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The Dialects of Huckleberry Finn

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Jack Ryan

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of The Dialects of Huckleberry Finn

(Varied dialects of the story) A Closer Look at Huckleberry Finn There are many variations of English spoken throughout this story... Huck's Dialect Twain's Dialects As Twain remarked in the second of the two opening notes, the dialects in Huck Finn are intentionally varied. This is pretty easy to see even with a basic comparison between Huck’s words and Jim’s. Huck’s vernacular is filled with colloquialisms and altered words. As Twain mentioned Huck's dialect is referred to as a Pike County dialect which is where Huck is from. Examples "that ain’t no matter," Examples "it warn’t no time to be sentimentering," Jim's Dialect Jim’s speech, we see, is markedly different. Words are truncated or conjuncted together, and we hear much more of an accent than we do from Huck. Jim speaks in a dialect known as slave speak in the south. The difference may very well be because of Jim's lack of education, being a slave. So Twain wasn’t kidding when he said he did a careful job of giving everyone his or her own manner of speech. Examples De bes' way is to res' easy en let de ole man take his own way. Dey's two angels hoverin roun' 'bout him. Examples "How you gwne to git 'm? You can't slip up on um en grab um; en how's a body gwyne to hit um wid a rock? how could a body do it in de night? En I warn't gwyne to show myself on de bank in de daytime." You can clearly pick up the accent of Huck in the way he mispronounces words and his improper contractions Twain purposely spells words wrong in his dialogue to put emphasis on the accents in dialects as seen here Jim's dialect appears to be just butchered apart in the common speak of slaves during the time period The placement of the words when Jim speaks are often flipped or missing. They are also often missing proper words the end The Duke and the Dauphin The duke and the king are all about the sophisticated words. Unfortunately, they get most of them wrong. The classic example is the use of "orgies" as a substitute for "obsequies." With all their butchered fancy talk, the duke and king make it clear that, in fact, they’re nothing but two uneducated men who have dressed up in fancy clothing and given themselves fake royal titles. Example "We'll let it alone for today, because of course we don't want to go by that town yonder in daylight- it mightn't be unhealthy. The duke speaks in a much more sophisticated manner and proper English compared to Huck and Jim Example In chapter 25 the King keeps saying "orgies" instead of "obsequies" and then tries to cover this by saying obsequies is a common boring term and in Britain many say orgies instead. The king's improper use of words makes it more obvious that the two imposters are fakes. This creates their own fancy and improper style of speak. Historical Relations As described by Twain in the first 2 pages of the book he was very familiar with the language of the south in the 1800s. He knows extensively about all four dialects used in the book and they do vary rather often through out the story. Examples Chapter 20
Page 126 Chapter 25
Page 168 "To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane..." The Duke's recitation attempt of Hamlet mixes lines of Macbeth and other Shakespearean lines. Thus further exposing him in being a fake Chapter 21
Page 136 Chapter 8
Page 45 Chapter 4
Page 18 Example "What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?" Huck's tone of voice often contains misplaced words or contractions which was common in the south during the 1800s Chapter 16
Page 91 chapter 13
Page 118 Chapter 1
Page 1 Examples "One uv' em's light en't the other one is dark. One is rich en t'others po'." As seen throughout the story Twain will purposely spell words wrong to match how a slave/ African American would speak and stay consistent with dialect Chapter 4
Page 18 Bibliography http://www.shmoop.com/huckleberry-finn/characterization.html


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