• #ProZCCA: Community Choice Awards 2015 hosted by ProZ •

Good morning, followers! Happy Sunday! 🙂
It’s been a long time since my last post – I know, I’m sorry! But, I’m juggling a lot lately, and I’m working on some new exciting projects that I’m going to unveil in a couple of months. I’m still working on my website (One Sec Translations), which you can visit and surf; but, I want to personalise it a little bit more, so I’m taking care of the latest details.

Besides, I’m arranging my business and networking trips to Bordeaux and Pisa (in September and October, respectively), so I’m trying to be active on many, different sides so that I’ll be ready to leave without freaking out! 😀
I’ll write something for you about it in a specific post on the topic. 🙂

Yet, although I didn’t make it at the Language Lover Contest 2015 hosted by Bab.la, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to give it another try by taking the chance to participate in the Community Choice Awards 2015 hosted by ProZ.

COMMUNITY CHOICE AWARDS 2015

The ProZ website says:

The ProZ.com community choice awards are hosted by ProZ.com annually to provide another means for the ProZ.com community to publicly recognize language professionals who are active, influential or otherwise outstanding in various media throughout the industry. Nominations, voting, and winners are determined entirely by the ProZ.com community.
Here’s how it works: the contest has a simple structure of nominations, voting, and announcement of winners. Members of the ProZ.com community are asked to submit their nominations in various categories. Nominees who receive a certain number of nominations move to the voting stage. Winners are determined purely through numbers of votes cast by the ProZ.com community.
There are two main categories: Translation-related and Interpretation-related. Within these categories are various sub-categories such as “best blog”, “best website”, “best trainer”, “best conference speaker”, etc.

Nominations are still being accepted. You can submit your nominations through August 18th following this web address >>> http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards/nominations

If you like to spread the word on Twitter or other social media, you can use the hashtag #ProZCCA

If you feel like supporting me, you can fill in the blank spaces with my accounts and relating links as follows:

1. Blog
Claire’s Adventures in Translation, https://onesectranslation.wordpress.com
2. Website
One Sec Translations, https://www.onesec-translations.com
3. Twitter
Chiara Bartolozzi @OneSec_ts, https://twitter.com/OneSec_ts
4. Facebook Page
One Sec Translations, https://www.facebook.com/OnesecTranslationService
7. Other social media
Pinterest: Chiara One Sec (@chiaraonesec), https://it.pinterest.com/chiaraonesec/
Instagram: One Sec Translations (@onesectranslations), https://instagram.com/onesectranslations/
14. Blog post
Guest post: “Connecting with people” – The Importance of being Honest >>> http://caroltranslation.com/2015/03/03/guest-post-connecting-with-people/ (appeared on Caroline Alberoni‘s blog)
15. ProZ.com profile
Chiara Bartolozzi (One Sec Translations)http://www.proz.com/profile/1744283

You can also provide nominations for the other subcategories and nominate interpretation-related users.

You can fill in the blanks by writing as many names as you like; just choose the related category or subcategory and nominate your favourite people. Filling in all the spaces is not compulsory, so if you don’t have any nominees, just leave a blank space.

Thanks in advance for your support! 🙂
And have a look around, because many translators/interpreters/linguists are willing to take part in the competition!

Good luck, everyone!

~Chiara

Annunci

[Repost] If you could learn any EU language, which would you learn, and why?

If you could learn any EU language, which would you learn, and why?

Why_learn_a_language

As someone who decided to study Japanese, French and Irish (not the most typical of language combinations), I have always been fascinated by the reasons why people choose to learn certain languages. Because they enjoy the food and culture of the country where the language is spoken? Because their family or friends speak the language? Because speaking the language will get them a better job?

I got the opportunity to formally examine the reasons why people learn languages, language learner motivation, while writing my MA thesis last year. I studied an MA in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway and throughout the year-long course we were regularly visited by staff interpreters of the EU institutions who came as pedagogical assistants to give us advice and feedback. I was always fascinated by the different language combinations these experienced interpreters had and frankly, envious that the EU institutions encouraged them to learn more languages by providing language classes and leave for study abroad for priority languages. I started to wonder, did staff interpreters learn languages that they were really interested in, or did they learn languages that were in demand and therefore beneficial to their interpreting career?

