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Men’s Rights Redditors find “ebonics” hilarious

The regulars over on the Men’s Rights Subreddit are currently getting amused and/or outraged by the existence of a book titled “Girl, Get That Child Support,” a guide to help single mothers track down deadbeat dads and get the child support they are owed. A few of them were apparently so overstimulated by the book’s title, and a reference to “Baby Mamas” in the subtitle, that this little conversation ensued:

 

Note the upvotes and the (scarcity of) downvotes. And the complete lack of anyone saying “hey, you’re being racist assholes.”

The Men’s Rights Movement, the “most significant civil rights movement of the 3rd millennium.”

 

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Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

Yeah well, I speak Standard Canadian English! Whatcha gonna do aboot it, eh?

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

(Also, random aside – as a Midwesterner who went to college in Massachusetts, I was endlessly amused/annoyed by people’s surprise that I “talked normally.” It got even funnier/more annoying when I would imitate an Ozark accent and people told me that that’s what they always thought all Midwesterners sounded like. Oh, privileged New England kids, I both do and don’t miss you. :-p )

chibigodzilla
8 years ago

Since no one has mentioned it Dialect Map!

chibigodzilla
8 years ago

@chibigodzilla Although, I would argue that the data for the Colorado (my home state) is incomplete, they don’t have enough samples from the various regions to imply a trend. Still, it’s a neat map that tries to demonstrate the intricacies of American English, but mainly shows that it’s really, really complicated.

random6x7
random6x7
8 years ago

Pecunium and Shaenon, another Pittsburgher here! Well, former Pittsburgher, but I feel like I’ve met more former Pittsburghers than current.

Alex
8 years ago

I’m Canadian, but have been told that those who live in my city, including myself, have a Michigan accent. Ts and ds that appear at the end of words get swallowed. Apparently that’s a Michigan thing. Then again, I’ve had a few people tell me I sound either Irish English or from out East because of the way I pronounce certain words, which I supposed I could’ve picked up from my Irish English grandmother. Hey, we all have our quirks, eh?

Comet
Comet
8 years ago

You know, I used to know a Jamaican guy who spoke Jamaican patois at home and standard English at school and he switched between them. He was bilingual or at least bi-dialectitual and now I’m making up words. The idea that ‘they’re just talking like that because they can’t speak English like educated people’ is ridiculous.

Oh… and I’m from Northeast England so I have a Geordie accent, definitely experienced my share of snobbery and people pretending they couldn’t understand me when I was down south 😀 And it goes a little something like this:

Jean-Renee
Jean-Renee
8 years ago

@chibigodzilla

Thanks. I hadn’t seen the dialect map before. It’s neat, but the “pin = pen” thing threw me. Do these words sound different when other people say them? How so?

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

Thanks. I hadn’t seen the dialect map before. It’s neat, but the “pin = pen” thing threw me. Do these words sound different when other people say them? How so?

This is one of those things it’s crazy hard to explain solely in written form, especially when I’m typing and too lazy to find out how to insert IPA symbols in html. :-p

Basically, yes, they do sound entirely different in many accents, somewhat different in many others, and totally the same in some more. Almost everyone seems to pronounce “pin” roughly the same way – the distinction is generally in how you make the short-e sound in “pen.” In your accent, it is fairly likely that the words “bet” and “bit” sound different. Try saying “pen” with the same vowel sound you used in “bet,” and see if that sounds different than “pin” now.

There’s lots more like this, and it’s darn weird when you first start learning it. In my accent, the vowel sounds that drive me nuts are “aw” and “ah,” which everyone around here says indistinguishably and everyone in New Jersey (where I happened to be when I was learning the IPA) thought I was crazy for not immediately being able to hear as two totally distinct sounds.

katz
8 years ago

Comet: Your Jamaican friend is code-switching. (Linguistics is fascinating but I should probably leave it up to the linguists!)

Jean-Renee
Jean-Renee
8 years ago

@ Polliwog,

Thank you. That does make sense. It took a couple of tries before I could hear the difference, and it sounds very weird to me. I think I’ll stick to my Southern accent. 🙂

chibigodzilla
8 years ago

@Alex
What city are you in, is it near the great lakes?

