Do you speak American?
American English is not spoken the same by residents from different parts of the United States. Based on America’s history and cultural background, English used in America differs from region to region, among ethnic and social groups, even by age and gender. In this documentary film, Robert MacNeil, a journalist, travelled across the United States to discover how and why people from different regions speak different kinds of American English. From north to south, east to west, it is clear that how a person talks to one another defines whom the person is. Robert’s discovering journey began on the East Coast, from New England to New York, to Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh, to Ohio, and to Michigan. When Robert was filling his car with gas in Massachusetts, he talked with the gas station owner. What interested me was this owner’s r-less accent. She pronounced “car” like a “cah”. This r-less pronunciation reminded me of the difference between British and American English. But I did not know that some Americans also pronounce words without r. I think this is just people’s habit to pronounce with r or without r. In New York City, Robert had separate conversations with John Simon, the theater critic for New York magazine, and Jesse Sheidlower, the principal and North American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. John expressed his negative concerns: unhealthy, poor, sad, depressing, and hopeless, toward today’s American English. While Jesse thought changes in language is a better phenomenon. As for teenagers’ spoken and instant message language, those short and simple symbols to express a person’s emotions are also popular among Chinese teens nowadays. When Robert visited Pittsburgh, I totally had no idea what those words printed on the T-shirts meant. I heard about Detroit all because of Eminem, so I was quite curious about what American English accent is in Detroit. In this documentary film, I learned that the inner city of Detroit is...
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