Sunday, October 05, 2008

Linguistics Lesson

Linguistics Lesson

One of the most frustrating things for me about Palin (besides, of course, her inexperience and her position on virtually every issue) is the voice. Because it sounds like it could come from a member of my extended, northern Wisconsin rooted family.

But even though Alaska is also northern, it's half a conitinent away. Shouldn't the voice have a little more Bob and Doug McKenzie and a little less Ole and Lena to it? Well, turns out she comes by it naturally:
The second myth about Ms. Palin is that her accent is contrived, or that it reveals laziness or ignorance on her part. Certainly, Ms. Palin cranked the folksiness dial to 11 during the debate: she dropped more g’s, reverted to “nucular” after being teleprompted during the Republican National Convention to pronounce it “new-clear,” and salted her speech with cutesy near profanities like “darn,” “heck” and “doggone.”

But it would be unfair to question the authenticity of her accent or to use it as a measure of her intellect or sophistication. The dialect is certainly for real. Listeners who hear the Minnewegian sounds of the characters from “Fargo” when they listen to Ms. Palin are on to something: the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska, where she grew up, was settled by farmers from Minnesota during the Depression.

That would explain the you betcha. Or, as Maureen Dowd put it: "At Sarah Palin’s old church in Wasilla, they spoke in tongues. Maybe that’s where she picked it up." Yah.

Meanwhile, Team McCain/Palin is playing the William Ayers card. "They're going to drive their campaign into a ditch -- and hope they can find a way to take Obama along for the ride," writes Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. "I am not here to dispute that this is McCain's best strategy -- in the same way that an onside kick is a team's best strategy when it trails late in the game with no timeouts left. But like the onside kick, it is fairly unlikely to work."

And Marc Ambinder notes that if Ayers is fair game, so is The First Dude and the Alaskan Independence Party.

Minnesota, of course, has an Independence Party, though not in the same way. Their Senate candidate Dean Barkley (who briefly held the seat as Jesse Ventura's appointee after Paul Wellstone's death), is a factor in the race. But the really interesting news is that for the first time, Al Franken has a significant lead.

Al, of course, used to be on Saturday Night Live... and you knew I was gonna show it.

No comments: