Not since 2008 has OPEC cut oil production. But now, it appears, it’s happening. And it’s raising prices and moods across Texas, we’ll have the latest. Also two chambers, two republican leaders, two very different ways of doing business, and two very different agendas. What’s the divide between lieutenant governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Strauss means for the rest of us. And what do phrases like extraordinary rendition have to do with a women’s privacy bill- or even the alt-right? What’s in the labels we use and whether they’re really worth fighting over. And do bag bans really make people sick? Politifact weighs in and much more today on the Standard:
Archives for November 2016
This week we talk to two very different groups about partnerships and the inspirations that guide their voices. First we hear from El-P and Killer Mike from the hip hop collaboration known as Run the Jewels. The two rappers start out talking about early influences (Prince’s “Beautiful Ones” and Ice-T’s “6 In The Morning”) and end up expressing their love and respect for Southern Rock, The Clash, Outlaw Country and early hip hop and rap. Next, Sarah Castro and Matt Parmenter of the Austin-based Belcurve explain how their collaborations steer clear of the ordinary and how Kathleen Edwards, PJ Harvey and Tom Waits helped them create their shared musical vocabulary.
Listen to Songs from Episode 60 of This Song
A nice lady wrote to me not long ago and said that she was happy to have a son with a good, solid, two-syllable Texas name. “His name is ‘Ben,’”she wrote.
I loved that. We do that, don’t we? Well, many of us do, anyway. There are 30 million Texans so there are many dialects out there. But in the traditional or classic Texas dialect, we tend to convert one-syllable words to two-syllable words. Ben becomes “Bey-uhn.” Jet becomes “Jay-ut.” Mess is “May-us.” This is what I call the Texas Diphthong.
In the traditional or classic Texas dialect, we have a tendency to stretch our vowels and put a lilt into them:
Dress becomes “Dray-us”
Grass becomes “Grah-us”
Dance is “Day-unce”
We do it with the first syllable of many two-syllable words, too. Tasty becomes “Tay-uh-stee.” Or we can do it on the last syllable of a two-syllable word. Denise becomes “De-nay-us.”
And believe it or not, some of us are so talented we can create triphthongs out of a one-syllable word. We can squeeze three into one. Ham becomes “Ha-uh-um.” This talent has been particularly mastered by televangelists who really like to elongate those vowels with words like hell – which becomes “hay-uhl-ah.” Sounds more frightening that way. When they say it like that it doesn’t differ from the hail that falls from the sky – so I’m not sure whether they are talking about fire or ice.
And that is something typical of us Texans. We make no distinction between some sounds that people up north make a big distinction between. We make no distinction between the pen that we write with and the flag pin we wear on our lapels. Up north they say Bic pen and flag pin. Pen and pin. We say Bic pen and flag pin the same way. Perfect rhyme. Up North they say beer and bear differently. Some Texans make no distinction between the bear they run from and the beverage they drink to celebrate getting away.
I got many of these examples from my friend, Dr. Lars Hinrichs, who is a professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin; he’s a word doctor. For years he has been studying Texas English and he told me that Texans also reverse this diphthong process. We will sometimes convert what would be a diphthong into a monophthong. For instance, how do you say these words: nice, white and rice? If you say them like this – nice, white, rice, then you have a strong Texas accent, and also a southern one. Not much difference between the two, Hinrichs says, except for some differences in speech rhythm and some local expressions. For instance, he says, only in Texas can you feel “as sore as boiled owl,” or refer to a skunk as a “polecat.”
Hinrichs has been studying the Texas dialect for a long time. And he tells me that in the I-35 corridor we are seeing a leveling of the accent. This means that all the newcomers mingling their accents with ours is causing phonetic hybrids to emerge. So the classic Texas dialect, in the corridor, is not quite as strong as it was 20 years ago. It is evolving. East Texas and West Texas is leveling at a glacial pace compared to the corridor. Also, y’all will be happy to know that “y’all,” Hinrichs says, is not receding. It is perhaps proliferating because it is so grammatically efficient. All y’all newcomers are pickin’ it up. Some linguists say that even the Californians and the New Yorkers have started to use it.
Hollywood has had its struggles with the Texas accent, often hiring dialog coaches for authenticity. When Michael Caine came to Texas to film “Secondhand Lions”, he was struggling with the Texas accent and he said his dialog coach taught him that Texans let their words lean up against each other. He said that he realized that the British English is clipped, crisp and precise. Texas English is relaxed and each word leans into the other and just keeps things goin’ along smoothly. He learned to spread out his vowels and let his consonants lean up against each other. That’s it. That’s the secret. I won’t say he mastered it, but I will say “Secondhand Lions” was fine Texas film.
