Steinbeck on language

March 18, 2010

This excerpt from John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley: in Search of America” started me wondering about the impact of media and technology on our speech, especially given the vast changes we’ve witnessed since this was written in 1962.
“It seemed to me that regional speech is in the process of disappearing, not gone but going. Forty years of radio and twenty years of television must have this impact. Communications must destroy localness, by a slow, inevitable process. I can remember a time when I could almost pinpoint a man’s place of origin by his speech. That is growing more difficult now and will in some foreseeable future become impossible. …Just as our bread, mixed and baked, packaged and sold without benefit of accident or human frailty, is uniformly good and uniformly tasteless, so will our speech become one speech.”

Shira S, Reader’s Services


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