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Dialect and Language in To Kill a Mockingbird

Interactive Oral
by

Emily DiTrani

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of Dialect and Language in To Kill a Mockingbird

Racism is displayed through language The common use of the n-word helps to develop the setting because its uses have changed over time
The n-word is part of their regular language
White people use the n-word to discriminate
During the time period of this book, assumptions and stereotypes were made about black people
The way that black people use the n-word is different form how white people use it Slang Dialect and Language in To Kill A Mockingbird By: Brittany, Emily, Dina, Jordan, and Maria Ebonics - Black vs White Ebonics: less standard from of English, usually spoken by black people.
develops setting
develops motifs
develops themes What other groups or characters are developed by their dialect? Atticus vs Bob Slang is specific to certain areas and cultures, therefore helping to establish setting
Southern United States
Slang establishes mood as it affects the feelings of the reader
Slang establishes character
How people address one another Slang - defined “Yonder” → some distance in the direction indicated
“Yessum” and “Yessir” → “Yes ma’am” and “Yes sir” just slurred together.
“jiffy” (98) → a quick and an under exaggerated measure of time.
“chillun” (63) → children.
“’smatter” (21) → what is the matter.
“nome” (24) a term that when used in proper context means no, wait or corrects the previous statement.
“Hush your fussin” (13) → stop complaining.
“My stars” (18) → oh my goodness
“raveling a thread” (25) a term that Mrs. Maudie used to tell Scout that she was speaking her mind.
“sit a spell” (25) → for one to tell a tale or story.
“What in the sam holy hill” → Expresses shock and bewilderment
“Beautiful my hind foot” → denying something
“jim-dandy” → one did a good job.
“He’s right stove up” (40) → very sick.
“ruttin’” → used in the book as raping, actually refers to animals What aspects of relationships could be expressed by the formality of someone's speech and how much they use slang? What can someone's use of slang or the way they speak display about them? Does people's use of the n-word impact how we view them as characters? What does Atticus mean when he says that saying the n-word is "common"? Does racism lie under social inequality? How do we feel different about the n-word now than when the book takes place? Why? Is racism still present today through language? To what extent is the racism then and now similar? Does the novel seem to portray that racism will eventually be overcome, or that there will always be an element of racism in Maycomb? Is black people's use of the n-word encouraging or accepting the use of the n-word to promote racism? How is the African-American community similar to the white community in Maycomb? How is it different? How might these similarities and differences affect how the two communities see each other? Calpurnia is a "bridge" between the two distinct dialects. Calpurnia speaks in both dialects so that she does not seem condescending. What does this say about the difference between the ways black and white people talk? How does the novel portray the black characters? Are there elements of racism in these portrayals? What does Atticus’ formal language say about his character and how he sees those around him? What does Bob’s informal language portray about his character and how he treats others? Atticus and Bob talk differently
this reflects their views and treatment of those around them
Mayella experiences both languages
Atticus speaks in the same formal dialect to everyone.
Bob constantly speaks informally even when he should not What nicknames are used in To Kill a Mockingbird? Why do so many of the characters have nicknames? What is the purpose of the nicknames? How do we feel different about the n-word now than when the book takes place? Why?
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