Do You Speak American?
Down SouthStreaming Video - 2005
This program follows Robert MacNeil down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Appalachia, Louisiana Cajun country, and the Tex-Mex border to examine Southern dialects and accents and the influences of French and Spanish on American English. Linguist Walt Wolfram, columnist Molly Ivins, pop country singer Cody James, and others talk about regional differences in vernacular, the steady displacement of Southern coastal dialect by inland dialect, the accents of JFK and LBJ, and the Texas border town of El Cenizo, where Spanish is the official language. Recordings of Eudora Welty and Appalachian storyteller Ray Hicks are included, as well as WPA recordings from around 1940.