January 24, 2011

Dialect Vlog

So, I saw this meme going around and the nerdy English major in me was so excited, I just HAD to do it. Plus, it seemed like a good excuse for an inaugural vlog. Be sure and watch the whole thing for a special announcement!

By the way, I just have to say how pleased I am that this is called a DIALECT meme and not an ACCENT meme. Most people haven't even heard of the term dialect. As Americans, we all speak different DIALECTS of the same language, meaning we may pronounce the same words different ways, but it's all still a variant form of American English.

Which is why, for example, regardless of what some of the more priggish in our country would like to admit, it is still perfectly grammatically correct to say "y'all," at least in the vernacular. I'd still recommend avoiding it in formal writing. :)

To have an accent, you'd have to speak English as a second language.

People from Louisiana and New Jersey speak English with different dialects. People from France and Germany speak English with different accents.

And, technically, British English and American English are two different languages, not different dialects. Just in case you were wondering.

Was that boring enough? :) Okay. On to the vlog!

Can I just say how excited I am that my voice doesn't sound horribly whiney?? Although I have to say, the webcam HAS to add 10 pounds. Please.

If you want to do it, too, here are the words and questions:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?


  1. HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD SOMEONE FROM NY/BOSTON SAY WATER?!?!?!? It's one of my favorite words to hear other people say! I tried really hard to find a video for you but came up empty! I went on a few dates with a guy from NYC and I think the reason it didn't work out is because I must have asked him 1,000,000 times to say water for me (among other things)!

    I loves me some scavenger hunts, so I'm super excited about your giveaway =)

  2. We say things the same except I call a fizzy drink a pop. I've noticed Oklahomans differ in what we call it, no idea why. :)

  3. I will hit my 500th tomorrow. Crazy. Cant wait to hear all the clues. We talk very similar I figured OK would have a stronger dialect then the south, but I guess not.

  4. I say "cran" instead of "crayon" lol...and it's pop in my world!!!! I agree, everything is tennis shoes :-)

    Lol I did the exact same thing with the tv changer...at first I said, what else could it be?? Oh clicker!!

    Interesting :-)

  5. HAHAHA This made me adore you even more! Especially your answer to "What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?" Perfect answer! ;)

  6. Coke it is! Occasionally I will say soda but usually it is coke.

    I have been thinking about doing this for a few days but I do not know if I even want to attempt a vlog.

  7. I loved your vlog. We say most things the same, but i noticed a few differences. Oh and I always called rain when the sun was shining a heat shower. :) weird I know. LoL

  8. It's a pop :)

    Yay for 500th post giveaway! I intend to win.

  9. How fun to have stumbled upon your blog/vlog today!

    I see you had a few questions about the word list. Here's my two cents on those--

    RE: Water -- There are several variations within the US. (Most of which are too subtle to express here using written English. Here's one that can be expressed without resorting to using The International Phonetic alphabet: In some regions you'll hear something similar to 'warter.'

    RE: Caught --Some pronounce an 'AW' sound for the vowel rather than the 'AH' you use in your own dialect. To make this sound draw the sides of the mouth/lips forward as you say 'AH.' You may find that you already use this sound when you say something like 'Awwwwww, that's a cute puppy.' -- Or not. You may say 'Ahhhhhhh, cute puppy.' You'll hear different versions of the 'AW' sound in different regions too.

    The more you investigate accents and dialects, the more you'll start to see that within the field of linguistics there are continuous and healthy debates as to how these terms 'should' be used. As a dialect coach for actors, the definition I've personally adopted is the one that asserts that 'accent' encompasses how words themselves are pronounced while 'dialect' also takes into account word usage. (Side note: In the field of linguistics the various forms of British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, South African English are most typically classified as dialects of a single language.)

    Here's another fun linguistics term -- 'idiolect' -- This is the term given for an individual's personal dialect. Each of us has our very own!

    Speaking of which, during your vlog you inadvertently offered up another word sample from your dialect/idiolect--'pronunciation.' The majority of people in the US pronounce this word using 'NUN' as the second syllable, while some (you!) happen to pronounce the second syllable as 'NOUN.'

    If you really want to have a field day with dialects, visit Rick Aschmann's labor of love: http://aschmann.net/AmEng/ Rick is a missionary whose job is working with Native American languages, but his hobby has been creating this incredibly detailed (and ever expanding) map of North American dialects.

    Your entry doesn't mention where you found this meme. I'd love to know!

    Joy to you,

    Pamela Vanderway

  10. It's so nice to hear your voice! Maybe one day, when I'm brave enough, I'll do a vlog.

    I would have a German accent (some people can't hear it and think I'm from Canada) with a Washingtonian (as in WA) dialect. :)

  11. I did a dialect vlog on my site too, it looked too fun on your blog :)

    I can tell where my dialect originates from though... I don't even know where I'm from

  12. OMG. I freakin' love you!!

    It is MOST DEFINITELY "coke"!!!! I say the same thing!! Maybe it's an OK thing? I also say caramel the same way. =) I think I'm gonna have to do this now.

  13. oh I love the idea of the scavenger hunt...fun!

    and I enjoyed your vlog...I might just have to do this as well =)

  14. I love that you're having a scavenger hunt! It sounds very exciting. And when it rains during sunshine, we call it a sunshower up here in Canada. Once my cold goes away, I'm totally going to do this too, but right now I can barely talk normally lol.

  15. I am thinking about performing a reverse cell look up by going online. I'm receiving all these phone calls by someone who I don't know and am concerned who believe that they're calling. Lots of strange texting as well as messages are being left on my personal voice mail and its starting to drive me nuts. And so, where do I find these reverse phone research websites?


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