In order to investigate this question, I drew on research in the field of second language acquisition and, in particular, learner motivation. According to Noels’ self-determination theory, learner motivation ranges from extrinsic orientations of motivation to intrinsic orientations of motivation. According to self-determination theory, there are two general types of motivation, one based on intrinsic interest in the activity per se and the other based on rewards extrinsic to the activity itself (Noels et al 2000, p. 38).

On the extrinsic end of the scale, learners are under external pressure to learn the language; because it is a compulsory subject, they need it for their job, they need to learn it to avoid some negative outcome, etc. On the intrinsic end of the scale, learners want to learn the language out a sense of personal interest and enjoyment. Various orientations of motivation are at work in the case of each individual language learner. However, according to research by Noels, successful learners are more likely to be those who display more intrinsic orientations of motivation.

A person who is intrinsically motivated to perform an activity does so because it is inherently enjoyable and satisfying. In the context of second language acquisition, the learner may be interested in the language and culture, enjoy the sounds and rhythm of the language or simply enjoy acquiring new knowledge and mastering a difficult task. This form of motivation is associated with greater success in second language acquisition (Noels 2001, p. 45).

I set out to test this theory, taking staff conference interpreters who have added another working language as models of successful language learners – after all, knowing a language well enough to interpret it is an example of highly successful language acquisition! I used a self-report questionnaire, which I distributed via email and social media, to gather information about staff interpreters at the European Commission’s DG SCIC who had added another language to their combination since started to work there, and asked them to rank and rate the factors that had influenced their decision to learn the language in question.

61 interpreters responded to the survey. The results of the online questionnaire show that a wide range of languages were added by the participants; 18 out of 24 official EU languages were added by the survey sample; Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Danish, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Croatian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Maltese and Romanian. Languages added range from very widely spoken languages such as Spanish and English, to minority languages such as Maltese and Irish.

In 87% of responses, interest in the language and associated culture were identified as being either a very important or important factor in the participant’s choice to learn a particular language.

4.6

When asked to rank various factors in order of importance, personal interest was ranked most important in 59% of cases:

4.7.

In 68% of cases, respondents agreed or strongly agreed that enjoying visiting the country/countries where a language is spoken was an important factor in their choice to learn the language in question, and in 68% of cases, respondents agreed or strongly agreed that enjoying the culture of the country/countries where a language is spoken was an important factor.

The survey data showed evidence that the main factor affecting the participants’ decisions to add a working language was intrinsic motivation. However, this was not the only factor at play. Respondents displayed a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, with more motivation from the intrinsic end of the scale playing an important role in the decision to add a working language. Some respondents had an interest in the language they learned but also cited the benefit to their career of another language as a motivating factor. Some respondents chose to learn certain languages not only because they had an interest in the associated culture, but also because of similarities between that language and a language they already knew. High levels of externally regulated orientations of motivation were also identified among some respondents, and some reported feeling pressure to learn another language, but these respondents were a minority. The high level of intrinsically oriented motivation displayed by these successful language learners supports Noels’ theory that intrinsic orientations of motivation are more likely to result in successful language acquisition.

So what can we conclude from this? Well, if you are thinking of learning a language, learn one you are genuinely interested in! You’ll learn Chinese far quicker if you have passion for Chinese culture and an interest in the country, than if you are purely learning it for the career benefits. If you have lots of Croatian friends and you want to be able to speak their language, go for it! If you love travel and want to backpack around South America meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, why not learn Spanish? If you are genuinely interested and intrinsically motivated, learning a language is that little bit easier.

Interpreting Studies and Second Language Acquisition Terms

active language: language into which an interpreter is capable of interpreting (Jones 1998, p. 131).

A language: ‘The interpreter’s mother tongue (or its strict equivalent) into which they work from all their other working languages in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation’ (AIIC, 2012).

B language: ‘language in which the interpreter is perfectly fluent, but is not a mother tongue. An interpreter can work into this language from one or several of their other working languages, but may prefer to do so in only one mode of interpretation, either consecutive or simultaneous’ (AIIC, 2012c).

C language: language ‘which the interpreter understands perfectly but into which they do not work. They will interpret from this (these) language(s) into their active languages’ (AIIC, 2012).

conference interpreting: interpreting in multilateral communication, for example in international conferences, using either consecutive and/or simultaneous modes of interpreting (Pöckhacker 2004, p. 16).

consecutive interpreting: the interpreter listens to the totality of the speaker’s comments, or at least a significant passage, and then reconstitutes the speech in another language with the help of notes taken during the original (Jones 1998, p. 5).

