Linguistics Chapter 11 Instructors Manual This Covers The Most Salient Features Southern English

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
English with an Accent: Language-- Ideology and Discrimination in the United States 2nd Edition
Rosina Lippi-Green
Chapter 11
Instructors Manual
This chapter covers:
The most salient features of Southern English to non-southern listeners
Non-southern perceptions of the Deep South and its dialects
The ways that Southerners perceive themselves and their speech
A discussion of the differences between covert and overt prestige
The linguistic diversity of the South
Bourdieu’s strategies of condescension and the linguistic subordination of Southern
The way people connect language variety, communication, and intelligence in regards to
Southern English
The stereotypes that Northern intelligence to education and Southern intelligence to
common sense
The issue of accent reduction, especially for speakers of Southern English
Sample answers to the questions from the text and the website
From the textbook
1. In this chapter, the popular entertainment examples that contribute to southern stereotypes
are dated. You may not know who Lil’ Abner is, and you may never have seen an episode of The
Beverley Hillbillies. Does this indicate to you a decline in southern stereotypes? If not, where
are the current day stereotypes to be found? How were your beliefs and opinions about the South
(or the North) formed? If you are interested in pursuing this question, you may want to start with
Cooke-Jackson and Hansen (2008) " Appalachian Culture and Reality TV: The Ethical Dilemma
of Stereotyping Others."
2. Read the following article:
Knight, D. (2000) Standards. In Standard Speech and Other Contemporary Issues in
Professional Voice and Speech Training. R. Dal Vera (ed.) New York: Applause
Summarize Knight's main points and his arguments. Which ones do you find credible, and why?
3. If you are a Southerner, how many different southern accents do you recognize? Do you
consider yourself good at telling accents apart? What features do you take note of when people
talk? Which accents do you dislike, and can you figure out why, objectively?
4. If you know a child of ten years or so and have that child's parent's permission, see if you can
elicit opinions about the South (or North, depending on where you live) without leading. If this
isn't possible, try someone of your grandparent's generation. Compare your findings in class.
5. Without thinking or preparation, write down as many non-fictional Southerners you can think
of. These can be personal acquaintances or public figures. When youre finished, go back and try
to be specific about what part of the South each person comes from. Check your answers for
accuracy. What results do you draw from this exercise? (If you are a Southerner, reverse this
process and make a list of Northerners or Westerners). If you are a Southerner, how much do
you know about (for example) North Dakota as compared to Michigan, or Kansas compared to
Idaho? Do you notice any linguistic differentiation? Is there differentiation that you just don't
6. Read the entire column by Withrow quoted at the beginning of the section called "Hostility
with a Southern Accent." Consider that you have been engaged by the same newspaper to write a
column that represents a different point of view. What ways might it be possible to approach
Withrow to have a calm and rational discussion about the subject of grammar? She clearly feels
7. A woman writes to Dear Abby to say that she has moved to the Boston area after living her
whole life in Jackson, Mississippi. It has been two years, but she is still not used to people
laughing in her face and mocking her accent. She doesn't understand why people find this not
only acceptable, but amusing. She wants to know how best to respond when she comes across
this behavior. How do you think Miss Abby will respond, and why?
8. In an article called "Nationalization of a Southernism,” Tillery et al. (2000) present evidence
that one feature of southern U.S. English is actually spreading into the north, at a good pace.
What feature do you think this might be? Read the article and discuss how and why this might be
happening. If you would like to look at this issue more closely, read Hyman (2006).
From the website
1. Listen to the clips of Southern English. Can you hear the variation? Can you tell which region
of the South these dialects are from? Are some dialects more strongly devalued than others?
Which ones do you think would be most accepted by outsiders? Why do you think that is?
John Reep―Southerners‖
Comedy Central Stand-Up
Gary Valentine―Southern Accents‖
Comedy Central Stand-Up
1. Analyze these two clips in light of what you have learned in Chapter 11. How is Southern
English represented in these clips? What stereotypes of people who speak Southern English are
apparent? Why does Gary Valentine imitate Southern English in his routine, and what does his
use of Southern English reveal about his language ideology?
Sample answer: In the first clip, a native speaker of Southern English depicts the dialect as one
associated with the country by emphasizing that he is not from the city any city. He also makes
Suggested activities and discussion questions
1. Revisit Bourdieu’s idea of strategies of condescension and then ask your students if they have
ever heard someone imitate Southern English in order to mock it. What was the context? What
was the message the person was sending to his or her addressees? What does that non-
Southerner’s use of Southern English reveal about his or her language ideology?
2. Discuss the notions of overt and covert prestige. Do the students attach covert prestige to a
certain way of speaking? If so, ask them to provide details on what the covertly prestigious
3. Ask your students why they think Southern English is devalued while Western and
Midwestern English are more highly valued. What could be behind this language ideology?

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