APHuG Culture
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APHuG Culture
Relates to AP Human Geography Unit 3: Culture
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Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics

Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics | APHuG Culture | Scoop.it

"It may seem surprising, but in this age where geographic mobility and instant communication have increased our exposure to people outside of our neighborhoods or towns, American regional dialects are pulling further apart from each other, rather than moving closer together. And renowned linguist William Labov thinks there’s a connection between political and linguistic segregation.

 

"Labov suggests that it’s these deep-seated political disagreements that create an invisible borderline barring the encroachment of Northern Cities Vowels. When he looked at the relationship between voting patterns by county over the last three Presidential elections and the degree to which speakers in these counties shifted their vowels, he found a tight correlation between the two. And the states that have participated in the vowel shift have also tended to resist implementing the death penalty.

 

"Social identities are complex, and can be defined along a number of different dimensions like class, race, or ethnicity. Not everyone feels that politics are a part of their core identity. But I suspect that political ideology may become an anchor for accents to the extent that large social groups collectively identify themselves by their political beliefs. According to Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort, this is happening more and more as Americans voluntarily cluster themselves into homogenous, politically like-minded communities."


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Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages

Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages | APHuG Culture | Scoop.it
Meet the "hairy Ainu" of Japan, Taiwan's Saaroa, the Kusunda of Nepal, the last Manchus and the Jarawa of India's Andaman Islands.

 

The rapid spread of  Mandarin, English, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu and Arabic as the 5 largest languages (most native speakers) is connected to the spread of globalization and the cultural aspects of that phenomenon.  These 5 declining languages represent the flip side of those cultural patterns.  


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Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | APHuG Culture | Scoop.it
Like a detective at a crime scene, chief language inspector Antons Kursitis scans the lobby of a hotel in downtown Riga. He spots a brochure that lists hotel services in Russian only, a flagrant violation of Latvia's language laws.

 

"Protecting the Latvian language — that is, safeguarding its supremacy over Russian — has been a priority here since the Soviet occupation ended two decades ago. Those efforts face their biggest test yet on Saturday, in a referendum on whether to make Russian the country's second official language."  What historical, political and demographic factors shape this cultural issue of language?  Why is language often seen as so crucial to cultural identity?  

 

The Latvian voters have spoken: in a massive voter turn-out, they struck down the referendum that sought to make Russian an official language.  "Latvia is the only place throughout the world where Latvian is spoken, so we have to protect it," said Martins Dzerve, 37, in Riga, Latvia's capital. "But Russian is everywhere."  For more on the vote, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17083397    


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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:14 AM
It is definitely important for Latvians to hold on tightly to their culture. However, the Soviet Union caused Russian culture and language to spread throughout the USSR and countries are feeling the effects today. There are millions of Russians in former satellite nations who hold on to their Russian culture. At the same time, these nations wish to regain their national pride especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a difficult conundrum, but I do agree with the Latvians' decision.
Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 5, 2015 4:54 PM

About 35 percent of Latvia's population (5,000,000) contains Russian ancestors. Russia does not want to give Latvia credit for practicing Russian languages and the Russian heritage because Russian feels like since they take up about 11% of the world, they don't need to share their heritage with any other country. It's kind of like copyright laws that Russia seems to have.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:37 PM

this article is great. the latvians are doing the right thing. in the place you live and where you are from, the people should speak your language and follow your rules. you should be worried about what the native people want and not what others want. be proud of your culture and preserve it.

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Soda vs. Pop with Twitter

Soda vs. Pop with Twitter | APHuG Culture | Scoop.it
One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s a global conversation anyone can join anytime. Eavesdropping on the world, what what!

 

While many educators have been using http://popvssoda.com/ to show the linguistic regions in the United States, this is a similar map, with the added social media component.  To map out these regions, the cartographer used the word choice on geo-tagged tweets as the data source.  For another twitter, map, the following link shows which regions are most actively engaged on Twitter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/top-countries-on-twitter_n_1653915.html

What do these regions show us?  What types of regions are these?


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Chris W's comment, August 27, 2012 11:02 AM
This is a really cool use of twitter! I use the term soda, which most of the northeast uses as well.
Courtney Burns's curator insight, September 14, 2013 10:35 PM
Twitter is something that is becoming widely used, and is something I usually check everyday. I never really thought of twitter beyond advertising and communicating. It is amazing the kind of data that can be extracted from peoples tweets. In the soda vs. pop argument I would say soda which makes sense since the data shows that people in the Northeast refer to it as soda. Twitter is so current that you can actually get some current and accurate data just from reading the hash tags in peoples tweets. It's amazing that such information can be extracted from all around the world.