DG SCIC: Directorate General for Interpretation, also known as DG SCIC. the European Commission’s interpreting service and conference organiser (European Commission, 2013).

interpreting: immediate oral translation of an utterance from one language into another (Pöckhacker 2004, p. 11). 1.

L1 (Also referred to as ‘mother tongue’ or ‘first language’): language or languages that a child learns from parents, siblings and caretakers during the critical years of development, from the womb up to about four years of age (Ortega 2009, p. 5).

L2 (Also referred to as ‘additional language’ or ‘second language’): any language learned after the mother tongue (Ortega 2009, p. 5).

language combination (also referred to as ‘linguistic combination‘): ‘sum of an interpreter’s active and passive languages’ (Jones 1998, p. 133).

passive language: language out of which an interpreter is capable of interpreting (Jones 1998, p. 132).

simultaneous interpreting: the interpreter begins interpreting while the speaker is still speaking. The interpreter is speaking simultaneously to the original, hence the name (Jones 1998, p. 5).

working language: language which an interpreter can interpret into, or out of, or both (Jones 1998, p. 133).

References

AIIC (2012) Working languages (Online). Available at: http://aiic.net/node/6/working-languages/lang/1 (Accessed 07 July 2013).

Deci, L. et al (1991) ‘Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective’, in Educational Psychologist, 26(3 & 4), pp. 325-346 (Online). Available from: http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/1991_DeciVallerandPelletierRyan_EP.pdf (Accessed 24 July 2013).

Dörnyei, Z. (2001) ‘New themes and approaches in second language motivation research’, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, pp. 43-59 (Online). Available from: http://journals.cambridge.org.libgate.library.nuigalway.ie/action/displayAbstract?fromfrom=online&aid=100729 (Accessed 4 July 2013).

European Commission (2013) About DG Interpretation. Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/about-dg-interpretation/index_en.htm (Accessed: 03 June 2013).

Jones, R. (1998) Conference interpreting explained. Manchester: St Jerome publishing.

Ortega, L. (2009) Understanding second language acquisition. London : Hodder Education.

Pöchhacker, F. (2004) Introducing interpreting studies. London: Routledge.

Noels, K. (2001) ‘New orientations in language learning motivation: Towards a model of intrinsic, extrinsic and integrative orientations and motivation’, in Dörnyei, Z. & Schmidt, R. (eds) Motivation and Second Language Acquisition. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 43-68.

Noels, K. et al. (2003) ‘Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self-determination theory’, Language Learning, 53 (1), pp. 33-63 (Online). Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.libgate.library

Article written by Sarah O’Farrell, translator and terminologist at the Terminology Coordination Unit.

 

Cf. http://termcoord.eu/2014/03/learn-eu-language-learn/

[Repost] Gli occhiali traduttore: l’incredibile invenzione made in Japan (by Marianna_Servizi Traduzione)

Cfr. originale: http://www.servizitraduzione.com/gli-occhiali-traduttore-lincredibile-invenzione-made-in-japan/

17 ott by Servizi Traduzione

Gli occhiali traduttore:

l’incredibile invenzione made in Japan 

 11

Potrebbe sembrare improbabile l’incredibile invenzione degli occhiali traduttore della NEC eppure la corporation giapponese conferma che sarà presto possibile ascoltare una lingua straniera e avere la traduzione direttamente riflessa negli occhi di chi li indossa.

Il TeleScouter si basa su una combinazione di software di riconoscimento vocale e di una domanda di traduzione automatica. Un microfono e telecamera raccolgono il discorso in lingua straniera che viene inoltrato a un piccolo computer “indossabile” e poi ad un server remoto.

Il server fornisce una traduzione delle frasi che viene poi inviata indietro sulla retina creando un “effetto di immagine residua” a detta della NEC. Il testo viene visualizzato con i sottotitoli in modo da permettere a chi li indossa di continuare a vedere la persona con cui si sta parlando.

NEC lancerà il dispositivo il prossimo anno. I servizi di traduzione sono ancora in una fase iniziale, però. Quindi, in un primo momento gli occhiali saranno commercializzati come un semplice display per permettere ai tecnici di leggere manuali o altro. L’implementazione del servizio di traduzione integrale dovrebbe venire l’anno successivo.

