What does ACCENT mean in American English?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 14 06:03:12 UTC 2001

At 1:48 PM -0400 9/14/01, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>In a message dated 9/14/2001 12:17:44 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:
><< >>"The only reason I am dropping the class is because of the teacher. I
>>   >don't like her accent."
>>   >
>The only way I can take the above is the phonological one; I can't
>imagine in being used anywhere I've lived to refer to the content,
>focus, or direction of the course "she" teaches.
>  >>
>Think again, Larry, about what people do in actual conversations!
>particular emphasis: _the accent is on participation_."
>I don't have time to do a web search, but I'd guess one could find examples
>of this pretty easily. I will grant you that general ACCENT is not used this
>way without some explicitly defining context. However, as I'm sure Larry
>knows (!), a snippet of conversation divorced from the rest of the
>conversation may well divorce the snippet from the explicitly defining
>context that was implicitly understood by the participants in the
True enough, but what I was looking at (out of the full discourse
context, to be sure) was not just "accent" but "I don't like her
accent", which I think for most speakers represents quite a different
environment than "the accent is on participation".


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