@Jean-Renee
I’m not sure if the map makes it clear, but some regions have more vowel sounds, out in “The West” we have very few, so pin and pen are often lumped together and I think that the whole pin/pen thing might be one of those. Personally, I’ve lived pretty much my entire life on that “Pin-pen merger” so it’s hard for me to explain.

Do you pronounce Ben and bin differently? If so Ben sounds like pen and bin sounds like pin.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Comet: what you are calling, “bi-dialectical” is code-switching. We all do it (think about how teens talk to their friends, vs. how they talk to their parents).

It’s simple, in that everyone does it, and complex, in that it involves knowing your audience, and that some words have more than one meaning, depending on context, and some of the shades of meaning are subtle.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

@Pecunium, I might argue that using different registers — how you’d talk to your peers, or your parents, or your children,etc — is not quite the same as code-switching, which usually requires different dialects or languages. I don’t think there’s enough systematic differences between registers to really qualify. But I’m just a nerdy undergraduate so, grain of salt >.>

My grandparents used to code-switch between English and French all the time, as a sort of social marker of their Franco-albertain history, and to maintain their connection to one another. It was really cute. We called it “grandma’n’grandpa speak”.

drst
drst
8 years ago

A lot of broadcasting classes stress learning “Upper Midwest” as the best neutral accent to have for working in news. Mind you, they don’t work off actual dialect mapping, more “sound like you’re from the northern midwest, but stop short of Canada, eh?”

(Apologies to any Canadians I just offended. I grew up 60 miles from the border and my Canadian friends say I sound like them. 🙂

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Viscaria: Grey area. Depends on how different the registers are. I’m told that watching me speak to police is “scary” because my entire way of presenting changes.

I know that “speaking army” is code switching, even though almost all the words are standard english. The difference is, often, connotational meaning. It’s not as dramatic as flipping from English to Russian, or even from San Francisco English to Eastern Tennessee English, but it’s more than moving from LA to SF.

Holly Pervocracy
8 years ago

Drst – Hrm. My partner is from the northern midwest and he has a distinctive “oh ya doncha know, I was up nort in da yoopie” accent that doesn’t sound much like a broadcaster. I think the broadcast voice is closer to Seattle.

chibigodzilla
8 years ago

Personally, I’m not getting comet’s friend as actually code-switching. It doesn’t seem (to me) like they were switching between “Proper English” & “Jamacian patois” within the same conversation, which seems (again, to me) like the key difference between code-switching and poly-lingualism.

M Dubz
M Dubz
8 years ago

@chibigodzilla- that code map is awesomesauce. I’m from Philadelphia, and it frustrates me to no end that I don’t have a lot of the standard dialect markers (I think it has something to do with theater training and having grandparents from Central Pennsylvania). That being said, a Philadelpha native recently picked my best friend and I out in the line into Mt. Vernon and Philly natives, so who knows?

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

Heh, I love how we’ve now attributed the “newscaster” accent to pretty much every region of the Midwest.

I don’t want to claim too much authority, since most of my study of dialect and pronunciation comes from the realm of classical music, not journalism or linguistics, but everything I’ve learned IDs the basis of the Standard American accent as being what I’d call the “central Midwest” accent – located around southern Iowa, northern Missouri, western Illinois, and therabouts. Or, in other words, “around the origin points for the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails,” which is generally the reason I’ve heard given as to why this accent spread enough to become seen as standard. So, if you want to talk like a journalist, talk like someone from Des Moines. (Unless Des Moines has some weird, atypical, Des Moines-specific accent I haven’t noticed – I’ve only driven through Des Moines on the way to other places, so it’s theoretically possible that Des Moines residents have a totally wacky accent and I just don’t know about it.)

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

Pecunium, you make good points. I will concede, sir. :- )

Sharculese
Sharculese
8 years ago

I’m Canadian, but have been told that those who live in my city, including myself, have a Michigan accent. Ts and ds that appear at the end of words get swallowed. Apparently that’s a Michigan thing

there’s definitely bleedover. when we were in canada last summer a lot of people told my dad (illinois raised, from minnesotan stock) that he sounded like a local

Happy
Happy
8 years ago

Red-neck, red-pill… A connection?

The MRM is continuing it’s Blitzkreig further into the outer reaches of the lunatic fringe.

*Outed as a hate movement by the SPLC.

*Humiliated with the “Sink Misandry” stupidity.

