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American Tongues (1988)

 |  Documentary  |  5 July 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 40 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

The glories of American accents come alive in this hilarious film about what it means to speak the way you do.


, (as Andrew Kolker)
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Credited cast:
Molly Ivins ...


The glories of American accents come alive in this hilarious film about what it means to speak the way you do.

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5 July 1988 (USA)  »

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Full of Information and Fun.
18 September 2010 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Polly Holliday is your hostess on this tour of American speech patterns, their history and current forms.

I showed this film in a class on language and culture and it was never anything but successful. Not even the vulgarity -- and there are some industrial-strength words used -- seemed to make anyone wince, and this was on the campus of a nice Southern university. I guess the girls were a little less sheltered than the O'Hara sisters in "Gone With the Wind" because they got as much a kick out of it as the jocks did. Well, this was in a charming, laid-back beach community with many recent immigrants from places as alien as New Jersey, so maybe the students had been corrupted by all them cosmopolitan values.

Just kidding. The point is that it's an informative and entertaining survey of American regional dialects -- good natured and inoffensive. And class differences aren't ignored. Contrast the abomination of the language used by the Dead End Kids with the cultivated tones of two Harvard professors arguing in the most genteel manner about the virtues of Jane Austen.

I expect you'll enjoy it.

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