So how did you go with Monday’s eye dialect challenge? Australians should have relatively little problem reading the sign above, but non-Australians may not have found it as easy to understand.
Below is my translation. Some bits were more straightforward for me than others, so if you have any insights or different opinions please share!
how [are] you going?
what do you reckon, do you
want to come in
have a gander?
Notes: day mate is a shorted form of g’day (good day) mate, a common(ly recognised) greeting in Australia.
Reckon is a common term in Australian English, so much that it’s become grammaticalised compared to other varieties of English.
Gander is a common colloquial form in Australian English that means ‘have a look’.
Ripper means excellent or fantastic in Australian English (and maybe to an extent British English). You can tell from the -a ending for this and gander that Australian English is not rhotic.
Finally, ‘you beauty’ is a common phrase in Australia to also indicate strong approval. It’s best typified by Michael Williamson’s commentary of the 1970 VFL grandfinal, when Alex Jesaulenko took a spectacular mark (a catch on the full, for those who don’t know Australian football). The mark, and the phrase, have now entered Australian folklore, as demonstrated for laughs in this advertisement, and the Footify training ads from this year’s grandfinal.
Toltu Tufa is a dazzlingly energetic woman based here in Melbourne who’s asking you to support a language revolution. Her organisation currently has a big fundraiser on, to help fund teaching resources to maintain the Oromo language across generations and international borders.
We reckon Toltu’s project is pretty fantastic - we encourage you to watch her video and visit her Pozible page to see how you can be part of this.
The original homeland of the Oromo people included much of what is now Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Speaking Afan Oromo was banned for a long period of time during the 20th century in the region currently known as Ethiopia - this complex political situation has had a direct impact on the maintenance of Oromo and its varieties.
Hey Superlinguo! I love your blog but it's the only linguistics blog I follow and I wanna see more linguistics stuff on my dash! Do you have any recommendations?
You’re in luck, because there’s plenty of great linguistics blogging happening both on Tumblr and the wider internet.
For those of you who read Superlinguo directly through our webpage, email or RSS, you may not know we’re on Tumblr. That’s what all the notes are below the comments. Tumblr allows you to collect a bunch of content you like and read it all in a single stream. It also allows you to find new content really easily.
The best way to fill your Tumblr feed brimfull of great linguistics nerdiness is to search for the #Tumblinguistics hashtag. I’ll also single out a few of our favourite Tumblr-based linguistics blogs, but if you know any others feel free to add them in a reblog below for fringecuts!
I took this photo while holidaying in country New South Wales a few weeks ago. I was making the most of the local Op Shopping (charity shopping), and couldn’t resist taking this picture.
It’s written in eye dialect - a way of writing that demonstrates the local accent (hence, ‘eye’, instead of ‘ear’). The phrase was coined by G. P. Krapp, who wrote in The English Language in America (p. 228):
The impression of popular speech..is often assisted by what may be termed ‘eye dialect’, in which the convention violated is one of the eye, not of the ear. Thus a dialect writer often spells a word like front as frunt, or face as fase, or picture as pictsher, not because he intends to indicate here a genuine difference of pronunciation, but the spelling is merely a friendly nudge to the reader.
[Thanks to the OED for that quote]
For those of you unfamiliar with Aussie eye dialect, I’ll refrain from giving a translation until the end of the week. See how much you can understand!
I am an Asian American born and raised in the USA, but I have an asian accent. My siblings do not have an accent and my cousins don't either. My parents are from Laos and we are Hmong. I speak a mix of English and Hmong at home. Can you explain why I have an accent when others in my family don't? It's so frustrating when I get asked "where are you from?" because of my accent. Can you also tell me how I can get rid of my accent? Thanks!
There has been a fair amount of work done on the accents of bilingual people, or those who move at a young age from one country to another. There appear to be some generalisations - for example people are more likely to lose their first-language accent the younger they are. This isn’t always the case, as discussed in a couple of posts on the excellent Dialect Blog here and here. Indeed, although this is anecdotal, I know of a few cases where it’s actually the younger kids in the family who have retained the same accent as their parents, and their mid-teens siblings who dropped their accent, perhaps because they were more aware of the social pressures to fit in at school.
Many bilingual people will retain some degree of an accent, as will people who speak more than two languages. Some people work hard to ‘normalise’ their accent, although they’re only ever making it normal for where they live now - if you moved to another country at some point it’s likely you’d feel less offended by the question. There’s also the reality that sometimes these features are very hard to consciously change. You could try and find a speech therapist or accent coach to help you focus on what features of your accent you find problematic (the former being easier to find, and probably more affordable). In an ideal world I’d just say that you should embrace your accent, and the rich multicultural/multilingual history you’re lucky to have. Unfortunately there are many nosy idiots in this world, like the kind my Singaporean English speaking friend Amos often encounters. Out accents are so deeply connected with our history, family and sense of self. I wouldn’t trade my (very typical) Australian accent for anything, even though some people occasional ask me where I’m from(!).
