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LINGUIST List 16.1402

Mon May 02 2005

Qs: Linguistically Significant Films;American Dialects

Editor for this issue: Jessica Boynton <jessicalinguistlist.org>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Michael Barrie, Linguistically Significant Films
        2.    Stan Anonby, American Dialects

Message 1: Linguistically Significant Films
Date: 29-Apr-2005
From: Michael Barrie <mike.barrieutoronto.ca>
Subject: Linguistically Significant Films

A while ago, a list of linguistically significant films was posted on
Linguist List.


This was in Nov. 1996, thus in need of an update. I would be interested in
compiling a list of more recent films that we can add to this list (and
older films that were missed last time). Also, if anyone knows any
linguistically significant novels, I would be happy to receive those, as
well, as it fits in this general category. I will post a summary.

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Message 2: American Dialects
Date: 29-Apr-2005
From: Stan Anonby <stan-sandy_anonbySIL.ORG>
Subject: American Dialects

Hello All,

I have a question, which came to my mind while watching the TV
show "Home Improvements". The show is set in Detroit. Once in a while,
there are a group of Caucasian construction people who appear on the
show. They talk in what sounds like to me to be a southern accent. This is
obviously supposed to be very funny. I'm not American, so I don't
understand all the nuances of this. I've got some theories.

1) Uneducated Caucasians in the US talk like Southerners.
2) Caucasians who do manual labor are often Southerners.
3) Americans find it very funny to hear someone talk in a southern dialect
on TV. So "Home Improvements" isn't portraying language as it is actually
spoken by Caucasian construction workers in Detroit. It's just a put-on for

I realize it's not too easy to explain why something is funny, but does
anyone want to give it a shot?

Stan Anonby

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)

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