Where Is General American English?
Episode 5 of English in America

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From English in America to American English
Episode 3 of English in America
Explore how the English settlers gradually transformed themselves from colonists to American citizens, and how English in America became American English. Myriad dialects began to coalesce, and there was an explosion of linguistic creativity, especially in the creation of dialect words - Americanisms like "raccoon" and "bifocal".
The Foundations of American English
Episode 2 of English in America
The main English dialect hubs in the new American colonies were centered on Jamestown, New England, and Philadelphia. See how these were influenced by contact with Native American languages, Spanish, French, Dutch, and the West African languages of slaves, and learn about the five stages of development English dialects typically…
Defining American English Dialects
Episode 1 of English in America
Begin with a big-picture overview of the American English dialect map, asking as we explore: What is the difference between a language, a dialect, and an accent? Discover the intricate rules governing all linguistic systems, and consider how and why some varieties of language become valued standards and others are…
Mapping American Dialects
Episode 6 of English in America
What do you call a big road where you drive fast: highway, parkway, freeway, or something else? How do you pronounce the word "been": with the vowel in "sit," "see," or "set"? Take a quiz and see where your linguistic usages place you on the American dialect map. Delve into…
Ethnicity and American English
Episode 7 of English in America
America has always been a land of immigrants, and American English has been shaped since its earliest days by contact among immigrants from all over the British Isles and from around the world. Consider how the languages of the many immigrants who poured into America in the 19th and early…
Where Is American English Headed?
Episode 12 of English in America
Secure as a major player on the world stage, the U.S. can now look inward and focus on the intra-national linguistic and cultural diversity that's been there since English speakers first arrived on the American continent. Discover that regional dialect differentiation is actually increasing, not receding, even in the Internet…
African American English
Episode 8 of English in America
Explore the indelible linguistic effects of the peoples of African descent who were brought to America as slaves, who went on to develop a richly expressive language variety that today is emulated by young people across the world--African American English. Contrary to common misunderstandings, this well-studied dialect is governed by…
English in America - A Linguistic History
Welcome to the enthralling world of linguistics. If you've ever been curious how words like "awesomesauce" ever came to be, let alone made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, or if you've ever wondered why you say "firefly" and someone else calls the same insect a "lightning bug," English in…
Latino Language and Dialects in America
Episode 11 of English in America
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, America has seen an upsurge in immigration, much as it did at the dawn of the 20th. Investigate the effects of immigrants from Latin America on American English, and confront a fear facing some native speakers of American English: Is Spanish taking…
Yeah You Rite! - Language in New Orleans
The culture of New Orleans represents the mixing of many rich traditions: French, Spanish, African, Irish, Italian. At the heart of this unique culture lie its speechways, the subject of Yeah You Rite!, a close-up video profile of a single language community. New Orleans English has been influenced by the…
The Rise of American Language Standards
Episode 4 of English in America
In the 1800s, America began looking inward, not to England, for its language standards. The new norms were recorded in dictionaries, spelling books, and grammars, and celebrated in a profusion of distinctly American literary works. Noah Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain are all key figures in…
The History of American Language Policy
Episode 10 of English in America
What's the official language of the United States? What should it be? See how American language policies and language attitudes have shifted back and forth over the centuries, from periods of relative tolerance for non-English languages in the U.S., to times of heightened fear for the "safety" of English in…