We wish you all the best in your accent adventures. If anyone has any suggestions, support or similar stories for Vapaw feel free to share them!
I'm an undergrad student taking Intro to Linguistics and it's by far my favorite class! I find it fascinating. I was wondering if you could explain to me what concepts in linguistics are related to Speech Language Pathology... I'm considering becoming an SLP because of my interest in linguistics, but how related are the two really? Thanks for your help!
So glad to hear you’ve been enjoying Intro to Linguistics!
I haven’t done any speech pathology training - but I have taught undergraduate speech pathologists, and a few of my friends from linguistics went on to become ‘speechies’.
There is a lot of overlap between speech path and linguistics, as both look at language from a scientific perspective, but they also have their own separate areas of interest.
In speech path you’re only ever really going to need to know how English (or you main language/s) works. So, you’ll need to be familiar with topics like English phonetics and English syntax. You’re also more likely to be working with the mechanics of speech, and other actions such as swallowing, so you’ll learn about the muscles of the jaw and tongue. In linguistics, we’re interested in the sounds and grammar of all the world’s languages (although there are some linguists who do focus on English). This means you’ll learn about a broader range of phenomena, in a broader range of languages.
Another point of difference is the main focus of each job. Speech paths help people improve their speech through intervention. Linguists tend to observe functional language use to understand how language works - and mostly ‘normal’ functioning language at that. Of course, there are researching speech paths and consulting linguists,but these roles are less typical.
Speech paths and linguists have a lot in common, but we also have our own areas of interest. If you’re thinking of becoming a speechie, then undergrad linguistics is one of the best things you could be studying!
Let’s start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.
The word “because,” in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, “because” has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I’m reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I’m reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which “because” lends itself.
Reblogging this article by Megan Garber from The Atlantic in case you missed this last week.
And let’s add a link here Stan Carey’s piece on the same subject, because great. (He also touches on the idea that ‘because’ may not be acting as a preposition in these reformations too - be sure to read the whole lot, and the comments, if you have time!)
Edition 5 of Babel Magazine is out now, and the ‘Languages of the world’ article is a two page spread I wrote about Yolmo. It was nice to share with a general audience what I’ve been up to, and like the update to Ethnologue, further helps cement the Lamjung dialect I worked on for my PhD as part of the language landscape.
For those of us who live outside of the UK there is also good news for next year. Babel will be offering digital subscriptions as well as print - which is basically a 50% saving on subscription price and you don’t have to wait for the mail! It’s an exciting development and I look forward to another great year of articles!
The link below holds delightful things, including but not limited to: the difficulty of pronouncing words we’ve only read. Being jealous of someone’s name which has a higher anagrammability rating than one’s own. Synonyms. Emoticon choice as indicators of someone’s age. Latin. Consonant elision. Verbs with elusive tenses.
There’s a new top dog in town, and he’s been infiltrating the meme-speak of a few Superlinguo co-workers. This meme is easily spotted thanks to the colourful comic sans, bad photochopping and prevalence of Japanese Shibe Inu dogs. But, of course, it also has its own vocabulary, which is why we’re so interested in it.
There’s a great article on Slate that ponders how to pronounce doge. Like several of the experts quoted there, we’re in favour of a pronunciation that rhymes with ‘vogue’.
Some of the more salient features:
Very template, much lexical slot
A collection of quantifiers (so, very, much, such, many), which are used with words that they are not combined with in Standard English:
such doge, very meme, much wow, etc.
This makes up the bulk of material for image captioning. It’s also the feature that is most salient when attempting to invoke the doge meme in the absence of images.
All Doge images must have at least one wow. Preference is for non-capitalised, occasionally as part of the templates above, and generally in greater numbers than lol (which is permissible, but not necessary).
Spelling is not that irregular, and much easier to understand than LOLspeak. The spelling errors that are made are less about a phonetic representation of a cute way of speaking, and more about clumsiness at typing - think additional, missing or switched characters.
Grammar is not that irregular either. Most grammatical irregularities come from the mismatching in the phrasal templates. Apart from that the most you get is a bit of irregular tense. There’s also much less irregular person marking than in LOLspeak - but this could be because doge-speak is only used in short phrases.
We’re enjoying the current run that doge is getting - as with all language-based memes it will be interesting to see how much longer it makes its way into our inboxes and text messages.