You’re not from around here, are you?

We all know that our speech patterns and vocabulary and accent say volumes about us. Regional variations can be dramatic. I’m watching a video lecture series on the history of language, and several of the lectures deal with dialects, language change and diglossia, or the existence of two language versions such as “high” and “low” German or formal and informal anything. Modern Standard Arabic, which is the written standard, and Moroccan/Egyptian/Syrian spoken Arabic, which are radically different. And then here comes an item from Live Science, “Whales Found to Speak in Dialects,” by Bjorn Carey. Researchers studying blue whales found that the whales produce different sounds in different regions of the ocean. I wonder what an eastern Pacific whale’s accent sounds like vs. a western—would it translate as a drawl vs. a twang? Or could they be so different as to amount to whale diglossia? The details are published in the January issue of the journal BioScience.


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