What does it mean to speak English?

I like being a mutt of linguistics. Though not a scholar, not trained in writing, no expert on language at all- I am fascinated by the English word. (I was a successful competitive speaker for many years, but I digress…)
I found this little quiz on another site, (the link of a link of a link escapes me), and thought I’d give it a stab… Here are my results:

Your Linguistic Profile:
75% General American English
10% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

My favourite part of the exercise was rediscovering colloquialisms that I’d long departed from after having lived in three very different places in the US… not more than a few states apart, but staggeringly individual locations nonetheless.
I started life in a medium-sized town on the border of Indiana to Ohio, where the English language is a gentle blend of North and South. You can’t get more typically midwestern than where I grew up. I then moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to attend private art school. The city-slick vocabulary I encountered there permeated my own, fusing a certain worldliness to my daily speech. Years passed, and I found myself an hour or so North of Chicago in a town not so dissimilar to that which I grew up in, but with one major difference: It was a Northern town. This was the definition of “bigger-better-faster-more”. SUVs littered the landscape like cherry blossoms in the spring. Excess is expected in that town. If the grass is greener at your neighbour’s… time to take that SUV to the DIY for a cure. Language is faster, more direct, and certainly became another facet to my own increasingly motherless blend.

I call it “soda.” I call it “pop.” I sometimes ask for a “Coke.” (Truth is, I don’t drink any of that anymore, but when I did, I shifted terms more readily than a used car salesman.) I grew up knowing that a crick is a creek is a stream is a brook. I used “route” as “root” and as a rhyme for “bout”, depending on the usage at hand… I’m a veritable linguistic chameleon at times, but that’s certainly a useful trait.

Now I find my language developing in a new way. I am not just a mutt on my birth soil- I’m an expat mutt. British English is different to American English and it’s not altogether without it’s friendly infiltration. I am melding again with my surroundings. I’m “hoovering” up the local speak as I “acclimatise” to this adopted abode. ๐Ÿ˜‰

“Where are you from?” is becoming a more and more tedious question to answer these days. It could be worse- I could’ve never had these experiences- lived and died knowing only the language of my surrounding community. I am a grateful girl. Ta, thanks, cheers, thx, gracias, thanks much, and thank you. I’m having a linguistic blast!

smooches~
jEN

3 thoughts on “What does it mean to speak English?”

  1. Your Linguistic Profile:
    70% General American English
    15% Upper Midwestern
    15% Yankee
    0% Dixie
    0% Midwestern

    Go figure!!!

    I AM BORN AND RAISED MIDWESTERN!!!!

  2. Now, Stalker, you can’t say “Me again” on a totally separate post… tut. There are simple rules here, mister. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You’ve got no Dixie! The shame…
    What I find weird is that you’ve got nothing for Midwestern, but 15% Upper Midwestern… seems too close to call, but I’m sure these tests are written by absolute experts. heh heh

    Thanks for commenting!
    smooches~
    jEN

  3. Your Linguistic Profile:

    55% General American English
    25% Yankee
    10% Dixie
    10% Upper Midwestern
    0% Midwestern

    Never been across the pond so must reflect the TV I watch.

    Kev

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