E se tutto andrà come ipotizzato, a breve, potremmo iniziare a capire qualsiasi lingua del mondo anche senza conoscerla. Che ne dite, comprereste questi occhiali traduttore oppure pensate che sia meglio continuare a studiare le lingue e sforzarsi di capirle nel modo tradizionale?

[Repost] 21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand (by Maddi Lewis)

Previously shared on fb by ElleDi Traduzioni

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

Now, which language do I write this post in again…?posted on March 12, 2014 at 10:59am EDT

Maddi Lewis

COMMUNITY MEMBER

1. Needing a word in one language but only being able to think of it in the other.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“What’s the name of that little thing that lives in Australia? It’s ‘ornithorynque’ in French, what is it in English?”

2. Accidentally speaking the wrong language.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Warner Brothers Pictures / Via theheartofcamelot.com

“Yes, do you have a question?”
“Oui, savez-vous où… sorry.”

3. Having to speak in one language after you haven’t used it in ages.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Universal Pictures / Via prettyguilty.com

“I just came ba- oh, in French? Umm… Je, euh, je viens de passer mes vacances à, euh, c’est-à-dire en Australie où, euh, où j’ai vu un platyp- un ornithorynque.”

4. “Ooooh! Say something in [insert language here]!!!”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Buena Vista Pictures / Via herecomesjohnny.tumblr.com

Um, okay. “Va t’en, s’il te plaît.” GO AWAY.

5. “OMG! Teach me [insert language here]!”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via mashable.com

Okay, do you have several years to spare? ‘Cause I sure don’t.

6. “Will you pleeeease do my [insert language here] homework? Since you’re an expert and all.”

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
BBC / Via giphy.com

A) No B) NO C) NO

7. Being the automatic translator whenever anything in your language is present: people, films, books, the translations of nutrition facts on food labels, etc…

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
MTV / Via rebloggy.com

Do you really need me to tell you that “hydrates de carbone” means “carbohydrates?” Is this really something you need reinforced?

8. Having people assume that, since you know one foreign language, you can therefore help them with any given language, no matter what it is.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
The CW / Via goodreads.com

“You need my help? Okay, well I don’t speak Spanish… No, it doesn’t matter than Spain and France are next to each other. The languages are not the same.”

9. Accidentally changing language mid-sentence.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“I saw this guy on Friday night, et il était le plus bel homme du monde, il était tellement magni- damn it, sorry.”

10. Autcorrect. Just, autocorrect.

Autcorrect. Just, autocorrect.

Screenshot / Via Maddi’s iPhone

OH MY GOD. ACTUALLY THE WORST.

This is what happens when you type English into a French keyboard. It’s mayhem.

11. Trying to tell really funny jokes from one language and having them fall flat because the humor gets lost in translation.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“It’s really funny, I swear it is! No, like, seriously! I promise!”

12. Thinking something through in one language and then having to say it in the other.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Hold on, let me translate my thoughts real quick…”

13. Reading one language as if it were the other and being totally confused when it makes no sense.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
FOX / Via goodreads.com

“This is absolute gibberish!!… OH, it’s in English. Never mind.”

14. When you try to impress someone with your bilingualism but they couldn’t care less.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
Paramount Pictures / Via cjr.org

“Well, heyyy there! What’s your sign- or, should I say, quel est votre signe? Oh, not interested? That’s cool. Just walk away now.”

15. Anything to do with accents: sounding American when you speak your foreign language, sounding foreign when you speak English, getting accents mixed up, etc. It’s a struggle.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via stevencee.com

“Ah, crap- did I really just do a guttural ‘R?’ I’m not speaking French right now! What am I doing??”

16. When you visit wherever your “foreign” language is spoken and can’t understand a single word of any of the slang.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

It’s not the same between countries. Slang is not is universal.

17. When someone thinks they speak your language perfectly even though they only had, like, one semester of it in high school but they insist on using it anyways and it’s awful.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
NBC / Via gifrific.com

“Uh huh, what you just said actually makes no sense, and half of it was just American words said with an accent.”

18. Accidentally trying to use foreign words in Scrabble/Words with Friends.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“But it’s worth so many poooooiiinntttssss.” 😦 😦 😦

19. Getting grammar rules mixed up.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand
The Walt Disney Company / Via teen.com

The English sentence is ‘Oh yea, I saw him there when I bought that.’ In French, you say ‘Oui, je l’y ai vu quand je l’ai acheté.’ Direct translation? ‘Yes, I he there saw when I it bought.’ Now YOU try to not get that shit mixed up when switching languages.

