Do You Speak American? : Out West

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  • In this program, Robert MacNeil heads to California to take part in meaningful dialogues on Spanglish, Chicano, Ebonics, and "Surfer Dude" before going to Seattle to consider the implications of voice-activation technology. Linguist Carmen Fought, Stanford University's Cliff Nass, screenwriters Amy Heckerling and Winnie Holtzman, and others speak their minds about Spanish in America, why teens create their own language, gay self-empowerment by redefining discriminatory terms, the oo-fronting sound shift, and whether technology will reinforce or weaken racial/regional stereotypes. The teaching of standard English without devaluing or denigrating cultural linguistic differences is addressed.


  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on September 19, 2005.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • Closed-captioned.


  • Spanglish (4:23) -- Chicano (4:00) -- African-American English (2:09) -- Mainstream American English (3:40) -- Hollywood's Influence on English (7:19) -- Californian Dialects (7:36) -- Skateboard and Snowboard Lingo (2:44) -- American Military and Language (2:38) -- Gay Community and Language (2:34) -- Computers and Language (4:11) -- Stereotypes: Matching Face and Voice (5:19) -- Computers and Standard English (6:26)
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