Arizona Edition

Survey Says: Arizonans Want to Protect Their Local Dialect

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on March 9 to reflect that Arizona has the third lowest percentage of homegrown population in the state.

Our love for sprawling Sonoran sunsets and bean-stuffed, bacon-wrapped brats served in Borillo is undeniable. But after all, locals have something else. Agree: Our dialect is special.

We call ourselves Arizonas, four fifths Not those of us over the age of 25 were born in Arizona. less homegrown inhabitants More than anywhere in the US except Nevada, Florida and Washington DC

The result of having such a diverse population is that it has helped create a set of words and phrases that are unique to Arizona. Now, according to a new study by the Writing Tips Institute, a Texas-based media company, a majority (57%) of Arizona residents included in the new poll believe Arizona should become an official dialect protected by law. I think so.

Arizona’s favorite slang

When it comes to Arizona slang, here are a few that researchers from the Writing Tips Institute have identified.

  • Haboob. Elsewhere it is called a sandstorm. But the intense and frequent sand cyclones that occasionally ravage Arizona are derived from the Arabic word for the similar type of storms found in the Sahara Desert.
  • swamp box. When temperatures hit 120 degrees in the summer, the Phoenix subway can’t keep up with regular air conditioning. That’s why we’ve opted instead for the slang term for evaporative coolers, the swamp box. They use vapor compression to absorb large amounts of heat.
  • Stobenes. These diagonal roads are found only in Tucson. It runs diagonally between the street and the main street.
  • Monsoon/Chubasco. The Phoenicians are not accustomed to rain. at least until mid-June. The monsoon season he lasts until the end of September. Meanwhile, warm summer thunderstorms throw water into the valley, filling the desert wash. These storms are sometimes called Chuvasco.
  • Adobe. Made of clay, silt and sand, adobe bricks were first used in the Middle East 8,500 years ago. Officially, the word refers to the brick itself, but in Arizona any building styled with clay can be called by this Spanish word.
  • Sonora dog and Raspado. No, not hot dogs. Sonoran dog. The links are wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans and jalapeño salsa, and are usually served in bolilo rolls. increase.
  • snowbird. The Audubon Society classifies snowbirds as primarily winter birds. Arizonans use the term to describe someone they see on the street only during the winter.
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Everyone else calls them dust storms. They are hubbubs to Arizonans.

desert dialect

The majority of Arizonans included in the survey, which surveyed nearly 3,000 people across the United States, are concerned that Arizona-specific idioms and slang are endangered.

“Preserving local dialects is important not only for linguistic diversity but also for cultural preservation,” said Shaun Connell, founder and CEO of the Writing Tips Institute, in a prepared statement. . and identity. ”

But what exactly does the Arizona dialect entail? According to Karen Adams, professor of linguistics at Arizona State University, the dialect is a Spanish language mixed with phrases derived from Arizona’s geography and history. and by distinctive accents borrowed from other regional American dialects.

“Some of our pronunciation is also found in Southern California because California influences Arizona,” Adams said. phoenix new times“It’s a social hotspot in terms of being the cultural capital of America.”

Most Americans pronounce “caught” and “cot” very differently, she noted, but not so much in Arizona. Also, in rural towns other than Phoenix, people tend to have Southern accents, as most English speakers who settled in the area migrated from the Southeast.

“Other pronunciations come from the diversity of indigenous languages ​​and speakers of Chicano English,” Adams said.

Is the Arizona dialect in danger?

Karen Adams, professor of linguistics at Arizona State University, says the state dialect borrows from Spanish and other regional American dialects.

Arizona State University

There is evidence that local dialects are disappearing in the United States due to interstate migration and nationally syndicated media. Some American dialects, such as Texas German and Elizabethan English spoken on Maryland’s Smith Island, are dying out, Adams said. But that doesn’t mean that local dialects are all lost. “American dialects are disappearing” Since the 1960s.

“It doesn’t mean that everyone in Arizona who lives in Metro Phoenix or Metro Tucson speaks like people who live in other big cities,” says Adams. “The reality is that Arizona still has a lot of linguistic diversity.”

According to the professor, for many people in Tongzhou, the Arizona dialect is an important part of their personal identity. , language is very important,” says Adams. “It’s an important part of creating an identity.”

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