Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Animal Enthusiasts... Palin's Beyond the Pale

This is gruesome to watch, so if you love animals, take my advice and skip it... or watch it anyway so you realize what kind of "animal ethusiast" you'll be voting for as VP if you vote McCain/Palin in November.

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Reaction to Palin's speech [pattern] has been highly varied. Some people dislike it, finding it harsh or grating; others regard it as charming or authentic. These are common responses to a distinctive accent. Depending on the context, such an accent can make a person seem stupid or uneducated or, conversely, honest and folksily trustworthy—often at the same time.

Some people exploit this for effect, emphasizing and de-emphasizing dialect features to prompt a particular reaction. Linguists call this code-switching. In this Palin interview with Katie Couric, you can hear her enunciating her -ings and her yous more clearly in responses where she appeared to have a ready answer, and returning to her more natural -in' and ya when she seemed stumped, which suggests that Palin may have been deliberately attempting to minimize her dialect features for that audience.

Thanks to Joan Hall of the Dictionary of American Regional English and Alaska native James Crippen of the University of Hawaii.

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