Followup to the Schedule poll - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Followup to the Schedule poll
Sunday, 15 August 2004 at 02:37 pm
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Wow, nearly 80 people filled in lethargic_man's poll about how to pronounce schedule. As of midday today, the results are as follows:
Country sh sk other total
England 26 21 2 49
USA 1 13 1 15
Scotland 1 2 3
Canada 2 2
Australia 2 2
Other 3 1 4
Total 30 41 4 75

(Excuse the ugliness of the table HTML; I auto-generated it from Excel — yes, I know — and I tried to clean up the output a bit but I know it's not wonderful. Data also available as comma separated format in case anyone wants to do anything clever with it.)

Conclusions: Anyway, now I'm really into this whole poll game, and some of the interesting clarificatory responses from that poll set me wondering. So, for your delectation, a poll about how to define one's dialect.

Just to make things clear, when you tick the factors that are relevant, I mean you to choose factors that are relevant to your dialect, not factors that you think people in general should take into account when describing their dialect. So if you think, for example, that having non-native speaker parents would be likely to have a major effect on your dialect, but your parents are both English speakers, you shouldn't tick the "Parents' first language other than English" option. Likewise, if you have always lived in the same country, you shouldn't tick any of the former country options.

Poll #336176 dialect

Are you a native speaker of English?

Yes
32(91.4%)
No
1(2.9%)
I speak with native-level fluency although English is not my first language
2(5.7%)

If asked what dialect you speak, which of the following factors would you consider relevant?

Country where you currently live
3(9.1%)
Country where you lived before you learnt to talk (birth - 2 years old)
0(0.0%)
Country or countries where you lived as a young child (2 years old to 9)
0(0.0%)
Country or countries where you lived in the past after the of 9
0(0.0%)
Anglophone country of origin of your parents
0(0.0%)
Parents' first language other than English
0(0.0%)
Parents' dialect otherwise significantly different from yours
0(0.0%)
Region within your country
1(3.0%)
Class
0(0.0%)
Ethnic origin
0(0.0%)
Speech impairment (eg deafness, lisp, stutter)
0(0.0%)
Nationality ('I am a UK citizen' rather than 'I come from England' or 'I come from Scotland')
0(0.0%)
Other (please specify below)
0(0.0%)

OK, so what 'other' factors would you mention that I didn't think of?


Moooood: curiousinvestigative
Tuuuuune: Guitar setting of Ravel's 'Pavane pour une Infante Defunte'
Discussion: 30 contributions | Contribute something

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chickenfeet2003: default
From:chickenfeet2003
Date:August 15th, 2004 07:12 am (UTC)
16 minutes after journal entry, 02:12 am (chickenfeet2003's time)
(Link)
This is a phenomenon I have observed at first hand in a variety of ways:

Basic data: Grandparents all from Southern Lancs. Classic accents of their respective towns.
Parents grew up in S.Lancs and definitely had classic accents but they have now lived in the South for almost 40 years and their accents (especially my mother) are close to RP.
Me: Born in Manchester, primary school in Bradford, prep/public school in Hertfordshire (moved South at age 9), moved to Canada twenty years ago and have worked extensively in the US and Australia. Accent progression: W.Yorks to RP (with flatter vowels in some situations) to RP stripped of many Britishisms and a slight mid-Atlantic twang.
Brother (two years younger) From West Yorks to Essex man (might have something to do with his wife being from Sarfend)
My kids: Moved from Canada to Australia at ages 11 and 13. Canadian accent disappeared completely within a year. My son sounds like Barry Humphries.

Conclusion. Kids change their accents very quickly. Adults still change but it's a longer and less complete process.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:August 17th, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 02:20 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Ooh, thanks for this description, that's really interesting. Had a friend at uni who did her PhD on accent change when people move between regions, on the grounds that most linguistics assumes that people keep the same accent throughout their lives. And I always thought of this as a very interesting topic!
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(no subject) - darcydodo (8/18/04 03:48 pm)
From:lyssiae
Date:August 15th, 2004 07:23 am (UTC)
26 minutes after journal entry
(Link)
I live in a non-English speaking country now (yes, everyone in NL speaks English, but you should hear the accent! :P), and whilst perhaps my Dutch has affected my English syntax, I wouldn't say it's modified my accent.
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jpallan: default
From:jpallan
Date:August 15th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC)
28 minutes after journal entry, 02:25 am (jpallan's time)
(Link)
I sort of got in trouble because my primary caretaker from infancy thenceforth to puberty was actually not my parent, but my grandmother, who was a native speaker of Acadian French and taught me that as a first language. My parents were around and taught me English. I spoke French more easily for years; now I find French awkward to speak and rarely use it.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:August 17th, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 03:10 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Did your early upbringing in Acadian French affect the way you speak English at all, do you suppose?
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(no subject) - jpallan (8/18/04 07:38 am)
lethargic_man: reflect
From:lethargic_man
Date:August 15th, 2004 08:00 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 08:00 am (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
Thanks for the results. FWIW, I've yet to point my department at work at either the poll or the results (not least because I don't have access to intradepartmental mailing lists at home).

