Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I still remember the day I made my choice. I was sitting in class, learning about the difference between a dialect and a language and listening to a description of all the different ways people spoke. It was beautiful to me. I loved the melodies of their voices and the rhythm—the musical rhythm—of their speech patterns. Even their grammatical choices were sweet to the taste of my mouth as I rolled them over on my tongue. I was enamored.
As enamored as I was, though, other people were disgusted. I still remember the heat of the anger boiling up in my veins and clogging my throat as I watched the girl on the screen, the girl who was engaged to a Southern boy and broke it off when she heard his deep accent when they went to visit his family. I had seen that look before. It was the reason I had lost my own Georgia accent after three years in Provo. But when I heard it articulated, when I saw the way she looked down her nose at anyone who might think English could be spoken any other way, something inside me clicked. I understood. There was no right. There was no wrong. There was only the beauty of words and the way they could weave together to make stunning art. I am a descriptivist, a linguistic liberal, a bleeding heart; I am vehemently opposed to imposing “correctness” on others.