Dialects Of English And Language Learning

We’ve just got back from a Surfside Beach, SC Family Vacation and haven’t been doing a lot of posting lately. I think I’ll be aiming for a monthly posting (give or take a bit), which should give me more time to work on the pages, which are where the real content of the site is.

Anyway, I saw an interesting public television set of shows on some of the many dialects in North Carolina. (In fact I expect to talk a bit more about it at my North Carolina Genealogy site.) Along the coast there is a brogue that has similarities with the English of some of the earliest colonists. Some of the islands were faily isolated for generations and the vocabulary and pronunciation is different enough that some people mistake it for a slight Australian or Irish accent depending on the speaker. They also talked about the Lumbee dialect in Robeson County, which has some similarites and the dialects in the Mountains were discussed as well.

When you think about the variations within your native language it certainly makes you appreciate the challenge that a non-native speaker faces in trying to understand the spoken language. I know I’ve had trouble with understanding my own native language at times depending on the speaker.

This should give us a bit more confidence as well in learning a foreign language because you KNOW that there are variations in that language as well. The vocabulary from one region to another can vary wildly. Some words may be in common use in one place for day to day use and an obscenity elsewhere. Pronunciation and pace of speaking can vary from rural to urban areas or country to country.

It’s certainly the best practice to try to learn the most standardized form of the language you’re interested in. Then you can start from a neutral point and learn to understand some of the more common dialects or accents.

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