As regards the new poll, there seem to me to be people who change their dialect according to where they live, and people who don't. My own speech has resisted large-scale change as a result of spending a year off with, largely, a bunch of Londoners, then three years in Cambridge, one in Birmingham, four in Edinburgh and four in London; but I have picked up any number of mannerisms from the people I've been around.

My basic speech is that of the middle class in Newcastle; pronounced pretty much the same as southerners barring only the short A in words like "grass" (and "Newcastle"), though with some north-isms in my vocabulary. (Plus some ones I've not heard outside my own family: does anyone else refer to the kind of latch you get on doors, as opposed to gates, as a "sneck".)
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livredor: letters (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:August 15th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 08:11 am (livredor's time)
(Link)
Thanks for the results.
No problem; it was good displacement! There probably is a way to process the results dynamically and automatically, but I don't really know where to start with either so you get my manual count at a particular moment when I judged that most people had finished voting.

there seem to me to be people who change their dialect according to where they live, and people who don't
I think it's hard to tell from the poll; people might simply always have stayed in the same place and that would give pretty similar answers to someone who'd moved around a lot but kept their base dialect.

My own speech has resisted large-scale change
Same here. There are one or two little habits which might give away the time I spent in Oxford, a long relationship with an American and another three years in Scotland, but they're too minor to be relevant to my dialect, I think.

You've also filled in the poll differently from how I intended it; you were brought up in the same country where you currently live, and your parents also come from the same country, yet you've listed all three of these as separate factors. I obviously didn't explain myself as well as I was hoping!

some ones I've not heard outside my own family
That counts as idiolect, not dialect, I think. I don't count my dozen words of Yiddish as an ethnically determined variant dialect, for example.
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(no subject) - lethargic_man (8/15/04 08:38 am)
shreena: troy
From:shreena
Date:August 15th, 2004 09:24 am (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry, 09:24 am (shreena's time)
(Link)
I ticked 'native level fluency but not first language' but I'm not sure that I should have done. Technically, I did speak Gujarati first but English was a very close second and my English started to be better than my Gujarati by the time I was about 7 (as I'd started reading vast quanities of English prose and very little Gujarati). I'm also not entirely sure if my parents really did affect my dialect. They haven't affected my accent, but they have (I think, anyway) affected the way I phrase things.

I also think that close study of other languages affects dialect (although I put school down in the other box as I think it's more important), as I definitely find that I'm more inclined to write English in a way that is more appropriate for Latin or Greek. I went through a phase of finding it very difficult to start sentences without the equivalent of a Greek particle second word as it just sounded too abrupt and a similar phase of putting subject up front and main verb at the end as you do in Latin. Also, I think potentially your job can affect your phrasing too - if you have to constantly think and write in short snappy phases (spindoctor/advertising) or if you constantly think and write academic things with long words and sentences, etc etc.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:August 18th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 04:55 am (livredor's time)
(Link)
Technically, I did speak Gujarati first
You know, I never knew that you were brought up speaking Gujarati. Cool!

close study of other languages affects dialect
You may be right; I think your situation, or making a close academic study of another language rather than simply learning to speak the language and / or spending time in a non-Anglophone country is fairly unusual, but I can see that it might be important.

potentially your job can affect your phrasing too
Very good point. The way you use written English is also part of dialect, I think, and I think I do sometimes use overly formal, academic-style phrasing even in speech.