20. Knowing the subtitles for foreign-language characters in films are horribly wrong.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Yea, he didn’t just say ‘Put the money in the bag, bitch.’ He said, ‘Give me the duck and crackers, son.’”

21. IDIOMS. They never translate between languages, and languages don’t really share idioms.

21 Everyday Frustrations Bilinguals Will Understand

“Vous avez le cul bordé de nouilles?* Oh my god, are you okay? Oh… another damn idiom. Sorry.”

*This is a real idiom that literally means “to have an ass lined with noodles.” The idiomatic meaning? “To be lucky.” Yea, I don’t get it either.

Semiotycs: il gioco-tool by Giuliano Pascali

Qualche mese fa ho fatto un “repost” relativo alle parole simili nelle lingue europee. L’articolo era accompagnato da una serie di mappe dell’Europa in cui venivano identificate le analogie e le differenze nell’utilizzo di alcuni termini specifici nei vari Paesi presenti.
[Cfr. https://onesectranslation.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/repost-la-mappa-delle-parole-simili-nelle-lingue-deuropa/]

Qualche giorno fa, invece, ho trovato un’email nella posta elettronica che richiedeva la mia attenzione. Il mittente era Giuliano Pascali. Informatico ed appassionato di lingue e materie umanistiche, mi ha informato di aver sviluppato un “gioco-tool” utilizzando proprio quelle mappe e, in cerca di un po’ di visibilità, mi ha domandato se fossi interessata a divulgare il suo progetto.

Così… eccolo qua! 🙂

http://www.semiotycs.com

Cliccando sul link vi ritroverete direttamente alla mappa delle parole.

Di seguito vi lascio la presentazione scritta da Giuliano.

Buona lettura!

La mappa delle parola in Europa
(semiotica comparata)

Somiglianze e diversità delle lingue.

Ecco un sito che ci permette di indagare su come si dice una parola nelle principali lingue europee.
Scegli una parola e clicca traduci, in pochi istanti avrai la traduzione sulla mappa in più di dieci lingue.
E’ un gioco divertente che ci permette di indagare sulla diversità, la somiglianza e provenienza dei termini scelti. Alcune parole hanno una radice universale, e una traduzione molto simile. Altre invece sono completamente differenti a seconda del ceppo di appartenenza.
Sito delle lingue nella mappa

semi

Il ceppo latino, francia, italia, spagna. Il ceppo slavo del centro est europa, il ceppo scandinavo e quello anglosassone della zona anglotedesca. Fantastico il caso della parola ananas che ha un tipo praticamente universale, fatta eccezzione per le due grandi storiche potenze coloniali, che curiosamente hanno un suono diverso da tutti le altre nazioni, ma simile tra loro. Che sia solo un caso ?
E’ bello osservare le contaminazioni, avvenute nella lingua per vicinanza geografica francia spagna italia, ragioni storiche e circostanze commerciali militari e marittime. L’inghilterra trova vicinanza linguistiche con i paesi del mare del nord, con la norvegia, mentre la finlandia risente notevolmente della presenza russa. La polonia pur geograficamente dislocata, rientra tra le lingue slave e ha suoni molto prossimi ai balcani. La romania invece che rimane in quella zona, ha un impronta latina e i suoi termini spesso risuonano come quelli dei paesi mediterranei.

ananas

La germania che a volte divide suoni con gli anglosassoni della gran bretagna, influenza la zona dell’olanda a sua volta della svezia. Le tre repubbliche baltiche denotano una forte identità anche linguistica, mentre il portogallo a volte svela tutto il suo legame con la spagna, fino al cinquecento erano un unica nazione, d’altro canto sorprende con suoni nuovi e bellissimi che raccontato la sua storia di grande potenza del mare, alternativa (anche come terre di interesse) a spagna e inghilterra. La turchia ponte tra l’europa l’oriente, porta con se un timbro linguistico del mondo arabo oltreuropeo. L’islanda senza dubbio terra di mare e del nord, mantiene non solo geograficamente la sua unicità. E che dire dell’italia ? Centro della lingua di origine latina, al centro del mediterraneo, con influenze arabe francesi spagnole normanne. Le lingue: affascinante dinamico contenitore della nostra esperienza e della nostra vita raccontano in maniera incantevole, segreti misteriosi o lampanti che nel corso dei secoli hanno raccolto e compreso.

