tbh seeing posts made by japanese people in only kanji sometimes confuses the shit out of me like i just saw one post that was captioned with the kanji for “spring” and the blog title said “angel” but the kanji is the same in the chinese hanzi so i always have to second guess myself whenever i see kanji/hanzi on the internet now like ok chances are this is a japanese person but i literally can’t fucking tell it’s both hilarious and embarrassing if i get it wrong

it’s called AAVE, you FUCKTRUCK

I hate how people here think that “proper general English” is the only way to speak English and all the others are considered “idiocy” like if language has anything to do with intelligence. I’m not even from the U.S. and I know this better than most of you.

Below is a list of all English dialects in North America:

American English - Standard American English is the general form


Canadian English:


Bermudian English

Native/American indigenous peoples

Native American/indigenous peoples of the Americas English dialects:

That’s a lot of languages!

This map (even though minimal, since a city can have more than one variety of the same dialect, and Trento and Sardinia seem to be left out for whatever reason) is the most precise map of the italian dialects I’ve found to date.
And, if you wonder - yes, each is a separate language. It’s not just you say soda, I say pop (you can look at the difference between dialects and accents here, and the difference between dialects and regional varieties here), we’re talking about separate languages with separate grammars.
The difference between a dialect and a regional variety of a standard language lies in the fact that a dialect is a completely different language, while a regional variety is a slightly different way to use the standard one.
So, going back to the dialects of Italy: each city, town, and village has its own language (not just a different accent), and to make a comparison, Neapolitan and Palermitan are as distant as French and Italian.
The colors on the map refer to the group each dialect belongs to.
Let us try to shortly summarize the groups,  starting from North to South:

  • Dialects of the Venetian group (the yellow ones)
  • Gallo-Italic dialects (the purple ones)
  • Corsican and Tuscan dialects (the brown ones)
  • Median dialects (the orange ones)
  • Southern dialects (the blue ones)
  • Deep southern dialects (the green ones)

    So, now a pair of quick Q&A’s…!
  • Do the dialects of Italy come from Italian?
    No. Just like French, or Spanish, each of the dialects of Italy is a different evolution of Vulgar Latin. Italian, as you might already know, is the evolution of the Tuscan dialect, which, in turn, was the evolution of the Vulgar Latin spoken in Tuscany.

  • Are these dialect mutually understandable?
    Just whithin the same group. Story time: my dialect belongs to the Southern group and I once was in Veneto, (where dialects belonging to the yellow group are spoken) and my train stopped in the middle of the Venetian countryside because, well, a man was trying to go under it. So I had to catch a plane. I stepped out of the train to talk to a police officer, and guess what? He spoke Venetian only. Which, of course, I couldn’t understand. To add some spice to the matter, he also stuttered. So I kindly asked him please, can you speak Italian (or something that sounds like it)?
  • Are there people who don’t speak the dialect of their city?
    Yes and no. Chances are, that you’re just not used to using it. But you do understand it - and surely can speak it, if you try to.
  • Are there people who don’t speak Italian?
    Yes. My grandma, for example, doesn’t speak it. But she does understand it - let’s just say her Italian might sound veeery broken.
  • Are there people who can speak both?
    Yes - they’re called bilinguals. Just like a person who grew up speaking, say, Portuguese and English, also people who speak Italian and their native dialect are bilingual. I was pretty lucky to have learnt both: a treasure I’ll cherish for ever.
  • Do these dialect have writing systems?
    No. Everyone writes it the way they think it should be written. And we all understand each other. Spelling is not an issue. Linguists, of course, use the IPA alphabet. This is because such dialects have sounds that are not present in the Latin alphabet. So IPA is the safer way to write them.
  • Is there poetry, literature, or music in such dialects?
    Luckily - yes! All over the place. Sadly, most of it has never been translated into a major language. But, if you’re curious, just ask away!

A tour of the British Isles in accents.

Why are written French and spoken French so different?

