Pacific Northwest Dialectology Smackdown

It bothers me when I hear linguists on the radio or see in somebody’s text book some crap about how the entire American West speaks from Nebraska to Alaska speaks the same “general American speech.”  What in your years of study of sociolinguistics would ever suggest to you that such a vast geographical area with such crazy migration patterns would have a homogeneous dialect?  Time to put you on blast.

You people.  So I’m not a sociolinguist or a dialectologist, but sometimes I pretend I am one, jackastically on my own blog.  I’m only pointing out the obvious.

I say you people have a tin ear.  Hollywood, of course, knows the difference between a surfer dude and a Wyoming cowboy; unfortunately, it goes beyond the “cot-caught” merger that you learned as a freaking undergrad.

Let’s take the Northwest, for example.

  • First of all, there’s creaky voice all over the damn place here.  It’s a female thing! they say.  Or it’s grunge-band male!  It’s amerindian sub-strata!  It’s only young people!  How do these people suck so bad, the data is everywhere!
  • Second, we have a pin/pen merger, and it’s not the same one you know in the South.
  • We native Notherwesterners have a “soda” and “pop” distinction:  “pop” is pre-mixed (i.e., pop machine, can of pop) and “soda” is mixed right before consuming (i.e., soda fountain, Italian soda).  So you won’t hear us say *italian pop, *pop fountain, or *soda machine.  We do have a “can of soda,” but it’s this, a can of carbonated water, without syrup.
  • We pronounce the “roof” and “root” with the same vowel as in “cook.”
Now people are going to write in and say “I can say soda machine!” or better yet, “well that just sounds stupid,” but I must remind you that this is a discussion about dialectology, and not about what sounds right to you.  Who the hell are you anyway?  Shove it up your ass.

Or you’re going to say “Well I grew up in Redmond, and my “root” rhymes with “boot” so everything you claim is wrong.”  Again, shove it up your ass, you johnny-come-lately, tin-eared, East-coast collaborator.  You suck at dialectology as well.

Here’s some lexicon you won’t hear in Boston (below). Definitions are in English, because I know you suck at Chinook Jargon.

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