November 14, 2003

One Correction

I know I said I didn't post about politics, but since this is about linguistics, I guess it's ok.

This has me furious. Bush, on a visit to the UK next week and amidst a fire-storm of protest, was discussed by the BBC. It says:

'Asked if he would be able to understand the Geordie accent in the north-east, the president joked: "My Geordie is probably just about as bad as my English.'

Christ, man. Listen-those of us that are Americans living over here in Europe already get blistered on a daily basis by those that sniggeringly insist that we don't speak English, we speak "American". Contributing to what we have fought tooth and nail to disavow-that we do speak English, just with a different dialect-does not help us any.

Or if you are trying to enjoy a bit of self-deprecating humor, please take my advice: don't. Just don't. It's hard enough sometimes to be an American over here. If the leader of our country comes over here and tears himself down for a laugh, it's only, at the end of the day, at the expatriate's expense.

Think before you open your trap, man. Just think.


Posted by Everydaystranger at November 14, 2003 08:25 AM | TrackBack

As a linguist, I'm curious why an American would want to disavow the idea that he (or she) speaks English, but a different dialect -- it is the correct linguistic description of the situation. Every speaker of English speaks a particular dialect, usually called after the region it's most characteristic of (though this isn't always sufficient due to individual variation). The regional specificity of dialects varies; one can equally correctly talk about British English and American English as Texan English, Boston English, or Scottish English. Since the dialects are (more or less) mutually intelligible, they're all considered as sprouts off the base language, English.

So, while Bush's statement certainly doesn't strike me as sensible, your assertion doesn't really make sense to me either.

Posted by: Alexis at November 27, 2003 01:42 AM

You fucking liberals are all the same. Always blaming America for the world's problems. Your self loathing disgusts me. Why don't you move to Canada you fucking pacifist.

Posted by: Raging Dave at November 15, 2003 04:08 AM

Everytime I travel, I do everything possible to put my American identity behind me. Luckily I've been enough places now that the obvious things tend to slough off easily.

The man is a walking dillhole. Honestly. There's a house on my street with an enormous pic of him in the window, as if we should be worshipping. Every time I ride by on the bike, I want to throw rocks. Dumbfuck. Grr.

Posted by: Kaetchen at November 14, 2003 05:26 PM

Pylorns, you are too nice. Seriously.

Rob-you made me laugh, and quite hard, too. Thanks! :)

Posted by: Helen at November 14, 2003 04:21 PM

He just says the wrong things...

Posted by: pylorns at November 14, 2003 03:13 PM

ok two things (neither of which is going to make me very popular)

1) Americans don't speak English (hear me out) but then neither do most Brits I know ... that is to say we don't speak it properly or with any thought for structure, grammer or basic linguisitic rules. We both (and the Austalians come to think of it) modify and mutate our respective dialects dependent on location, mood and about a million other factors. The only people I've ever met who spoke english perfectly were Japanese - go figure.

2) You have vastly more serious issues with your pres than his instant ability to embaress his nation at any oppourtunity

Posted by: robert at November 14, 2003 11:20 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?