*Further humiliated by Tom Martin’s idiotic court case and subsequent meltdown on this very blog.

*JohnTheOther’s hilarious backtrack on Youtube and unforgettable wounded words about being picked on for getting it so wrong.

*And, of course, the constant drip of racist, sexist, ill-informed bile regularly exposed here.

All in less than three weeks. That’s not bad going for “the most significant civil rights movement of the 21st century”.

Now is not a good time to be an MRA. Looks like 2012 won’t be the year of victory for them after all.

BigMomma
BigMomma
8 years ago

my boyfriend made me blow a gasket 20yrs ago when he informed me that,as i was Scottish, that i had an accent unlike him, being southern English and privately educated, who has no accent. I took it upon myself to discuss with him the inherent colonialism in language and its power structures. this was the same dude who also used England interchangeably with Britain (UK compatriots will get that at least). i had fun ‘discussing’ that with him too.

and, reader, i married him.

p.s. the UK is chock full of accents to a degree that is totally bizarre and totally classist and racist along with it.

p.p.s still married to dude but luckily he is a bit better informed these days.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Viscaria: We’re both right. It’s like dialect/language. They shade.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

For people who are interested: Vowel shifts and politics

BigMomma
BigMomma
8 years ago

@pecunium

is it just me or is that link not working?

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Big Momma: It seems to be not working. Let me try again.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Vote and vowel shifts

It’s interesting, but it’s conclusions are a bit sensational… it’s Discover.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

This entry is giving me so many fond memories of my old Linguistics courses…

I’m from the South, but don’t sound it unless talking to relatives. And MY accent is still COMPLETELY different than that of my husband, who has a thick Southern accent that still gets Yankees here mistaking his Is for Rs. And both of us sound completely different to my granny who has a big-time New Orleans accent.

My husband’s accent is probably considered the most “low class” one, but it also seems to help him appearing “friendly,” which works very well with his personality.

filetofswedishfish
filetofswedishfish
8 years ago

I want to throw my hat into the language ring! I was raised in the Chicagoland area. I hit my a’s really hard, and i say “haffing”. Like: “I made it to the store without haffing to stop at any stoplights”. Also, a (N. Wisconsin) coworker got confused when I was talking about grain elevators near my rural, corn-farming hometown. He said “Wtf is a “green elevator?”. I also tend to say “tawk or wawk” more than “talk or walk” My parents are both from southern Illinois. Dad from Shelbyville, near Springfield, and my mom from Johnsonville/Xenia, not terribly far from the Kentucky border. Dad says warsh, and my mom drawls a little bit.

I moved up to Madison, WI last year, not two hours away from Chicago. My boyfriend is from way northern Wisconsin. He sounds slightly Canadian with his “hohws (house)” and “abohwt”. But everyone here says “beyg” instead of bag, and “teyg” instead of tag. They pretty much pick me right out as a dirty FIB because I say “baaag” with a very hard, somewhat longer “a” sound. Being back down around either my hometown, or the more-urban Chicago area freaks FiletofSwedishBoyfriend right out, cause he says “FoSF, everyone here talks like you and it’s weird”. Also, the new Geico commercial where the gecko is in Chicago is totally off base.

PDA (short for PDA's Dada Acronym)

I lived in Hawai’i for 12 years, and spent a couple years working at a native Hawaiian charter school. What was interesting was how (relatively) quickly and subconsciously I took on code-shifting: auto-negotiating from standard AmEng through pidgin (HCE) and into full Hawaiian, oftentimes in the same conversation. And now that I live in New England it’s really hard, well-nigh impossible in fact, to avoid getting all non-rhotic when in a crowd of R-droppers.

My fiancée was raised in San Diego and Eastern Mass by two midwestern parents, and is almost an idiolect: she pronounces ‘milk’ as ‘melk,’ which neither of us have ever heard anyone else say. Weird how accents/dialects accrete like that.

BigMomma
BigMomma
8 years ago

heh i started reading that article and thought ‘hey that reminds me of learning Anglo Saxon (yup, you heard right) and my tutor waxing lyrical on the great vowel shift that occurred’ and whaddya know, they reference the great vowel shift a few sentences later!

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
8 years ago

most people north of me speak in something approximating the “newscaster” accent, and as you go south, the accent rapidly gets further away from that until you hit the full-on Ozark twang. Which is still Midwestern, and definitely not a privileged accent outside its home region, since it’s roughly what many would call a “hillbilly accent.”

