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The Breakup of Languages



     From UDLA, Puebla, Michael Toth writes:
     A few postings back, there seemed a preoccupation that language would go the way of regionalization, and not globalization -- with Spanish downsizing into Chilean Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Spanish Spanish, etc, and English spwaning off American English, Scottish English, Jesse Venturian English, etc.


     My opinion is that a nuance needs to be made. In Mexico, this process appears underway. Movies made and produced in Cuba and Spain are often shown to Mexican audiences with the aid of sub-titles. [This startles me. Can anyone confirm this? Ronald Hilton
     However, in the United States, the opposite is true. The rise of a media culture -- where Americans from Florida to Seattle watch the same television programs and movies, listen to the same music, and often times wear the same fashion -- has led among other things to a certain decline of spoken accents. Occasionally, as de-regionalization often does, this causes a localized political backlash, witness the move to teach Ebonics, or Black English, in Oakland, California. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that any American student would have to learn a form of English that's different from standard English. Then again, it's also unfortunate that what many now consider standard English comes from Hollywood.

Ronald Hilton - 2/24/00


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