Write a short response paper of 1 -2 pages about the film American Tongues. In your response, instead of focusing on a description of the film, try to address some of the following questions:
What kinds of dialect differences do you notice in the Pittsburgh area?
When you travel someplace outside of the region is there anything in particular people notice about your speech?
A man from Ohio says that in his area they speak “just plain American, no dialect, no accent…straight out of the dictionary.” Does this man speak a dialect? Do you speak a dialect?
Do you know where the original settlers from your area came from? Are there any features of the local dialects you think can be traced to these early settlers?
As the United States was settled, what were some of the major trends in the movement of people? Do you see a relation between the major routes of movement and some of the dialects of English?
What are some other scenes in “American Tongues” that show prejudice against the speech of a particular region, class, or social group?
What advantages may come from being able to shift dialects? Do you shift dialects depending on where you are and the people you’re talking to? What are some settings where you might shift your dialect?