Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Jersey Shore" is saving regional dialects in the US?!?!?

I normally hold off on posting about stuff in the NYT Sunday Magazine until a hard copy is in my gnarled, wrinkled hands. But this is an "extra, extra, read all about it" case if ever there was one:

OK, once you read it, the story isn't quite that far out there. It does quote (or more likely, paraphrase) Labov, as well as Dominic Watt, and Heffernan gives some good links at the end. You would really want to alter the closing line, though:
Cultivating and stylizing accents in order to stand out as part of a subculture — to represent, in other words — may be as American as the melting pot.
It's actually far more American than the mythical melting pot, surely.

Maybe this kind of headline writing is somehow related to suddenly popular crash blossom? Nah. But still. An actual element of Labov's work over the years has been to argue against the media as a homogenizing force in American speech. Given those arguments, I'm guessing he's equally uncomfortable with the notion that it's now preserving regional accents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is all over the ADS-L too now. I would have been considerably harsher about the story, even though I'm glad to see the topic itself discussed.