American Tongues

Topics: English language, Dialect, Chinese language Pages: 3 (1020 words) Published: August 19, 2007
In this film entitled "American Tongues", the basic message the viewer gets, is that many people have different dialects and that different people have different views about the people who speak them. Some of these views can be negative and offensive, while others can be positive and thoughtful. Regardless, we all can see that dialects have a huge impact on people's lives. In my paper, I will argue that people should learn a standard form of English as long as they are comfortable with it. People shouldn't feel the need to learn a standard form of English, however it is a very good thing to learn and should be put into high consideration. Even though some people might think learning a standard form of English is nonsense, it can be a really rewarding and beneficial thing to learn.

There are a few scenes in the film where people share what they think about using certain dialects. In one scene, there is an African-American woman who is interviewed and asked whether she uses a vernacular dialect or a standard form of English in her everyday life. Her reply was that she uses both types of dialects during different times of her life. She said that when she is out in public or at her work, she talks in a standard form of English. However, she also said that when she is with her family or with her friends, she talks in her vernacular dialect. This shows that the woman thinks that both forms of dialect are useful depending on the situation.

The scene above clearly shows that the African-American woman believes it is wise to learn both a vernacular dialect and a standard form of English. By using Standard English towards her professional life, this shows that she knows that people will judge you by the way you speak. So she uses a standard form of English out in public or at her work, because people will think she is more "educated" or more "professional". Then again she does use a vernacular dialect towards her social life. This shows that she still feels comfortable...
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