Discover what speech you like
A universal standard is elusive
To judge or not to judge
Detailed Article Index
Linguists study "crossing" to understand how and why individuals copy the speech of another group. "Borrowing" another language variety is often an expression of identity. Cecelia Cutler explains.
Lost His Drawl
Can Americans speak without betraying their origins? Natalie Baker-Shirer of Carnegie Mellon University teaches acting students and elementary school children how to speak Standard Speech, free of regionalisms, accents or dialects. It can come in handy during a job search.
You Speak Presidential?
In politics, it's not always what you say, but how you say it that makes an impact. With the help of author Allan Metcalf (Presidential Voices) and Web site contributor Anna Marie Trester, we look at how commanders-in-chiefs have commanded the language and how their speech often reflects broader social change.
We use language to express our identity. Our way of speaking varies and changes to reflect who we are and who we want to be. Carmen Fought asks the provocative questions: What does your speech say about you? And why is linguistic prejudice harmful?
They Speak Really Bad
South and in New York City
Southern pride falters in the face of linguistic stereotyping … and New Yorkers are uncharacteristically abashed about their accents. Regional residents seem to buy into the idea that something's wrong with their dialect, reports Dennis R. Preston.
Women Talk Too Much
No, they don't. Rather, they don't in every situation. Social context and relative power determine who talks more, men or women. Janet Holmes sets the record straight and establishes the reasons for the lingering myth of female chattiness.
with Mi Gente
Chicano English: It's not "beginner English," it's not Spanglish and it's not watered-down Spanish. Chicano English is a distinctive U.S. English dialect. Carmen Fought discusses the dialect common to the Southwestern United States and how misconceptions about it can cause problems for young students.
"You say po-tay-toe, and I say po-tah-toe…" Our appearance, manner and the way we speak broadcast a social message. Language gatekeepers - often self-appointed - judge how we speak. Author John Fought explains how linguists try to keep it language-neutral.
William and Flora Hewlett
© COPYRIGHT 2005 MACNEIL/LEHRER PRODUCTIONS. All Rights Reserved.