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Old 02-06-2017, 12:52 PM
 
12,544 posts, read 7,610,323 times
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Originally Posted by Bitey View Post
You've just described exactly what I'm talking about, summed up quite nicely in the bolded portion. If that doesn't describe cultural reinforcement, nothing does.
I really do not understand what you mean by "cultural reinforcement". Do you consider the way whites talk to other whites as "cultural reinforcement"? In other words, say you run into a person from Russia, but you do not know that he is from Russia. Do you consider it cultural reinforcement if you approach him and speak to him, unconsciously, as if he were American and speaks English? Again, when I meet people from East Africa at a gathering of East Africans, they almost always speak to me in Swahili because they think I am East African. They just assumed that I was like them. Is that cultural reinforcement? To me is just speaking your native tongue to people you assume to be from your native background.

Last edited by Indentured Servant; 02-06-2017 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 02-06-2017, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Brackenwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
I really do not understand what you mean by "cultural reinforcement". Do you consider the way whites talk to other whites as "cultural reinforcement"? In other words, say you run into a person from Russia, but you do not know that he is from Russia. Do you consider it cultural reinforcement if you approach him and speak to him, unconsciously, as if he were American and speaks English? Again, when I meet people from East Africa at a gathering of East Africans, they almost always speak to me in Swahili because they think I am East African. They just assumed that I was like them. Is that cultural reinforcement. To me is just speaking your native tongue to people you assume to be from your native background.
White people talk to other white people the way we do because by and large it's the ONLY way we know how to speak. We speak to non-white people the same way we speak to each other because being part of the dominant culture means we don't have to do as much adapting. In fact we'd possibly be considered inauthentic and patronizing if we tried. That too is cultural reinforcement, this time in the form of exclusion rather than inclusion.

That said, of course there is some cultural reinforcement among whites or sub-groups of whites. Perhaps its ugliest form is the word "wigger" to disparage white people like, say, Eminem who sound (kind of) black. If I moved to the middle of Arkansas tomorrow I'd immediately be identified as an outsider the minute I opened my mouth to say something. And I bet it would take longer for me to gain acceptance than someone who just moved there from, say, Macon Georgia even though Macon is no closer to Arkansas than northern Illinois where I grew up. Why? Because similar ways of speaking symbolize similar shared cultural traits, and my Great Lakes accent is very dissimilar to anything down there.

As for speaking to someone from Russia not knowing they don't speak English... that isn't cultural reinforcement so much as assumption based on experience. 99% of the people I've ever interacted with speak English, so of course if I'm here in the USA I'm going to assume they speak English until I have some reason to know otherwise. If I were in Moscow, I'd assume the opposite. That said, of course language can be used as a tool of cultural reinforcement. That's why, for instance, the province of Quebec requires businesses not only to have signage in French but requires the French signage to be more prominent than English signage if any.

It's interesting you bring up speaking to Russians because I know two guys who came here from Russia as teenagers. They worked hard to rid themselves of their Russian accents to such an extent by the time I met them in their early 20s I assumed they were either born here or moved here much younger than they did. Why was it so important for them to do so? It made integrating into their new environs easier and quicker. Call it cultural reinforcement if you will.
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:53 PM
 
12,544 posts, read 7,610,323 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitey View Post
White people talk to other white people the way we do because by and large it's the ONLY way we know how to speak. We speak to non-white people the same way we speak to each other because being part of the dominant culture means we don't have to do as much adapting. In fact we'd possibly be considered inauthentic and patronizing if we tried. That too is cultural reinforcement, this time in the form of exclusion rather than inclusion.

That said, of course there is some cultural reinforcement among whites or sub-groups of whites. Perhaps its ugliest form is the word "wigger" to disparage white people like, say, Eminem who sound (kind of) black. If I moved to the middle of Arkansas tomorrow I'd immediately be identified as an outsider the minute I opened my mouth to say something. And I bet it would take longer for me to gain acceptance than someone who just moved there from, say, Macon Georgia even though Macon is no closer to Arkansas than northern Illinois where I grew up. Why? Because similar ways of speaking symbolize similar shared cultural traits, and my Great Lakes accent is very dissimilar to anything down there.

As for speaking to someone from Russia not knowing they don't speak English... that isn't cultural reinforcement so much as assumption based on experience. 99% of the people I've ever interacted with speak English, so of course if I'm here in the USA I'm going to assume they speak English until I have some reason to know otherwise. If I were in Moscow, I'd assume the opposite. That said, of course language can be used as a tool of cultural reinforcement. That's why, for instance, the province of Quebec requires businesses not only to have signage in French but requires the French signage to be more prominent than English signage if any.

It's interesting you bring up speaking to Russians because I know two guys who came here from Russia as teenagers. They worked hard to rid themselves of their Russian accents to such an extent by the time I met them in their early 20s I assumed they were either born here or moved here much younger than they did. Why was it so important for them to do so? It made integrating into their new environs easier and quicker. Call it cultural reinforcement if you will.
Well....I agree with much of what you just said. I guess I just have a problem with the term or phrase "culture reinforcement". I understand what culture means and I understand what it means to reinforce something. Reinforcement is always done with INTENT to make something stronger. When black people talk to other black people in what they/we assume to be our native dialect or vernacular....our INTENT is NOT to reinforce our culture.....at least it is not consciously. Its that we feel "comfortable" in speaking in a way that we were raised speaking. Now....if a black person was not raised speaking that way and they make a conscious effort to speak that way.....that might be called cultural reinforcement. A prime example of that, to me, is President Obama. As far as I understand, President Obama was raised in a white environment by his white mother and her family. However, when Obama speaks to black audiences, his speech pattern would often change to more "black sounding".....almost like a black preacher oratory and cadence. However, when speaking to white audiences, his voice pattern was different.

When you speak a certain way.....it says that I come from where you come from, if that way of speaking is shared by others. However, if you speak a certain way.....and you did not come from there and was not raised to speak that way.....that could be cultural appropriation. It is said that emulation is the height of admiration....so sometimes people try to mimic people or groups that they admire in some way or want to be like. Other times people emulate as a means of survival and not being identified as part of a group that is looked down upon. For example, I can imagine that many Irish people in America, in the past, wanted to change their name and get ride of their accents to escape discrimination that was inflicted upon the Irish. Black people, however, had no such luxury of changing the way we sounded or changing our names.....because we were still "black". Thus, black people never went through all that stuff.....because it did not matter for us. We could not fool anybody about who were and we could sound as white as the whitest person.....but still treated like a "N word".

Last edited by Indentured Servant; 02-06-2017 at 05:50 PM..
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:09 AM
 
384 posts, read 288,451 times
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If there is, I hope it doesn't sound as bad as a Chicago accent!
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:39 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,838,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ethnicappalachian View Post
If there is, I hope it doesn't sound as bad as a Chicago accent!
It's similar.

I am referring to the "main stream" accent.

Your username is a reminder, as some posters have also noted, that there are subcultures who do not speak either wholly or partially with the Northern Cities Vowel Shift.

Witness "Hazeltucky."
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