LINGUIST List 3.775

Wed 14 Oct 1992

Sum: Sociolinguistics Videos

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  1. Jon Aske, Sociolinguistics videos: Summary

Message 1: Sociolinguistics videos: Summary

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 92 11:16:43 EDSociolinguistics videos: Summary
From: Jon Aske <>
Subject: Sociolinguistics videos: Summary

Videos (and other AV materials) for sociolinguistics classes

1. American tongues: highly recommended by everyone
2. Crosstalk: recommended
3. Black on white (from the History of English series): recommended

1 . A M E R I C A N T O N G U E S

The Center for New American Media; a videotape [produced and directed] by
Andrew Kolker and Louis Alvarex. New York, NY: CNAM, c1986
57 min. 10 sec: sd., col. ; 1/2 in. + 1 instructional guide (12 p.)
Performer: Polly Holliday

*****From: Patrick Farrell (

... a video that I like to show to my Intro to Linguistics class in
place of a lecture about dialectology. It ...
is billed as a "documentary about the way people talk in the US."
Available from The Center for New American Media, 524 Broadway,
Second Floor, New York, NY 10012-4408. ... Students find it quite
entertaining. Lots of examples of different American dialects. Some
linguistic terminology explained and exemplified -- but not much.

*****From: "Scott, Helen G" <SCOTTHAC.GRIN.EDU>

It was prepared by Walt Wolfram, University of the District of Columbia and
the Center for Applied Linguistics. It is a project of The Center for
New American Media, 524 Broadway, Second Floor, New York, NY 10012-4408.
Telephone: (212) 925-5665. It's a great video!

*****From: (M. Lynne Murphy)

Rather untechnical video on American regional and socio-economic
dialects. Very entertaining.

*****From: (Laurel Sutton)

[It] was part of the P.O.V. series on PBS a few years backs. We are
showing it in the Ling.55 classes here at Berkeley and it's quite good.

****From: maynorRa.MsState.Edu (Natalie Maynor)

It's been on tv a good many times
during the past several years. I first saw it on the Discovery Channel
and later on PBS. It's light, entertaining, and clearly introductory
rather than deep, but it's also accurate and educational. I recommend it
highly for introductory classes. Although the emphasis was regional, it did
include a little bit on urban/social/ethnic dialects.


It was ... advertised in the newsletter of the American Dialect Society and
ADS may have had some involvement in its production or marketing. The
film (tape actually) is very well done and quite well received even here in
Canada where undergraduates can't be expected to relate immediately to US
varieties such as those of New Orleans or the Chesapeake Bay. The
tape is narrated by Polly Holliday (I think) who has a noticeable
regional accent. She played a character named Flo, if memory
serves, on the old TV show 'Alice'. Length is about an hour.
... the purchase info for American Tongues (from five years ago!):
available from The Center for New American Media, 524 Broadway, Second
Floor, New York, NY 10012-4408, at a then-advertised price of $250
(purchase), $25 (preview). Oops! I note that orders were actually
to be sent to: 'American Tongues, CNAM Film Library, 445 W. Main
St., Wyckoff, NJ 07481 (Tel. (201) 891-8240.'

*****From: GARCIA_JMCUBLDR.Colorado.EDU (Jule Gomez de Garcia)

... I ... teach a similar course ... called Language in U.S. Society and is an
undergraduate core curriculum course which usually draws about 200 students.
... I believe that the documentary you are referring to is "American Tongues,"
which was a high point of the class.

*****From: rubbabend.UCSD.EDU (Johanna Rubba)

The American dialect video is called "American Tongues" and should be in your
media library [I wish, JA].

*****From: "Judith H. Snoke" <ESLSNOKEVTVM1.CC.VT.EDU>

I recommend the film "American Tongues", shown as part of the PBS series:
Points of View (POV). It is very clever, witty, and infuriating. The first
part contrast regional dialects and some of the historical reasons for the
differences. The second part deals with the social costs and consequences of
these differences. I use the video regularly with my ESL classes. Other
teachers are obviously using it also, I have to reserve the film in advance.

*****From: (hans gilde)

It gives samples of rural and urban American English. It is an
excellent film. It was aired on PBS a number of years ago.

2 . C R O S S T A L K

Crosstalk was produced by the National Centre for Industrial Language
Training in association with the BBC Continuing Educational Dept. in 1979.
It appears to still be available, although the Video Source Book does not
list a price for it. It's about 30 minutes long and seems to have an
accompanying booklet of 59 pages with it.

*****From: (John Bro)

Have you heard of John Gumperz' BBC film Crosstalk?
Here's the bibliographical reference:
 Gumperz, J, Jupp, T. & Roberts, C. (1979).
 _Crosstalk: a Study of Cross-Cultural Communication_.
 London: National Center for Industrial Language Training
 in association with the BBC.
The film includes a number of case studies (generally role-play
re-creations) and analyses for the general public -- showing how
linguistic and paralinguistic factors can lead to cross-cultural
tensions, and racial stereotyping. The focus is on English/Asian
(i.e. Indian) interactions.

