Country people tend to preserve AmEn: True?

  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    I believe it may have been true earlier in this century (before widespread communication via radio and television). I don't know if this is true today.

    I've always suspected that this is another regional phenomenon. People in Appalacia, in the Southern US, and in Texas appear to preserve more words and expressions that might be considered "dated" in other parts of the country (but, oh my goodness, that may also be a vast generalization and over-simplification!).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    People in New York City still preserve odd relics of Dutch in their speech ("stoop" for the steps leading to a house; "sliding pon" for a playground slide; the use of the term "kill" to refer to certain bodies of water; NYC police referring to filthy, dirty persons -- not necessarily criminals -- as "skells", etc.) If such things can last for more than 400 years since the Dutch lost the colony that became New York, then it is not just the country folk that retain old usages.
     

    Judica

    Senior Member
    AE (US), Spanish (LatAm)
    Are you asking if rural Americans preserve their ancestor's language from some other country?

    or

    Are you asking if rural Americans preserve more of the British English?
     

    Judica

    Senior Member
    AE (US), Spanish (LatAm)
    Okay. My opinion.

    I do believe the Amish try to preserve as much Dutch as possible yet they still speak quite a bit of modern English.

    As for British English, I don't think rural people preserve it.

    In early America the English settled mainly on the East Coast and began building Cities. The Spaniards were in the lower Midwest (Texas, Arizona, etc) and the French in Louisiana. The Southern and Mid-Western States were predominately settled by Nordic peoples (German, Dutch, Polish, Irish, etc).

    Most of the third generation Americans cannot speak the language of their grandparents.

    Native Americans (American Indians) definitely preserve what is left of their heritage.

    Quite a few people in Louisiana speak French. Although it has quite a twist to it.:)
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    This question is rather difficult to answer because...well...it is impossible. First of all, define American English. It is not one thing and the English used by certain people in certain "country" areas is not the same English used by me, for instane. Western North Carolina's English is not the same as my northern New Jersey English (specifically Upper Montclair English which is different from Bayonne English and Clifton English). I "preserve" my form of American English by speaking it, but I don't protect it from any sort of threat (whatever that might mean).

    Are you asking if accents fluctuate less rapidly in rural areas of America than they do in urban or suburban areas? Perhaps are you talking about the impact of globalization on the conglomeration of American accents while leaving rural people behind speaking a more "antiquated" form of their particular brand of English?
     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Well, keeping to English only:

    My family in Northwestern Massachusetts say "Ayuh" instead of yes, also "looking glass" instead of mirror, plus a few other words I can't think of right now. That is fairly old-fashioned considering that they live in a mill town with a major art museum & several nearby colleges, not a farming community. They also have a distinctive accent, nothing like a Boston accent, you can hear the British English & Irish influence. I spent part of my summers there when I was very young, & even now I occasionally say "Ayuh" without thinking, especially when talking to family members.

    On Tangier Island, Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay the older inhabitants still speak a dialect of English that is said to be close to Elizabethan English.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    American English as a whole preserves some forms that British English has lost, and that are now considered "Americanisms". Examples would be the use of the word "guess", and the name "fall" for the season that follows summer. Both of these would be perfectly familiar to Chaucer, and both of these are used nationwide --and not just by people in the country.
     
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