I have the whole Ozark twang, and most of my family and friends do, too. If you know Larry the Cable Guy (Tow Mater on Disney’s Cars), that’s kind of common in southern Missouri. It’s not seen as prestigious. However, I find the whole redneck accent to be charming and endearing. I mean listening to Larry the cable talk, you get the feeling that he’d be real down to earth and a fun guy to drink beer with. That might be part of the appeal of the Redneck comedy tour.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

Huh. Inland South basically followed the Tennessee River Valley up into Kentucky.

I knew that folks south of Lexington tend to say “yinz” sometimes instead of “y’all,” but I wasn’t aware that folks in the north of Kentucky and the southern reaches of the states to its north used it.

Comet
Comet
8 years ago

This is fascinating =)

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

I was born in Pittsburg. My parents came from Cleveland and Rockville. I grew up, to the age of eight, in N. Indiana, the S. Side of Chicago, and in/around Cleveland.

I moved to E. LA, and spent 35 years up and down the coast (with a sojourn in the middle of the Mojave). I speak three languages (ASL doesn’t count for this discussion) and can get by in a couple of others (to about Level 1 on the DLPT* My english is somewhere between 4+ and 5. The CG website leaves out some of the requirments for a spoken 5, which involves, at the very least some ability to contextually register shift).

My father lives in E. Tenn., and 16 years in the Army sent me around the US, and to a few non US countries.

I have a very plastic ear. I can fake Americans into thinking I’m non-native (sometimes by accident, when I’m in a region where I don’t speak the idiolect, which makes me much more careful about my pronunciation; this stilts my speech somewhat. It causes people to listen more attentively; because they notice that I’m not speaking as they are. I don’t do it conciously).

I can do some of the subtle shifts (as in the way people in LA refer to highway names, compared to how people in SF do it), without noticing. Other things (such as the difference between soda, pop, coke and tonic) I have to be in a place for a little while to pick up. But I am lucky enough to usually be taken, in fairly short order, for someone who is, while not native, local.

If I make the effort to speak a language I know some of, I get treated better than I expect. On the flight back from Paris the Lufthansa staff seemed to think I spoke fairly fluent German, though my skill isn’t more than about that Level 1, perhaps shading to 1+

Like I said, I like language.

I get stopped by people who want directions, all the time; even when I’m in a foriegn country (most usually Canada, but it happened in Paris once).

*Scan down to get the DLPT Scale

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

My prof wrote that Discover blog post! She’s pretty alright.

The most interesting example of code-switching I ever personally witnessed was on a bus in Montreal. Two teenage boys got on the bus, making dirty jokes about Harry Potter. Almost their entire conversation was in French, except they cursed regularly and fluently in English. I don’t know if they slipped any French swear words in there, since my French is far from perfect, but it seemed to me that French was for content and English was for emotional flavour. It was interesting, since I assumed (perhaps wrongly, to be fair) that French was their first language and English was learned later, and usually swears in your native tongue feel a lot more potent. Obviously the languages interact in complex ways in Montreal, and I have absolutely no expertise in that area. Maybe that’s quite typical for Montreal youth, and anyone who hails from there can tease me for being such an ignorant Westerner XD.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Viscaria: French and English swearing is very different (forgive me if you’ve gone over this somewhere else). English uses bodily functions. French uses religious terms. If you speak french (esp. Quebecois), you NEED to see Bon Cop, Bad Cop. It’s Fookin’ Brilliant!

The scene about how to swear… Oh My God! 🙂 😀

Russian has a completey different way of swearing, so much so that they refer to it as another language, and I have an (out of date by now) couple of hundred page, 8×10 “Dictionary of Slang annd Vulgarisms” from when I was in the Army. They have single verbs for things it would take phrases, or sentences to say in English.

I really like Russian. I am terribly out of practice, and this thread has been useful, in that it reminded me to look at the DLI CE materials, not all of whch require being in the DoD to take advantage of. Russian is the first language I made an intentional pun in, outside English.

Ruby Hypatia
Ruby Hypatia
8 years ago

For all you who personally attack me because you hate my political views, you can go fuck yourselves you fuckin’ morons!

And yeah, if you have a white collar job interview, and you talk like Larry the cable guy, don’t expect to get the job.