Anyway, thank you for these comments, you're really thinking in different directions from how I was!
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rho: default
From:rho
Date:August 15th, 2004 10:02 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 10:02 am (rho's time)
(Link)
Clarification, please: are we talking about dialect here, or accent, or a combination of both? Because my answers would be quite different.
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:August 15th, 2004 10:10 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 10:10 am (livredor's time)

(Link)
are we talking about dialect here, or accent, or a combination of both?
A very good question. I wasn't being terribly rigourous about the distinction I think. I was using dialect to mean the general way you speak, including but not limited to accent. But now you ask I fear that may not actually be a valid definition of dialect.
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(no subject) - rho (8/15/04 10:22 am)
darcydodo: body writing
From:darcydodo
Date:August 15th, 2004 10:48 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 04:48 am (darcydodo's time)
(Link)
I think one also has to be careful in distinguishing between dialect and idiolect. Persegirl-babblespeak is definitely not a dialect, but by associating so much with you and other Persegirls, I've incorporated a lot of the way you speak into my own language. That shifts my idiolect, but I say my dialect was affected by the time I spent in England. Yet a lot of that may well have originated as your idiolect. In some cases I can make that distinction, but in other cases I'm less certain. Which leaves open the quesiton, do you think it's possible for one person's idiolect to be a part of someone else's dialect?
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lethargic_man: reflect
From:lethargic_man
Date:August 16th, 2004 01:55 am (UTC)
18 hours after journal entry, 01:55 am (lethargic_man's time)

Of thingylects

(Link)
As I have remarked to livredor (and then forgotten what she said in response :-(), I would describe such speech as an oligolect. I doubt such a word exists, but I reckon it ought to; and if enough of us use it, maybe it will. :o)
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(no subject) - livredor (8/18/04 03:30 pm)
(no subject) - darcydodo (8/18/04 03:42 pm)
zdamiana: default
From:zdamiana
Date:August 15th, 2004 12:32 pm (UTC)
5 hours after journal entry
(Link)
All of this talk or regional differences in dialect reminds me of the Harvard Dialect Study, which I believe darcydodo actually participated in while they were still collecting data. It is probably quite a bit more interesting to American readers than it is to you Brits and Scots, since it maps dialect differences in the US. Still, it does illustrate regional dialect differences very nicely, and shows what these surveys that you are doing would maybe look like, if taken to their logical extreme.
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justinep: default
From:justinep
Date:August 15th, 2004 03:10 pm (UTC)
8 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Scots are Brits. It says 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain' on our passports.
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(no subject) - pseudomonas (8/15/04 03:24 pm)
(no subject) - justinep (8/15/04 05:04 pm)
(no subject) - zdamiana (8/15/04 04:33 pm)
(no subject) - justinep (8/15/04 05:02 pm)
livredor: teeeeeeeeea (thanks to darcydodo)
From:livredor
Date:August 15th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC)
6 hours after journal entry, 01:45 pm (livredor's time)

Replies to extra comments

(Link)
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livredor: ewe
From:livredor
Date:August 15th, 2004 01:46 pm (UTC)
6 hours after journal entry, 01:46 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Also, I'm an idiot and misspelled chickenfeet2003's username. My apologies.
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Re: Replies to extra comments - zdamiana (8/15/04 02:31 pm)
Re: Replies to extra comments - darcydodo (8/18/04 03:36 pm)
justinep: default
From:justinep
Date:August 15th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)
10 hours after journal entry
(Link)
idiolect means the speech of an individual person at a particular point in time

dialect is a loaded and confusing term. Max Weinreich defined it thus :
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] flot"</a>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<b>idiolect</b> means the speech of an individual person at a particular point in time

<b>dialect</b> is a loaded and confusing term. Max Weinreich defined it thus : <a href="http://www.olestig.dk/scotland/weinreich.html>"A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey un a flot"</a> (a language is a dialect with an army and a navy). Chambers Online defines it as :<i>"a form of a language spoken in a particular region or by a certain social group, differing from other forms in grammar, vocabulary, and in some cases pronunciation."</i>

I probably shouldn't have filled in the poll as I don't think I have a dialect: I have an extremely idiosyncratic idiolect. I don't have a dialect because my vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar etc don't match anyone else's that closely. Either that or I have more than one dialect (Perhaps I am 60% East-Coast Scottish, 30% university-educated-Brit and 10% South-African-Jewish?)

My mother is South African. My father is English (and a grammar school boy to boot). In my early years I was exposed to a myriad of Scottish accents from as far away as the Orkney Islands. I identify as Scottish, British, Jewish, (upper) middle class, female and reasonably well educated. These are in no particular order (and yes, gender often influences dialect).

Incidentally I pronounce "either" and "schedule" both ways at different times. I don't know what determines which pronunciation I use at any given time. Friends have commented that my accent changes dramatically depending on the context and interlocutor, so I'm ready to believe there is a pattern to when I use the different pronunciations of these two words, if only what my interlocutor said first.
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