[Fwd: PRESS RELEASE: FAU Graduate Students Offer Speech Therapy Via Webcam to Republic of Rwanda Citizens]

Angus B. Grieve-Smith grvsmth at panix.com
Sat Feb 5 17:08:54 UTC 2011

On 2/5/2011 1:24 AM, alex gross wrote:
> Yes, there is a "standard American accent," which TV announcers & 
> others aspire to, pretty much free of regional traces, whether from 
> New York or Boston, the midwest or the south.
     Like all other "standard accents," it's a myth, more concerned with 
the avoidance of stigmatized regional forms than anything positive.  
It's closer to the accents of the Midwest and the West than it is to 
anything from the Northeast or the South, but it's definitely different 
from any specific Midwestern accent.  And of course, since we're talking 
about Africans, it should be pointed out that while many African 
Americans can approximate this standard as well as anyone else in the 
country, it's particularly far from most Black English accents.

     There is also a (white) "Southern" regional standard that many 
people throughout the South aspire to, and I would guess that includes 
many FAU students, although maybe not speech pathology majors.  It 
shares some features with a number of Black English accents.  In my 
experience native Africans have slightly higher prestige in the US than 
African Americans who were born and raised here, and they are often 
identified as native Africans by British or French features in their 
accents.  This raises the possibility that the "therapy" could wind up 
training these Rwandans to pronounce English in ways that would lower 
their social status instead of raising it.

				-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
				grvsmth at panix.com

More information about the Funknet mailing list