me .
american nic   Sun Aug 21, 2005 10:53 pm GMT
Not that this should shock anyone, but the acrolect in the States is probably some generic-sounding Midwestern or Western accent, while the basilect(s) are probably Southern (particularily Texan) and New York accents.

I wonder if there's a map of where in each country the acrolect(s) and the basilect(s) are located...
american nic   Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:11 pm GMT
Scratch that...I misunderstood the definition of acrolect...silly me.

I would have to say that in the US, the acrolect is probably the Boston Brahmin accent.
Sander   Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:18 pm GMT
With Dutch, the 'acrolect' is that you have no dialect.Which in a way is a Dialect (more of an accent really) on itself. ;)

There are 2 real basilects , Brabantic , which is considered 'peasantish' and 'Achterhoeks/Twents' , which is considered plain uncivilized.
Ryan   Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:57 pm GMT
I consider the Appalachian "Jerry Springer" dialect to be the basilect in the United States.
Uriel   Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:28 am GMT
Yeah, well I think I've only heard two people with the "Boston Brahmin" accent in my life -- Charles on "M*A*S*H" and Kelsey Grammer on "Frasier", so I don't know that it's common enough to be the acrolect. Plus it honestly just sounds a little weird -- too many T's or something. Overpronunciation, I guess.
Travis   Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:37 am GMT
american nic, don't forget about African American Vernacular English when it comes to basilects in the US. At least here, it is very strongly basilectal with respect to its relationship of the general prevailing native dialect of the area (I say native because AAVE was brought here from the South with the movement of significant portions of the black population of such to northern cities). One note about such is that the two do not exist in any continuum on a local level, and there is no smooth transition between the two whatsoever, which I expect would not be true with respect to AAVE in the South and other southern NAE dialects.
Deborah   Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:40 am GMT
I think the days of the Boston Brahmin accent being the acrolect are long over. It might have been the acrolect up through the 1930's and possibly early 1940's. These days days, I think it's the General American accent.
Uriel   Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:50 am GMT
Ah, but AAVE is now cool, Travis, so it's not exactly in the same boat as hillbillyspeak -- there's another facet to it.
Brennus   Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:31 am GMT
In all of the European countries the "acrolect" seems to be whatever is spoken in the capital city. For example, in Romania it would be the Romanian (Rumanian) of Bucharest while the vernaculars of of Oltenia, Transylvania, Bucovina and Moldavia are considered hayseed dialects.

In the United States, the variety of American English spoken in Washington D.C. (similar to neighboring Maryland) never had a prestigious status. The prestigious standard was the r-less New England variety before World War II and has been the so-called "General American" since the war. I would agree with American Nic that the "basilects" in the U.S. are those of the South and New York, at least that of working class New Yorkers. In Canada, it would be the English of Newfoundland which was not even part of Canada until 1947.
Dave P   Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:02 am GMT
I disagree with Brennus. In England, the acrolect is RP (Received Pronunciation). This is a social rather than regional variety and is therefore not associated with our capital city, London. There are a few basilects: Brummie (working-class Birmingham speech), Scouse (working-class Liverpool speech) and Cockney, which actually is associated with London! Mesolects (those varieties with mid-prestige/stigma) generally tend to be rural or national varieties.
Brennus   Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:41 am GMT
Dave P.

I'm afraid I see it differently from my side of the Atlantic. From what I have read, the London dialect is not only preeminient in England, it has actually been spreading throughout the country since the late 18th century. Hardly any dialect spoken in England today hasn't been affected by it to a greater or lesser degree. Even in Scotland it is displacing Scots English since it is the main language of business and commerce in Britain. Non-London English is really North American English, especially in its General American form. It is essentially 17th century English and dates back to a time before the London dialect began expanding and eclipsing the other English dialects.
Kirk   Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:17 am GMT
<<Non-London English is really North American English.....>>

???...Brennus your comments on dialects continue to have no linguistic basis...are you still claiming English only has three dialects worldwide?

<<especially in its General American form. It is essentially 17th century English...>>

I won't go there.

<<Scratch that...I misunderstood the definition of acrolect...silly me.

I would have to say that in the US, the acrolect is probably the Boston Brahmin accent.>>

I think I'd have to go with your first comments, american nic. The Boston Brahmin accent doesn't sound low-class to me but it doesn't particularly register as a prestigious dialect on a national level. Also, it's relatively rare even in Boston, and I think you'd be very hard-pressed to find such speakers anywhere outside of Boston and its environs. I've never met a Boston Brahmin speaker in my life and I've been all over North America. I think what you originally said about the US's acrolect is more true.
Guest   Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:55 am GMT
>>In all of the European countries the "acrolect" seems to be whatever is spoken in the capital city.<<

So it is in Hungary. The acrolect is mostly the dialect of Budapest. A somewhat peculiar but not stigmatised dialect is that spoken around the southern city of Szeged, which subtitutes "ö" for the standard closed "e" - thus, in the local dialect, the name of the city becomes "Szöged", and "ember" ("man") bercomes "embör". The local inhabitants make it a point of pride to keep this dialect alive, so it may be considered the local acrolect. It is perhaps the most accepted of all non-standard dialects.

The basilects, on the other hand, are mainly the dialects spoken in the eastern parts of the country, which are regarded as the most backward areas. Perhaps the most stigmatised dialect is the variety spoken by Gypsies - it is often imitated in comedy shows for humorous effect.