Journal: News & Comment

Sunday, January 18, 2004
# 11:21:00 AM:

Zap, books, eh?

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Here's something to watch if you've ever wondered why it's unwise to wander around electrical switching stations if you don't know what you're doing. (Thanks, Barc, for the link.)

Fazal Majid read yesterday's books post and offered to send me his copy of Don't Make Me Think. That's very kind of him.

Finally, Daniel Slosberg performs what looks like a fascinating educational musical show about the U.S. Lewis and Clark expidition. He also reads my journal here, and had some interesting comments about my post on accents the other day:

Have you heard "Canajun, Eh: Canadian Dialects For Actors"? It's a recording of folks across Canada speaking apparently about whatever strikes their fancy. An absolutely delicious recording, it's available on CD from Theatre Books in Toronto.

Since the speakers seem to be just talking off the top of their heads, I think that they relax more than the folks on the George Mason University site, who have to speak that one paragraph. I only listened to one speaker on the Mason site, the English Speaker from Baltic, South Dakota, but I had the sense that she was trying to speak "properly." Having just returned from a trip to South Dakota, I know that the place abounds in accents. [Note: I just listened to the guy from Englewood, Tennessee, and again I hear him working to speak "properly."]

Since I get to travel with my Pierre Cruzatte program throughout the United States, and since much of these travels take me to some very small towns far from large cities, I've been lucky enough to hear some wonderful accents. I'm always amazed how varied they are and how they can be almost unintelligible. I do many programs in schools, so I often work with school custodians. Two particularly come to mind, one in the Missouri countryside, about seventy miles outside of St. Louis, and another in southern Louisiana, cajun country. I had to strain to understand the two of them, but I loved every minute of the straining, listening to the music that their voices made. I don't recall exactly what the Missouri fellow said, but the man in Louisiana went on at length about how he made gumbo.

Doesn't sound like accents are in much danger, even in Canada or Slosberg's native U.S.A., does it?


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