Maybe, it’s because growing up in New Jersey around everyone else from New York City, I really did think the strange (mostly southern) accents on Wheel of Fortune were the same strange accents on Looney Tunes.
That’s a really, REALLY, true story, guys.
It wasn’t until I was living in FL, already past the sharp awareness that people would never understand WHAT sort of beverage I was asking for (wah-tuh? cawfee? do what now?), and working happily as a telemarketer that I realized just how much love I had for language, and the silly funny differences that can occur within one.
I loved hearing people in Wisconsin argue over who had gotten the call first, the drawn-out airhead drawl of the SoCal fast food clerk, the distracted hair dresser in Alabama just Uh-huh-ing me to my next sale point, all of it absorbed, imitated, and used back simply to get more sales. Or so I thought.
I’ve always had a fascination with language, words, sounds. As I kid, I’d make the same sound for as long as I could until my parents put me in time out, repeat a word until it lost all sorts of meaning and then giggled myself to death, and repeated the sounds of my parents foreign language movies just for the joy of the sound (portuguese is still a swoon point for me).
It’s what propelled me to seek out a career in Anthropology (still a favorite past time of mine), and probably why I can still survive in a visual field. After all, typography is knowing how to manipulate words and language in a visual space, is it not? (it is!)
I’d forgotten almost all of it (except for the random time I hear an accent and am imitating it with glee for Jake, who happily reciprocates in weirdness), until I saw this AMAZING map that someone pulled together OUT OF THEIR SPARE TIME.
I’m letting that sink in for a few moments more.
Ah, the power of passion to fulfill a dream.
(Hope in human race restored!)
This amazing map compiles all of the subtle interesting dialects across America, and is like a huge olympic swimming pool of linguistic awesomeness.
I pulled it up for Jake to see the other day, it was funny to see that where he’s from in Florida reports NO accent, much like parts of Iowa and Indiana. The parts where I’m from, however, are greatly thick with accents. That’s not really surprising though.
I know I’ll definitely be enamored with this map for quite some time, and really the whole reality/perspective of seeing how something so big and massive–like an entire country’s language–evolving into an endless variety of nuance and still be treated as a whole. It’s a pretty lovely thought.