Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We talk funny: How we actually speak

Here's the second part at the look at the ways we "talk" in North Carolina. I've always been fascinated with this subject, especially after reading Walt Wolfram's "Hoi Toid on the Outer Banks." This one is actually just that -- the various dialects. And, boy, are there a lot of them in North Carolina. (See part 1 here.)

The North Carolina Language and Life Project at N.C. State (Go Pack!) has done amazing research in cataloging the various dialects all across the state. As its website states, the goals of the project are:
  • To gather basic research information about language variety in order to understand the nature of language variation and change.

  • To provide information about language differences and language change for public and educational interests.

  • To use the material collected in research projects for the improvement of educational programs about language and culture.
  • To preserve the rich heritage of language variety in North Carolina as it reflects the different cultural traditions of its residents.

I'm personally always trying to detect peoples' roots based on their inflections, pronunciations and even pauses. (I'm a bit of a geek that way.) You can see some of the various research findings on places such as Crusoe Island, Louisburg (one of my favorites because of the lilt), Ocracoke, Graham County, Raleigh, Durham and many others.

Here are some youtube clips that show the variety in regional dialects just in N.C. alone. (Here's a link to the NCLLP's channel.)

The project even has an online media store where you can purchase some of their work.

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