Essay, Research Paper
An Analyzation of the Film American Tongues
The film American Tongues discusses different accents and dialects in the United States. It’s interesting to see how in one country there can be so many accents and so many different ways of saying expressions. An accent or dialect means the words we use and how we pronounce them. As stated in the movie, “It doesn’t mean slang, which includes words and expressions that are passing fads.” The movie focuses on the way people perceive others with different accents. There are many stereotypes that are associated with different accents.
One good point that was made in the film is that depending on your accent people might judge you by the way you talk and how you say it. People might not like someone because of their accent therefore people are quick to pass judgment. They also make judgments about a specific area due to their accents. The movie gives examples of how this is true. People from the south are probably considered to be uneducated by “northerners”. This has to do with the fact that the emphasis is more on agriculture than it is on the north therefore there is less need for education. This is where the stereotype comes from that southerners are uneducated. People are prejudice against southern accents because they feel that their accent equals ignorance and racism. It’s ignorant and na ve to judge people by their accents because one cannot judge character by something that is not in their hands.
Another interesting point that is discussed in the film is the way people think they don’t have an accent and everyone else does. For instance, southerners think that northerners are the ones that have the accent and hard to understand. In the film, there is a scene in which a resident from Ohio says how she has no accent and how she speaks “plain English”. People are immune to hear the accent in their own voice therefore they believe that they speak normally and everyone else has accents. In the U.S. there is no normal accent. There are so many people from so many places that there is no possible way that everyone could have the same accent.
Throughout the United States, people have different ways of saying things. In the film, it was shown how there is different terminology for even the word rubber band. People from Pittsburgh call them gum bands. People also have multiple ways of saying one word depending on the area that they live in. The film gives examples of the terminology that is used in the southwest and Alaska. Because in the southwest rainstorms are common, the people there have multiple ways of saying the word. The same goes for Alaska except they have different ways of saying the word snow because it plays a major role in their everyday lives. Although the main language in the United States is English, one can say that everyone speaks a different language because people have multiple ways of saying things.
In the film, it mentions how the way one talks says how they deal with the world. Southerners are considered more laid back while northerners are more chaotic. This is probably true considering what the major areas of focus are in the north and south. The north is more developed and their focus is more on businesses. While in the south, their major area of focus is farming. People in these regions have a different way of life therefore it is inevitable that their language is going to be different. It’s basically like the two areas are different countries. In the film, a Southerner said New Yorkers don’t have the same hospitality as the South, which is the reason for the accent. Westerners, for example people from Texas, feel that they are more open than people from the northeast because of their accent and dialect. These are examples of how there are many stereotypes associated with accents.
There are also many advantages and disadvantages that are associated with having different accents. Speech stereotypes people in their ability to do things. It is easy for people to tell, by the accent an individual has, what region a person comes from. Many stereotypes are attached to certain areas, therefore creating prejudice towards people from those areas and possibly preventing to get a job they desire. In the film, there was a woman from the south that said she would change her accent when she was in her professional field because she didn’t think it was appropriate or professional. There are also advantages to having certain accents. For example, in the film, there was a man from Boston that felt that he was at an advantage for having an accent because people will be intimidated by him when he talked and wouldn’t want to start a fight with him.
From this film, one can see the many aspects of accents. It discusses the stereotypes associated with them and the advantages and disadvantages of certain aspects. From this film, I gained knowledge of how people perceive different accents and the way it influences many problems in the United States. Racism is probably the biggest problem that is a result from accents and dialects. It was shown in the film how people don’t accept Black English because of the people who speak it. If people would understand and accept the fact that there is no one-way of speaking there would be a lot less tension between the different regions.