Buon divertimento, buona esplorazione. Il gioco traduce in tutte le lingue ma anche da tutte le lingue, quindi se avete amici estoni francesi o polacchi beh ..buon divertimento anche a loro!

Vai a Semiotycs, il gioco delle lingue sulla mappa
Il gioco è ispirato a una serie di mappe etimologiche comparse su alcuni siti, segnaliamo http://www.linkiesta.it.

Giuliano Pascali

[Repost] The Curious Case of the American Accent

The Curious Case of the American Accent

(Image credit: DrRandomFactor)

Hey youz! Whah do ‘Mericans have all different aks-ay-ents? It’s, like, totally confusing and somewhat bizzah, dontcha know.

TALK THIS WAY

An accent is “a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation.” That’s not to be confused with dialect, which is a specific form of a language that has its own unique lexicon (words), grammatical structures, and phonology (a fancy word for accent). So an accent can be a part of a dialect, but not vice versa. Because dialects can be traced to geographical regions, they give linguists important clues to the origin of accents. And discovering where accents came from can explain why an American says “ta-may-to” and a Brit says “ta-mah-toe,” or why Bostonians say “park the cah” and a Nebraskan says “park the car.”

BRITISH INVASIONS

The United States began as colonies of Great Britain, but the settlers didn’t trickle across the Atlantic at random. According to Brandeis University Professor David Hackett Fischer in his bookAlbion’s Seed, there are four primary American accents, which derive from the major migrations from England to the New World in the 17th and 18th centuries.

1. East Anglia to Massachusetts (1620-40). Puritans who fled to the New World to escape religious persecution were, by and large, from the eastern counties of England. To this day, in remote parts of East Anglia, there are rural folk who speak in what is sometimes referred to as the “Norfolk whine.” When they came to New England, that accent came along with them. You may recall the TV commercials where an old fellow says “Pepperidge Fahm remembers…” That’s the Norfolk whine.

2. South and West of England to Virginia (1642-75). Immigrants who settled in the colony of Virginia tended to be wealthy Cavaliers (that is, loyal to the King) who came to the New World to become planters. Many elements of their accent can still be heard in rural Virginia, such as their penchant for elongated vowels -stretching “you” into “yeew,” and shortened consonants- “ax” for ask, and “dis” and “dat” for this and that.

3. North Midlands to Pennsylvania and Delaware (1675-1725). In another flight to escape religious persecution, Quakers, largely from the middle and northern parts of England, also settled in the New World. Their speech patterns, characterized by shorter vowel sounds -a short “a” for dance, not the Yankee and East Anglican “dahnce,” or the South England and Virginia “day-ence”- formed the basis for the flat Midwestern American accent we hear today, which has since been adopted as the standard American “non-regional” accent spoken by most newscasters.

4. Borderlands to the Backcountry (1715-75). The so-called “Scotch-Irish” fled their poverty-stricken homeland of northern England and southern Scotland, first to northern Ireland and then to America’s mid-Atlantic coast. These new arrivals were considered uncultured and unruly and didn’t mix well with the established settlers, so most kept going to settle in the backcountry of the Appalachian Mountains. Their distinctive accent can still be heard in many Southern regions: “far” for fire, and “winder” for window. The Borderlands accent gave rise to the twangy “country” accent heard in the poorer parts of the South -as opposed to the more south-of-England “Southern gentleman” drawl heard in more affluent regions. Thank you Yosemite Sam for the former and Foghorn Leghorn for the latter.

THE HUDDLED MASSES

After achieving independence, the United States expanded westward and fresh waves of immigrants arrived in New York, New Orleans, and other port cities. The Northeast kept closer ties with Britain, which explains why Bostonians caught onto the English trend of broadening the “a” in bath, while the flatter pronunciation was used in most of the rest of the country.

WORLD TOUR

Just as it was with the English, immigrants from other countries tended to stick together when they got to America. Here’s a look at where they came from, where they ended up, and how the way they spoke then still affects the way people in the United States speak today.

