Monday, April 1, 2013


Modern Americans often take the myriad of languages in the world for granted. As one of the largest nations, both geographically and population-wise, and bordered by a neighbor with largely the same mutual language, and as a very young nation who's population expanded as mass communication started, it often does not occur to them what a strange situation this is. However, in the new medieval society, this linguistic homogeneity broke down very fast. Even in industrial times, colloquialisms and slang would occur between regions that were not very far from one another. With most people not traveling more than 25 miles in a single lifetime, nor reading or writing, or even watching the same language being spoken on television every night, it was inevitable that communities would entrench further into their own idiosyncrasies. In fact, there was sometimes even an incentive as to be able to block outsiders from the conversation. Also, since most of the population was illiterate, people learned to speak their native tongue phonetically, which even accents saw the various languages drift further and further away.

However, it should be said most languages on the continent share a common root. Most of them in medieval American classify broadly under "germanic, of which American English is. In fact, English is still spoken as a lingua franca in many places, and is still, more or less, what is spoken amongst the citizens of the United States and the clergy of the non-demoninational Church. Still, various Non-English speakers have influenced dialects here and there. Between the Great Lakes and New England, the French-speaking Quebecois have left their mark on he surround regions. Likewise, the Portuguese and Brazillian minority of New England has seen much of Massachusetts influenced by the Portuguese language. And of course, the Cajun and Creole has had a hand in how the Gulf Coast is spoken. Areas with large Hispanic or African-American populations would also take their own course, linguistically

Usually the mutations in words would start with say, "th" sounds slowly fade and be replaced by "d" and solid "t" sounds in New Jersey. In Texas, unusual turns of phrases like "might could" would see synonyms, conjugation and pronunciation would turn "It's possible" into a whole other language.

It should also be said that the rhotic vs. non-rhotic accents of America have sort of split the American languages in an interesting way. "R"'s are less likely to be used in words found in the coastal areas, and more commonly seen in the mountain and inland tongues.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting points about the fracturing of American English. Care to speculate what forms the 'American' languages might split off and take?