10 Ways Television Has Changed the Way We Talk

Speech Patterns and Dialects

Does TV make people sound the same? Some people argue that television, along with other media, is diluting regional speech patterns. While television does play a role in how certain words and expressions become part of our lexicon, when it comes to speech patterns, some experts say the media has no effect whatsoever. For example, inner-city African Americans use dialects and accents that are becoming less like the standard accents they hear on television [source: PBS].

But dialects on TV do have an impact. Remember "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" of the 1960s? Boris and Natasha were the ultimate cold warriors, even if they were cartoon characters. Everyone knew they were sinister. How could you tell? Just listen to their heavy Eastern European dialects. Villains on televisions shows, especially animated children's TV, mostly speak with a foreign dialect [source: Dobrow and Gidney].

In China, the government is removing local dialects from television to promote the use of Mandarin. China has more than 80 dialects and languages [source: Wei].

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