So the Texas accent is in no danger of dyin’ out. But I do think we should make an effort to keep it from becoming endangered. Wouldn’t want to have to start a Foundation for the Endangered Texas Accent, or FETA. So we can prevent that by all y’all makin’ sure you use “y’all” a dozen times a day and always be fixin’ to do somethin’. Get relaxed with your language. Let your words lean up against each other. And make sure you use your Texas diphthong every chance you “gee-ut.”
W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell ice cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.
“The history of slavery in the Caribbean is traumatic. It’s a difficult legacy and I don’t think that it’s been well processed. So the serving of tea becomes this way to sort of address that. To consider, how can we move forward? What does it look like to think about healing in a space like that?” -Annalee Davis
Annalee Davis is a Barbadian artist and activist, whose work addresses the complicated legacy of slavery in the Caribbean. On this edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy enjoy her serving of (Bush) Tea at the KUT studios in Austin, Texas where she was preparing to open her show This Ground Beneath My Feet – A Chorus of Bush in Rab Lands at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her exhibition is on view until December 15, 2016.
The Ohio State University attack and the Texas connection: does the incident underscore concerns about refugee resettlement? We’ll explore. Also to alert Ohio State students yesterday, administrators sent out a message on social media: run hide fight. A phrase that may turn out to be a 21st century version of duck and cover, which has its origins in Houston. And a Texas elector defects, saying its his moral and civic duty not to vote for Donald Trump. We’ll hear his explanation. And the true costs of coaching-did Charlie Strong lose his job over what happened on the gridiron, or something else? The bottom line and then some today on the Texas Standard:
The president elect has called for extreme vetting of some would-be immigrants. For potential citizens, that future is now. Plus the economic miracle. Still wise to bank on it? What a new economic map of Texas tells us about sustained growth, and where the hot spots are. Plus, mothers milk- they say there’s nothing better for newborns. But where money’s tight, necessity becomes the mother of an alternative. We’ll hear from the Mexican doctor pushing it. And a Texas case before the nation’s highest court tomorrow with national implications for the death penalty. Those stories and lots more today on the Texas Standard:
It’s beginning to look a lot like time for another Texas legislative session, And now, we’re getting a good sense of what’s in play. Plus NPR has it’s recipes, but we know which turkeys Texans are most worried about. Our post election guide to peace at the dinner table. And robocalls pitching religion for price- what’s behind the latest pay for pray phenomenon. Plus our digital guru’s making his list and we’ll be checking it twice. All top tips for technology gifts this season. Also trip tips for a longer than usual holiday weekend…and do you know the political history of Thanksgiving? All that plus a side of gravy today on the Texas Standard:
In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Joe Madison, “The Black Eagle,” award-winning national talk show host on Sirius/XM Urban View Radio and former Executive Director of Detroit’s NAACP branch.
In her interview with University of Texas Professor Ben Carrington, Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore reflects on her experience with Stuart Hall while she wrote for Marxism Today, a British political magazine published under the editorship of Martin Jacques from 1977–1991.
Moore explains that she came to the magazine having completed a cultural studies degree but was dissatisfied with the narrow reach of academia. Through her experience with Stuart Hall, who also wrote for the magazine, she was able to see first-hand his ability to connect the social, political and economic. Most notably, she points to Hall’s analysis of Thatcherism as an ideological project he termed “authoritarian populism.”
As an “absolutely engaged” intellectual who “didn’t just sit there with books,” Hall’s influence on Marxism Today made it both a supportive environment but also not an easy place to work. It was a “way of life,” she states. Despite that her interests around “feminism came second place sometimes,” Hall inspired her with his genuine ability to include people and his quiet support without being a domineering presence.
Moore notes Hall’s ability to reach a wide range of people who didn’t fit into certain categories because he was an engaged intellectual who “had hinterland to spare.”
Moore further states that while Stuart’s work was located in a particular time and place, the bigger analysis holds up now. This is especially true of Policing the Crisis in relation to police brutality in America. Given his core principles around inequality and dispossession he would also have much to add to the discussion around the Syrian refugee crisis, as he “always understood people who didn’t have a place.”
What Hall leaves behind for Moore is both “a little bit of sadness and loss” but also “the ability to point you in a new direction.”
Any Texpat can give you a list of things they miss about the Lone Star State. The weather, the football, the music – and near the top of many of these homesick lists: the food. Specifically, a good tortilla. Whether you prefer tacos, fajitas or burritos, there’s just nothing like a great tortilla.