A really interesting answer to a question on Quora, from Andrew MacKenzie. Quora is sometimes weird about making you log in to read things, but I think this link will work. 

The answer describes several areas where written and spoken French are different, and it’s worth reading in full, but I want to focus on discourse configuration. Here’s the first bit of what MacKenzie says about it: 

Written French word order is based on argument structure, i.e. the role the nouns play in the verb’s action: Subject verb object.  In spoken French, however, word order is much more dependent on discourse structure— the role the nouns play in the speech context.  

In English we can move things around for this kind of reason, but it isn’t common.  For instance, to show contrast, we can put objects before subjects:

(4) Coffee, I like. Tea, I don’t.  

This displacement is accompanied by a sharp change in intonation— the contrasted item gets emphasized.  

We can also set nouns apart as topics (this is called topicalization)

(5) Your brother, he can run a mile in five minutes!

Again, in English this isn’t common.  And in written French, it isn’t common either.  But in spoken French, it’s the normal way to make a sentence.

(4 again) Le café, j'adore.  Le thé, moins
(5 again) Ton frère, il peut courir un km six en cinq minutes!

In spoken French, it’s also common to put several nouns in front.  Note that with topicalization (5) you have to have a pronoun in the sentence that refers to any arguments that you’ve topicalized.  One sentence that I remember well:

(6) Moi, les flics, je les aime pas.  
I don’t like cops  [Lit: Me, cops, I don’t like ‘em] 

The use of nous, on for “we” is common, too, if you’re interested in syntax-semantic mismatches (on is 3rd singular morphologically)

(7) Nous, on va au ciné ce soir.
   We’re going to the movies tonight [Lit: Us, one is going to the movies tonight]

It’s also normal to put things after the sentence. This is usually done to emphasize the last constituent, notably the predicate.  The emphasized part is pronounced with more loudness and higher pitch.

(8)  Il est conton frère.
    Your brother’s a jerk.  [Lit: He’s a jerk, your brother ] 

The next one was some advice from my mother-in-law

(9) Faut en boiredu café, le matin.
You have to drink coffee in the mornings 
    [Lit: have-to some drink, coffee, the morning ]

(Full text)

He mentions that he can’t speak for Belgium or Canada, but as a fluent second-language French speaker living in Montreal, I can definitely say that discourse configuration is very common here, and I hadn’t actually realized it was quite so common in France.

I also get the sense that it’s more acceptable to drop the object in contexts where you definitely can’t do so in English. For example, 

(10) Je peux goûter? 
       Can I try some? [Lit.I can taste? ]

I could also just not be hearing the objects though, since the /l/ is often deleted in casual speech for the object pronouns le, la, l’, les, which makes them almost inaudible. Any French speakers from anywhere want to weigh in? 

If you think that ”Ebonics” isn’t “real English” or that its use signifies ignorance, you’re really just showing off your own linguistic ignorance: African-American Vernacular English, or AAVE, is a dialect with a rich history, origins, internal grammar, and so on. Period. It is not “broken,” “incorrect,” or “wrong” Standard American English any more than Standard American English is “bad” Queen’s English.
An informal language experiment

I heard a random language observation somewhere on the Internet: Regional differences are emerging in the anglosphere for the term for “a small data storage device you plug into a computer’s USB port,” even though they’ve existed in the mainstream for about seven or eight years.

Here’s an informal, unscientific experiment: Write a comment on this post stating which term you usually use, and specify roughly where you live. Choose from the following:

  • Flash drive
  • Memory stick
  • Thumb drive
  • USB drive
  • Another term (specify)
  • I know what this is, but I don’t have a specific term for it

I’ll get the ball rolling: I say “flash drive,” and I’m from Southern California. What term do you use?


What Languages Sound Like to Foreigners

This woman does not actually speak these languages, instead she imitates what they sound like to people who don’t know them. The result is that she sounds as if she’s fluent in multiple languages, but you don’t understand a thing she says.

