Do You Speak American?
by: Robert MacNeil and William Cran
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Reviewed by Andrea Sisco
Language is not constant. It is continually evolving with cultural and ethnic influences impacting a region's speech. Authors Robert MacNeil and William Cran have examined the English language through interviewing native speakers and observing the verbal interactions of people across the country.
I found Do You Speak American? fascinating. As a native speaker from the Midwest, it always surprises me when I'm traveling that people can pinpoint where I'm from. Being from the Midwest, I always thought that I didn't have an "accent." Wrong! My speech patterns, class, choice of words, word order, pronunciation (vowel changes) and perhaps the media's affect on speech, give me away.
The authors' journey across the country, studying regional conversations, is interesting and enlightening and offers explanations that might surprise the reader. I particularly enjoyed the sections on teaching computers to speak American; the one on Hispanic immigration and its impact on American language; and the section on bad-mouthing black English
While Do You Speak American? is not an in-depth study, it is a wonderful beginning for those who are interested in the subject.
Armchair Interviews says: If you enjoy words and are curious about how Americans speak, you'll enjoy Do You Speak American?
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