PDA (short for PDA's Dada Acronym)

Do francophones other than Quebecoises use “tabarnac,” “câlice,” etc?

I just find that hilarious.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

@Pecunium: Whereabouts in the US do they refer to sodas as tonics? That’s a new one on me.

Some places south of me, I hear tell they try to have it both ways and call a soda a “popcoke.”

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Ruby

Sweet Jesus, person, I didn’t attack you! I mentioned that my experience in the South is that there are different responses to different accents. And I STILL think discriminating against someone against an accent is damn foolish.

What does that have to do with your personal belief system or you as a person? Christ.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

PDAs: Yes, other francophones use sacral terms to swear.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

Do francophones other than Quebecoises use “tabarnac,” “câlice,” etc?

As part of my (fairly orthodox) French education, I was taught that continental French speakers do use religious terms as swears. I don’t think we learned many, and I can’t recall any right now, so I don’t know if they use “tabarnac” or not, but I want to say that they do.

@Ruby Hypatia: Sorry, we’re ignoring that kind of thing unless it’s cast in some form of meter. Try a pantoum, I don’t think we’ve had one of those yet.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

Falconer: New England. I first saw it in Boston-ish. The supermarket/grocery/A&P (depending on where one lives) had an aisle, “Tonic”, and I went looking for Tonic Water, all it was was sodas. For Tonic Water I had to go to the section which was labled, “Mixers”, and there it was, nestled with the seltzer and the margarita mix.

Texas… the place I ordered a coke and was asked what kind I wanted. I asked what kinds of coke they had (cherry, lemon, vanilla, etc.), and was told, “well we got all kinds, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Seven-Up.

Nothing actually by the Coca-Cola company.

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

For all you who personally attack me because you hate my political views, you can go fuck yourselves you fuckin’ morons!

Right now, it’s because you’re a racist moron. That you are also an idiot is grating, but htat you are a fucking racist, moreso.

And yeah, if you have a white collar job interview, and you talk like Larry the cable guy, don’t expect to get the job.

Does this look like a motherfucking job training seminar to you? Shit, you fucking idiot, even though it’s true, you’re not going to hear me defend that fucking idiotic line of reasoning; Yes, you should talk like a privileged person to the best of your ability in a job interview, assuming you want the job, but it sucks that we have to because of classism, racism and the like. You shouldn’t be proud of these facts somehow.

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

My fiancée was raised in San Diego and Eastern Mass by two midwestern parents, and is almost an idiolect: she pronounces ‘milk’ as ‘melk,’ which neither of us have ever heard anyone else say.

I’d guess that’s from the Midwestern parents, since most people around where I live (Kansas City) say “melk.”

(Also, I’m stupidly, nerdishly excited by this, because I didn’t consciously notice till now that other people didn’t say “melk.” I like finding new words that I can use as accent-markers, since one of my little nerd-games is meeting people and trying to see how quickly I can identify their origins based solely on how they talk.)

I have the whole Ozark twang, and most of my family and friends do, too. If you know Larry the Cable Guy (Tow Mater on Disney’s Cars), that’s kind of common in southern Missouri. It’s not seen as prestigious. However, I find the whole redneck accent to be charming and endearing.

A good number of my extended family members have accents that are either full-on Ozark or halfway there, so I find it rather endearing, too – but it was kinda hilarious watching the upper-class kids from Connecticut wince when I’d do my best imitation of it. :-p

PDA (short for PDA's Dada Acronym)

I’d guess that’s from the Midwestern parents, since most people around where I live (Kansas City) say “melk.”

And that’s the funny part, because neither of them use that pronunciation or know anyone who does. They’re from Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

San Diego being the migrant town it is, though, I’m guessing there was some long-forgotten childhood friend who was raised somewhere around the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas. Good to finally know where the “melk”ers are!

Polliwog
Polliwog
8 years ago

And that’s the funny part, because neither of them use that pronunciation or know anyone who does. They’re from Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

San Diego being the migrant town it is, though, I’m guessing there was some long-forgotten childhood friend who was raised somewhere around the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas. Good to finally know where the “melk”ers are!

Ha. I love that sort of total, unexplained randomness in accents. I’m still trying to figure out why my father says “warsh” instead of “wash,” but not one of his eleven brothers and sisters does.