No, I am not talking about the band, but the language that we speak in the United States of America.
Last month, my blog post was about some of the business classes I've been taking.Recently, I enrolled in a class about the history of American English.We’ve talked about history, dialect, accents, words and phrases.Since we can use dialects when writing dialogue, I thought this class would be helpful.
Our English started way back in the 1600s, when people from England (perhaps some of your ancestors) sailed across the Atlantic to settle in the southeastern and northeastern parts of the United States.In 1607, Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, was founded in Virginia.The Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in 1620, followed by the Puritans in 1630.Over the years, other immigrants arrived, including the Quakers, Germans, Scots-Irish and many groups of people from many lands.As settlement of the US expanded, so did the language, with different dialects, spellings, and words.
A man by the name of Noah Webster, who thought that Americans should have their own language, wrote the first American dictionary.It was published in 1806.The next edition was published in 1828.It was called the American Dictionary of the English Language.You can browse that book here: http://1828.mshaffer.com/.
It’s helpful to study maps to gain a better understanding of dialects.This map covers the US and Canada and it is very detailed.You can also listen to samples of dialects on this website, http://aschmann.net/AmEng/.
How do you speak American English?You can learn more about why you talk a particular way by taking the following quiz, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html.
I touched briefly on the history of our language here today.I will write more about American English in future blog posts.
Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.