Miami English: what language is spoken in Florida and why he was so unique

In USA hundreds of different dialects of English used by people from different regions, cities and communities. USA is a country of diversity, and this is very obvious in the language. Some dialects are more pronounced and have dozens of easily visible distinguishing characteristics, while others are less distinguishable. But almost every city has its own unique way to speak English. And Miami is no exception, says visit Florida International University.

Miami English: на каком языке говорят жители Флориды и чем он так уникален

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English in Miami has its own rhythm and brightness. However, it has never been researched enough to be recognized as a separate dialect. But this study was conducted, proving the specificity and uniqueness of Miami English.

In 2013, the FIU sociolinguist Philip Carter has embarked on an ambitious project to organize the first ever study of the Miami dialect. Previously, he conducted research on Hispanic-English dialects in Texas and North Carolina. That speech, which he heard in Miami was unique. He began to call her “Miami English,” and defined it as a type of the English language with subtle structural influence from Spanish, which is mainly spoken in Miami, Hispanics are the second, third or fourth generation.

One of the reasons that can be called “Miami English” is a separate dialect is the vowel system.

The vowels and their sound was one of the first characteristics that draw the attention of linguists to understand influence whether one language to another. Because Miami is a multilingual and multicultural city, Carter wanted to know, infiltrated Spanish vowels in English words and whether they influenced Miami English.

To confirm the differences in the sound of the vowels, you need more than just compare samples of speech. Also requires a physical analysis.

The whole speech is a sound wave. Sound waves emanate from the vocal cords, but these waves formed for specific sounds by movements of the tongue. The speakers of different languages move their tongues in different ways. Carter and his team wanted to pinpoint the “form” of vowels in English or Miami the way the tongue moved to make different vowel sounds.

Team for nearly an hour talking with 20 participants born in Miami, immigrants from Latin America or of Latin American origin, and five Anglo-white residents of the city. The records of these conversations were then analyzed using special phonetic software. This enabled the group not only to measure vowel sounds, but use the data to display the movements of the tongue.

“In this study we were able to say: “For this group of people this sound is played tongue down and forward,” said Carter.

Spanish has five vowel sounds. In most dialects of English there are about 11. Carter found that Spanish vowels affect the pronunciation of English words in Miami, especially among Hispanics.

“In history many examples when two languages “living together” or next to each other and influence each other, Carter said. Is one of the ways in which dialects are born and through language contact.”

In such a diverse city like Miami, it is almost inevitable that Spanish will affect English. Carter traces the origin of the “Miami English” until 1959. The Cuban revolution brought the first Cubans to South Florida. At the end of XX century Miami will be home to a huge number of Cubans, and immigrants from South and Central America and the Caribbean.

It is this variety that distinguishes the Latin population of Miami from any other place in the country.

“One of the questions we hope to answer in future research is whether there is in Miami English traits that belong to the Cuban people and his legacy, Carter said. — Whether Miami Cuban American English really English or is it something that was generated by other Latin groups who live here?”

Carter, who is also Director of the Center for the Humanities, notes that the Miami project English is designed for people born in this region. We are talking about the bypass stereotypes or sensational stories about Miami. Language is tied to identity.

“It’s not just a problem of linguistics; it is a human problem. Because your language is part of who you are. Miami English belongs to this place and the people who live here. This reflects their story and personality, Carter said. Is something to be proud of.”

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