I call it the kilogram model of language, because there is literally a physical object in France by which the unit kilogram is defined, and there are in fact multiple and worryingly imperfect copies of it around the world. But what linguists have discovered is that language is definitely not like the kilogram. The only place where English really exists is in the minds of its everyday speakers. To the extent that varies geographically and socially, so does English. There are no imperfect copies.

Josef Fruehwald, What’s Wrong With “America’s Ugliest Accent”

The whole thing is worth reading, but I especially like this part. 

Linguistics and Language Stuff, for Beginners

Just a few things:

  • All languages and all dialects, standard and vernacular alike, have “grammar.” Grammar is just a word that means “the order and patterns that we see happening in the language.” Saying “I only like people who use grammar correctly” is like saying “I only like dinosaurs who are dinosaurs." No dinosaur is more or less dinosaur-y than another, unless we’re talking pterodactyls, which are technically flying lizards, not dinosaurs.
  • Linguists, generally, believe that all languages are created equal. Speaking one dialect and not another doesn’t make you inferior or superior to another person. That’s just who you are, baby. It makes you you. In my opinion, it’s okay to simply dislike a dialect because it doesn’t appeal to your sensibilities, but judging people based on how they sound is dumb. It’s like saying you prefer Tyrannosaurus Rexes, and because of that, Triceratops is totally the worst dinosaur and they’re so dumb because they’re not T-Rex. It’s okay to like T-Rex better. It’s not okay to dis on Triceratops because of that.
  • The formal standards we have that get taught in school and that we all learn are the best way to speak!!!!!! are standards because people in power made them so. Who wrote dictionaries? White dudes with access to printing presses and money. Who decided how we spell words? Those same white dudes (and sometimes, a white chick who, because she had $$$, got to proofread a white dude’s dictionary). Telling everyone who doesn’t speak the formal standard as a native dialect that their language is wrong or stupid sucks. Don’t do it. It’s like telling the Velociraptors that because they didn’t grow up acting like Deinonychuses, they’re never going to be as awesome as Deinonychus. Which is wrong, because I guess you never saw Jurassic Park.

Soda/Pop/Coke: How Americans Talk

In 2003, then Harvard professor Bert Vaux conducted the Harvard Dialect Survey, in which he interviewed tens of thousands of Americans about how they talk, and released the results here

In 2012, graduate student Joshua Katz used the data to create a beautiful set of interactive dialect maps.

And in 2013, The Atlantic called up a lot of people, asked them some of Bert Vaux’s questions, layered them over maps inspired by Katz’s and made the video above.

Mod Post: Some basic things about AAVE...

Here are some things that are common in AAVE:

double negation:
I ain’t never seen that boy in my life.” // I have never seen that boy in my life.

absence of 3rd-person singular forms:

He ain’t got no choice but to.” // He doesn’t have any choice but to.

omission of the copula(to be):

He choosing!” // He is choosing. (I.E. this is another way of saying that the person in question is interested in someone; usually the speaker.)

omission of the auxiliary:

You playing ball, bruh?” // “Are you playing basketball?”

past participle of strong verb denotes past tense:

Man, I been done known that!” // “I have known about that for a long time.”

This and certain terms and idioms for certain people (i.e. the “po-po” and “5-0″ mean “the police”; “trap star” or “pusher” means a drug dealer specializing in heavier fare than weed), places (i.e. “the crib” means “the/my home”), things (i.e. “going H.A.M.” or “going Fed” means “getting wild” or “going off”), or actions (i.e. “hit the slab” means “hit the highway” or “let’s go”) make up the bulk of what AAVE is.

It’s a legitimate English dialect that many people speak. And most black people have been taught how to naturally code switch (or change dialects) depending on who they’re talking to and what environment they’re currently in.

Still, if you aren’t black, you shouldn’t be using it… especially after so many of us have been made to feel lesser than for speaking it our entire lives.