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Published on Feb 12, 2013
This program is presented as part of the annual Karla Scherer Endowed Lecture Series for the University of Chicago. The program is presented in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago in conjunction with the exhibition Film and Photo in New York.
It's fun cocktail conversation, comparing accents and pronunciations from regions across the country. You've played the game—the Chicago "a," the Boston "park the car," the Minnesotan "don't you know." University of Chicago anthropologist and linguist Michael Silverstein studies the great variety of American dialects. He is particularly intrigued by the language(s) of New York City, that pinnacle of the US melting pot. For Silverstein, New York provides a pathway to understanding how we, as Americans, speak. Or as he likes to put it, "Oy ♥ Noo Yawk!"
As a linguist and anthropologist, Michael Silverstein interprets the social and cultural matrix of language, and why people everywhere -- from Chicagoans, to New Yorkers, Native Americans, to Australian Aboriginal -- see the way they speak as part of who they are. His most recent book, co-authored with Michael Lempert, is Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency. He is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology at the University of Chicago.