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Of accents & dialects

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 14:30
On 2008-10-20 R A Brown wrote:
> Similarly, if we say someone is speaking with a > certain regional accent, we mean that the person > is speaking more or less standard English with a > phonology characteristic of that region.
And that's what I meant with "accent". The line noise between me and Lars was due to the fact that the Scandinavian languages lack a term for '(regional or social) accent' and generally use _dialekt_ to cover that too, beside the same meaning which _dialect_ has in English. There is a term _brytning_ (lit. 'breaking') for 'foreign accent' but that word is **not** applied to native accents. Linguists and phoneticians of course have a term, viz. _regionaluttal_ ('regional pronunciation') but that has no currency at all in nonspecialist language, and of course nonspecialists are usually not aware that _dialekt_ actually **has** a double meaning, or how different traditional dialects actually are from standard language with regional pronunciation, unless they have some knowledge of a regional dialect which still is vital and which differs markedly from local standard Swedish -- though of course it is mainly those markedly different traditional dialects which are vital at all. I don't know if the situation in Norway is markedly different, although my hunch is that the slogan "speak dialect, write Nynorsk" if anything makes the situation even more confused; can a Southeasterner who writes and mostly reads only Bokmål tell the difference between someone speaking a Western or Northern traditional dialect and someone from those areas speaking standard Nynorsk? I don't know anything at all about the situation in Denmark either, bit it would seem that the status of traditional dialects there is even worse than in Sweden, and much worse than in Norway. I do know that a nortn Jutish traditional dialect is easier for me to follow than any accent of standard Danish because I have some knowledge of a traditional dialect from right across the Skagerrack, but OTOH I can't tell different accents of standard Danish apart. On 2008-10-21 R A Brown wrote:
> In the colloquial English of West Sussex when i was a lad in the > 1940s & 50s, present tense was regularized in that all persons ended > in -(e)s, not just the 3rd singular, e.g. I goes, we goes, they goes > etc.
Incidentally standard Swedish, Norwegian and Danish all have extended the old 3rd singular _-r_ ta all persons of both numbers, while some traditional dialects retain more or less of the old person-number endings. OTOH I once heard a wan speaking dialect-influenced standard Swedish use _-r_ in the imperative too, which sounded quaint to me. Unfortunately the situation wasn't such that I could ask which part of the country he came from, but he sounded like he came from the North, where traditional dialects have lost most or all unstressed final syllables, so it may have been a hypercorrection. /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*, c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>
Lars Mathiesen <thorinn@...>