July 17, 2013
Every user of English, and perhaps every language, speaks a variant, or subspecies of the language. British English, it could be argued, is more formal and American English is more casual if not...
But if you are learning the American version of English, you should take some time to clarify and distinguish which 'dialect' you are absorbing.
As I've mentioned before, there are a variety of pronunciations, meanings and even vocabularies across North America.
With countries as large as the USA and Canada, especially with such varying and unique streams of immigrants, some of which are in isolated little towns, corners or even literal islands, not to mention specific terrain, weather conditions and vocational opportunities, what I might call language islands are inevitable.
If you happen to travel across this massive continent, I'd advise you to take a look here - http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/ - for some of the linguistic oddities you are likely to encounter.
And even you don't visit North America, you might pay attention to English as it is used in movies and popular songs, you just might hear one of those regional words and a scene or a song might have a completely different meaning than you first thought.
All I can say is, tread carefully through this language, and be sure to send me any language usages or historical nuances that interest you, and be sure to let me know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.
Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.
Also: for the first time in several years, Morf is available this August (and possibly even for a new full-time position) to visit your school or program, or even host or be a guest on your radio program. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. As you can probably guess, Morf can talk or teach about just about anything related to language learning, linguistics and cultural changes.
Posted by mmorf at July 17, 2013 06:52 PM