We use it every semester in Intro to Linguistics, Socioling, and in
advanced ESL classes. a


I also have used an older film (not tape) called 'Crosstalk' in
my Language and Power course. It deals with interethnic
miscommunication in Britain (between Brits and South Asians). Has
small sections in which Gumperz comments on why things have done
awry in interviews treated in the film. Length is 33 minutes. ...
It dates from about 1979 but I find it even more usable today than
I did a few years ago.

3 . H E S A I D , S H E S A I D ...

This is an excellent one hour summary of Deborah Tanne's book: _You just don't
understand: Women and men in conversation_ (1990; New York: Ballantine Books;
$10). It is a talk-show/interview with Deborah with questions from the
audience at the end. It aired in the Spring of 1992 during a PBS fundraising
drive. It should be available.

*****From: (M. Lynne Murphy)

There was a talk show with Deborah Tannen on PBS last year. (Her
name is in the title.) I haven't used this in class, but offer it to
students to watch and respond to for extra credit.

*****From: rubbabend.UCSD.EDU (Johanna Rubba)

There is also a show called "He said, She said" which is an
interview of Deborah Tannen on M/F differences in conversational style.
I have a personal copy recorded off the air, but contact your
local PBS TV station and in quire. It may be in lbiraries by now, too.

4 . B L A C K O N W H I T E

Part of the series _The Story of English_. Chicago, IL: Films Incorporated.
c1986. 9 videocassettes (VHS) (60 min. each): sd., col.; 1/2 in.; Producer,
William Cran; series writer, Robert McCrum; host and co-writer, Robert MacNeil.
 "Funded by a grant from General Foods, Inc. and the Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation."
 Part 1: An English speaking world
 Part 2: Mother tongue
 Part 3: A Muse of fire
 Part 4: The Guid Scots tongue
 Part 5: Black on white
 Part 6: Pioneers O! Pioneers!
 Part 7: The Muvver tongue
 Part 8: The loaded weapon
 Part 9: New year's words, a look into the future

**From: (M. Lynne Murphy)

The Story of English. The episode on Black English is good. (1 hour)
I am guessing that the Black on White episode is the right one. I don't

own them, so I can't look it up for sure.

I've not seen the whole rest of the series, but probably there is other
good stuff in there. Try taking a look at the companion book, The Story
of English. Each chapter is equivalent to one episode.

*****From: (Laurel Sutton)

There is another video called "Black on White" which is believe is part of the
Story of English seriesby Robert MacNeil.


some portions of some
episodes of the BBC/PBS series 'Story of English' have good
dialect stuff, particularly the one on Cockney and the one on
Scottish dialects/languages.]


**From: GARCIA_JMCUBLDR.Colorado.EDU (Jule Gomez de Garcia)

In talking about advertising, we showed the film "Still
killing us softly" which has to do with the abuse of women in magazine and
television advertisements. There is a male abuse version of this film
called something like "Stale rolls and tight buns," which I've never seen but
was highly recommended by a male Teaching Assistant who wanted equal time.

I also have (had?) a collection of Oprah, Donahue, and Geraldo tapes on
Official English, which always caused heated debates. Mine have commercials in
them because I taped them directly off the TV. I believe that you can get
copies from the networks (for a price, I'm sure). They all aired four years
ago when Colorado was in the midst of its campaign for an official English
amendment. (It passed.)

Barbar Fox taught the course here one semester and
set up a weekly movie viewing that included movies like "The Dollmaker" and
"My Fair Lady."


**From: (M. Lynne Murphy)

*GRAPHICS- I make overhead projector slides out of some of the 2-color maps
and diagrams and charts in David Crystal's Cambridge Encyclopedia of
Language. Making slides from linguistic atlases could be interesting too.
I've also used examples of creoles in context (road signs, etc.) from the
Cambridge Encyclopedia.


**From: Michael Kac <>

The one thing I know of for sure is a sound recording made a number of
years ago by the NCTE called 'Americans Speaking'. It's really just
dialectological, not sociolinguistic, though the two are hard to separate
in some cases. And it can be used to grind some methodological axes.

... It was produced originally as a phonograph
recording by the NCTE (from whom it may still be available in some form); I
myself have it on tape, taken off the original record (which I don't own).

It consists of samples of speech from six speakers (I think) representing
several major dialect groupings: Inland NOrthern, South Midland, Plantation
South, etc. Each speaker is heard reading a set text containing the familiar
shibboleths and then in a 'free' passage which, in some cases at least, sounds
pre-planned and carefully rehearsed.

It'ws useful for certain purposes -- for example, there is a tendency for
Americans to think that there is a single, homogeneous 'Southern accent' and
the South Midland and Plantation South speakers put that one to rest very
vividly. It also provides a way of illustrating what's wrong methodologically
with some of the way dialectolog was done pre-Labov. I alluded, for example, to
the free passage sounding rehearsed in some cases; it's also clear in some
others that the informants are college students being interviewed on their
campuses, no doubt by faculty from their own institutions. Finally, there is
a New York City speaker who is totally useless -- a schoolteacher who has
expunged virtually all of the native phonology from her speech (and is another
of the ones who sounds rehearsed in the 'free' section).

You may or may find (I mean, may not find) it useful. At any rate, I think
I've given you a fair indicator of what it entails.

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