Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Californian English

When googleing for facts about Swedish dialects, I found out that there is something called "Californian English". I found long, complicated explanations of the phonological processes of Californian English such as it being a rhotic accent etc etc.

And I found out that since California, which is almost exactly the same size as Sweden, is considered a relatively young state and is a state with very blended population - California’s rich diversity makes the state a goldmine of stylistic activity.

In the 1980s "a stereotype of California English was cemented as being primarily the province of Valley Girls and Surfer Dudes"... And certain words from this period such as awesome and dude are popular in California and have spread in the nation, and even international (is the word "dude" used in Swedish these days...?). The use of the word like for numerous grammatical functions or as conversational "filler" has also remained popular in California English and is now found in many other varieties of English (Wikipedia).

must be the equivalence of the Swedish "typ"...

So I just have to say things like "hey dude, you're like awesome" and I will blend in perfectly here!

Ok, so how about the accent...? I found this explanation:

"So what are these features that constitute the stereotypic California accent? In the speech of white people in California, as in many parts of the west, the vowels of hock and hawk, cot and caught, are pronounced the same—so awesome rhymes with possum. Also notable is the movement of the vowels in boot and boat (called back vowels because they are pronounced in the back of the mouth). These vowels all have a tendency to move forward in the mouth, so that the vowel in dude or spoon (as in gag mewith a…) sounds a little like the word you, or the vowel in pure or cute. Also, boat and loan often sound like bewt and lewn—or eeeeuuw." (Do you speak American?)

Did you follow??

Now - you just say the following sentence according to the explanation above and you speak Californian English!

Hey Dude, you're like an awesome hawk on a boat wearing a boot, eating pure possum - eeeeuuw!

You're all set!