First Nation’s English: A response to Simon’s Post ‘Non-standard French in the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Reserve’

Posted by Dean Garlick

(This piece was originally a comment to Simon’s post, but I thought it could use greater visibility and could serve as a separate post on its own).

I’ve also noticed a similar stigmatizing effect  in English with First Nations speakers as the one Simon describes in his piece on the French used by the Innu in Sept-Îles. There is often a unique cadence, pace, and grammatical structure that is unique to First Nation’s speakers’ English that unfortunately is often perceived as ‘slow’ or ‘stupid’ by speakers of standard varieties of English. This is extremely frustrating, but more of a reflection of how First Nations peoples are generally viewed and in fact becomes yet another ‘justification’ for discriminatory attitudes.

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What is Standard English?

Ethan Xu

The charm of class discussion is that through brainstorming and collision of thoughts, we are able to quickly make connections with the knowledge and its reference; moreover, when you have time for reflection, it will lead your mind to wander even further from the topic.

The discussion about mutual intelligibility was an interesting one. Linguists use this criterion to determine whether people are speaking the same language. In real life, however, things seem to be much more complicated. When you speak to a Scot, as mentioned by my classmates, it is often not very easy to reach the sort of mutual intelligibility. I’ve made several acquaintances with some Scottish friends and couldn’t agree more. However, there is a fine line between the two terms ‘Scottish accent’ and ‘Scots language’.

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