* Germany. After England, Germany produced the largest wave of U.S. immigrants between the 1680s and the 1760s. Arriving first in Pennsylvania, the newcomers adopted the nasal tones of their Quaker neighbors who had come from England, then added their own clipped German speech patterns. The biggest German influence is the hard “r” found at the end of words -“river” vs. “rivah”- and is the feature that most distinguishes American speech from British. The trend spread as settlers moved into the Midwest and beyond.

*The Netherlands. When settlers from New England moved south to New York, there was already a sizable Dutch population. The mixture of the two groups formed the famous Brooklyn accent (think of Bugs Bunny), in which bird is often pronounced “boid,” these and those, “deez” and “doze,” and coffee, “caw-fee.” Unlike most other immigrant languages, which were abandoned for English within a generation or two, the Dutch language lingered in New York for three centuries. (Theodore Roosevelt grew up hearing his grandparents speak it at the dinner table as late as the 1860s.) While other immigrant groups have influenced the classic New York accent, it come primarily from original Dutch settlers.

* Russia and Poland. Arriving in New York in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Yiddish-speaking Jews from eastern Europe added many new words and humorous turns of phrase to English, including “I should live so long,” “I need it like I need a hole in the head!” and “What’s up?” Interestingly, although “New Yawk tawk” has become strongly associated with Jewish immigrants, Yiddish seems to have had little affect on the accent itself, which was adopted by the Irish, Italians, Chinese, and dozens of other ethnicities who live in New York. Actual spoken Yiddish -which is very clipped and Germanic- sounds very little like the New York accent.

* Scandinavia. Immigrants from northern Europe settled in the upper Midwest, and many aspects of their Old World accents persist to this day. Referred to as both the Minnesota accent and the Great Lakes accent, it is most notable for the overpronunciation of vowels, especially the long “o” sound, as in “dontcha know.” If you’ve seen the 1996 dark comedyFargo, that’s a good example of the Minnesota accent (although most native speakers claim that it’s a bit exaggerated in the film).

* France. Much of the French influence on the American accent ended up in Louisiana. Cajuns were originally French settlers who had moved down from Acadia in the eastern part of Canada. In 1765 the British took over, and loyal Acadians fled and resettled in New Orleans, still French territory. Cajun French is very old, dating from the 1600s. It might be understood by someone in Paris today, but only with some effort. The Cajun accent (like the food) has a very distinctive flavor -“un-Yon,” “ve-HIC-le,” and “gay-Ron-tee,” and “LOO-ziana.”

* Africa. The speech of slaves brought over from West Africa had a strong effect on American English. However, its exact origin is hard to trace. There are a number of West African languages, and slaves were intentionally separated from members of their own groups to make it difficult for them to conspire. That led to what are called pidgins -simple languages with few rules that were cobbled together from two or more languages. According to some theories, this was the origin of what is now called African American Vernacular English (AAVE). It has been called ebonics, but use of that term is controversial. Many linguists now believe that West African languages had little if any influence on AAVE, and that its origin can be traced to early Southern dialects brought over from England. Nevertheless, some of the cadence and lilt of the Southern accent -spoken by both blacks and whites- probably comes from African slaves. Some linguists believe this could be because black women served as nannies to white children, and those relationships helped blend the two speaking styles.

BARN IN THE USA

Not all accents were brought over from other countries. A few are as American as apple pie.

* In a small section of southern Utah, there is an accent in which “ar” sounds are transposed with “or” sounds. It’s uncertain how this way of speaking came about, but people who live in this region don’t say “born in a barn,” rather “barn in a born.”

* A relatively young accent, Valley Girl, or “Valspeak,” began in the 1980s. The most defining characteristic: Raising the intonation at the end of a sentence as if it were a question. Originating in the San Fernando Valley of southern California, Valspeak may be one of the most uniquely American accents. Some linguists speculate its roots may be traced to refugees from the Ozarks who moved to California during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s.

HOMOGENIZATION

U.S. regional accents are in danger of being lost. Because of TV, movies, video games, and YouTube, kids learn less about speaking from their parents and their grandparents than they do from the likes of the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Pixar. Result: A young boy in Boston might pretend to “park the car,” and a teenage girl in Georgia might roll her eyes when her mother says “Y’all.” If this trends continues, then perhaps one day there will be just one American accent.

Cf. original: http://www.neatorama.com/2014/02/24/The-Curious-Case-of-the-American-Accent/#!yjsR7