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Language Analysis Paper - Language and Human Behavior

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Language Analysis Paper

Danielle Mazur

Spring 2010

Language and Human Behavior

I will begin this paper by giving quite a bit of information on my background. I believe this is why and how to distinguish how my speech as an individual varies from the others around me and what makes it MY idiolect. First, my name is Danielle Mazur and I currently live in Chicago, Illinois. I have been back and forth from the city of Chicago to New Orleans. I noticed many changes in the dialects of English from the south versus the north. Personally I say [shIkago] and in [nawlins] they pronounce it [chikawgo]. As I grew up in New Orleans many of my neighborhood vocabulary came from a lot of French words and phrases. Such as Chateau Estates where I went to elementary school, or the street I lived on, Antoinette Wigonette. I also have a tee shirt with a fleur de lis on it. Here in Chicago when I cheer for the New Orleans Saints people have no idea what a fleur de lis is here, even though it is a popular football teams symbol. Although I was born in Evanston we moved soon enough where friends or school did not influence my speech in Illinois. On the other hand my family being from Europe born and raised have very thick accents when they speak English. I was never forced to learn the language they spoke in the house which was Yugoslavian. I have picked up vocabulary just from my grandparents trying to speak English such as "rubber gum" instead of rubber band. I have noticed my grandmother has made both me and my brother laugh even to this day when she doesn't quite convert English terms from Europe to English. Words such as "night gum" for night gown, "close the lights" for turn off the lights, "cut the music" for turn the music off. Therefore in living with my grandmother I came to pick up these words and phrases and used them in my daily lexicon.

When I lived to New Orleans, I went to school at Chateau Estates Elementary. I was in school there from first grade to fourth grade. In New Orleans we went on field "days", but in Chicago we went on field trips. When I moved back to Chicago, I went to school at Solomon elementary. In New Orleans the early classes were much more slow paced an relaxed and you heard a lot of expressions like "Its okay, Take your time, You'll have plenty of time to finish. Then when I came to Chicago and the words you hear in class is we have five minutes for this, we don't have all day, we need to get to work as fast as possible. So everything was much more rushed.

As I said before my family is from Serbia, they speak Yugoslavian and they brought a lot of traditions with them when they came to America. Most traditions that they kept from back home pertain to the kitchen. When I would be helping my grandmother in the kitchen she would ask me to pass her the [paprika] instead of [paprIka] . The first time one of my friend came over she asked if they wanted some cheese cake. They responded with "Id love some!" My grandmother comes back with a plate full of layered fillo dough with layers of cheese in the middle similar to a lasagna. My friend being from Chicago and never seeming cheese cake like this before was very hesitant to try my grandmother version of Serbian cheesecake. Also on Easter my family dyes all the eggs blood red instead of a variety of colors like the ones im used to such as pink blue yellows and other pastels. These little traditions that my family have in ways they cook food are an important thing to have and carry on to my grandma. As time goes on my mom carries on some of the traditions that she likes and leaves some of the rest forgotten. As for me, in this time of my life im not very traditional and im not sure that these traditions will carry on to my family. But whatever traditions I do give my family they will stem from the roots that brought me up.

As I go through life, I notice that people speak differently in all stages of ages and regions . When I was still in grade school at 13 years old, is when I first started noticing my speech communities. when we spoke to each other about how cute the boys were or which new crushes we had or even just the finger nail polish we were wearing, this was a personal speech community with my friends. Where as when talking to the teachers we would try our hardest to use our professional speech. An example is "Excuse me Mrs. Woods could you please explain number 3 again, I don't understand it". Where as if I was turn to one of my friends I would say " Whadda get for number 3? How tha hell you get that?"

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