Laughter in the air as we are all gathered around the table at the restaurant “ The Lunch Box.” It was our normal get together lunch spot we go to whenever we head up to the mountains in Everett County Pa. Me and my family all catch up with each other talking about how school and work are going.
“What would y’alls like to drink?” The waiter says.
Everyone gets soda and tea besides me.
“Can I get a wader please.” I say
Everyone starts laughing, I do as well I thought maybe they were laughing at the waiter on how she said y’alls instead of saying “what would everyone like to drink.” Then they all look at me still laughing I had a weird feeling they were laughing at me. But why would they?
“ It’s pronounced water with a t not wader with a d.” My cousin Abby said
“That is the way I say it and it is the way we say it in Philly.”I said
“Well Philly people talk funny. ” Abby says.
“Well we talk normal you people talk funny.” I said.
At this point we were getting a little too loud and as we were all talking loud people from different tables were staring at us. I couldn’t take it anymore I had to leave so I threw my metal fork against my glass plate which caused it to make a loud “ding” noise. I stormed out of the restaurant as fast as I could. She really made me mad how she said that the way we talk is funny.
This is a common thing and happens often to me when I am not around other people from Philadelphia. Where you live shapes the way you speak, and how a person uses words. For example people in the country would say, “let me go get that thing” and Philly would say, “let me go get that jawn.” Another example is when people with country accents say “oh my stars” and Philly people say it as “oh my gosh.” People tend to think that the way my family from Bedford and Everett county talk is the right way, and that everyone else talks wrong. There is no right or wrong on the way a person speaks, yes there may be differences in the way people talk but, it doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong.
I personally think that language has almost everything to do with what is said about you as a person, and it also does not. I think so because depending on where you are raised reflects on how you speak. It usually happens when you are a baby learning how to talk and get use to the way people talk, and since everyone talks that way you think of it as the right way to talk. New words are created all the time, for example we recently created the word “ratchet” which is another word for saying that’s dirty. We could say it as “that’s ghetto” but we choose not to because people think that since everyone else says ratchet that they should to since it is popular and it then becomes the correct way.
I believe that the way my voice sounds is it is more open to others. I say this because even though I get mad at them for trying to correct what I say, I still give their way of speaking a shot because I like to see the change in how my country and others are different and similar in some ways. When I talk to friends people say I talk in slang when to me its just my normal self talking and being able to open up myself to people. At school I try not to talk in slang because apparently, it is not ok to talk that way people say. However it is just talking to me, honesty its not something someone means it is just words that people pick up from where they live or visit. For example in the summer I went up the mountains for a week and I started talking like them I started to say “water” instead of “wader” but when I got back to Philly I noticed I started to say “wader” again, so that is when I really knew that it all has to do with where you are because you just start picking up words without even noticing you did.
I think language can also intersect with identity in a lot of ways. I think this because when a person says a word like “u” instead of “you” or says something from their country that other people would not understand then people would identify them as ghetto, weird, etc… Even though they don’t know how the person really is, but you judge them on the way they speak. Other people just think that because they think they talk right because they say a whole sentence instead of creating one simple word like, we do in Philly.
I believe that power is something you have control of, and language is something that just comes naturally to you. You have the power of whether you say something or not, but you don’t have the power of what you say because you only know what you are taught from around you. Something you say is what you know and how you know when to use it. But the power does help you say something the way you want it to be said.So I think they have a very close relationship, because they both are needed as important parts to language.
It is like in the “James baldwin” essay we read in class he basically states that there is no right or wrong way a person speaks. It is their way of talking and living. One group of people may talk one way and you talk another it does not make them right because everything makes you who you are as a person because of the knowledge you have in your surroundings.