Improving education: a lot of Texans know the talk, but a Texas lawmaker walk the walk. We’ll meet him and hear his strategy. Plus as mainstream media continues to wrestle with how they got the election so wrong, what’s next? How the events and the outcome of campaign 2016 translate for tomorrow’s journalists. Plus free stuff. Anybody up for that? Viral videos claim to teach consumers how to get expensive high tech goodies without paying. We’ll explore the truth behind the claims. Also a conversation with one of the Lone Star State’s best known film makers: Richard Linklater. Plus the week in Texas politics and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:
We might think that human beings are innately kind or innately cruel, as it turns out neither is fully true. Kindness is one of those things that is a learned behavior. The more we practice kindness the more we, and others around us, tend to practice the same behavior.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! To prepare for you for crowded airports, jammed freeways, family tension and delicious food, Team This Song offers up tales of musical epiphanies. In the first half of the podcast Alex Trimble, lead singer of the Irish indie rock trio Two Door Cinema Club, explains to Taylor Wallace how Beck’s “Midnight Vultures” album illustrated the concept of music-making without rules and in turn reinvigorated his songwriting. We then hear from Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek from the Brooklyn-based band Big Thief as they describe how “The Leanover” from Life Without Buildings and the work of Michael Hurley inspired them and lead them to approach their songwriting and musical performances from completely new directions.
Listen to Songs from Episode 59 of This Song
Just in time for the holidays a federal court in Texas puts the brakes on a law expanding overtime to millions of workers. Plus you’ve heard about the protests in the Dakotas, but what about the science? Are the pipelines really that much of a threat to the water? We’ll explore. And deadlier than the top forms of cancer combined: efforts underway to reduce the number of medical mistakes. Plus a prominent politician says that in Texas, more money is spent keeping a person in prison than in educating a student. Is that fact? Also, planning a camping trip out in west Texas? Just so you know: the Big Bend bears are back. All that and more on today’s Texas Standard:
It’s after the election. How do we decide who represents us? Who is in, and who is out? Must something be sacrificed to be popular? As we examine the concepts of popularity, fandom, polling, and analytics, we will speak about the creation of culture and the allure of personality in our lives, through the lens of the Downbeat Magazine jazz polls throughout the years. Why is Miles Davis so good? Which Miles Davis do we mean? As we cull our playlists, how much patience do we really have to become connoisseurs, or to discover something new? In this episode of Views & Brews, KUT’s Rebecca McInroy joins Rabbi and Jazz Historian Neil Blumofe in an examination on jazz and the art of popularity.
Detroit, Stockton, Orange County: all on a list of cities and counties that have declared bankruptcy, could a big one from Texas be next? Plus we’ll have the latest on the ambush-style killing of a San Antonio Police Officer. Also, over the top tweets gotcha down? Facebook giving you the frowns? NPR’s All tech Considered tells us why after the election more and more folks say they’re pulling the plug on social media. Plus a world class symphony playing the blues…what a strike and concert cancellations add up to for the arts, and for the citizens at large. And Exxon fires back over global warming with an unprecedented move. Those stories and lots more today on the Texas Standard:
Police ambushed in three states this weekend including an officer killed in San Antonio. Mere coincidence, or coordinated? We’ll explore. Plus he calls them the worst of the worst: how does the president elect’s plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions square with reality? Also, no longer going Strong? After a weekend loss, Texas’ football coach appears all but fired, but critics say it’s the university that’s fumbled. We’ll hear why. And the rise of a new music city not powered by musicians as much as their producers. Plus the anatomy of a fake news story and much more today on the Texas Standard:
In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. concludes his conversation with Ben Tankard, author of The Full Tank Life: Fuel Your Dreams, Ignite Your Destiny. Tankard is a pilot, pastor, motivational speaker, reality TV star, and a bestselling Jazz and Gospel musician.
Was there a subject in school that seemed so hard and unsatisfying to study that even to this day the thought of it makes you cringe? For many students, that subject was Math. And perhaps more specifically, Calculus. Maybe it was the confusing terminology or seemingly abstract concepts. Can Calculus ever redeem itself? Is it ever useful? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger give Calculus a second chance. In a previous episode, Ed promised Jennifer he could clearly explain Calculus in just a few easy steps. Jennifer now takes him up on that challenge. Can Ed make Calculus accessible and maybe even fun? Listen on to find out, and to hear the solution to the puzzler about the Road to Truth.
This episode was recorded on October 4, 2016.
Austin’s police chief says he’s leaving for Houston. Texas has a history of adopting textbooks written by non-academic historians. The East Austin Studio Tour ramps up for its second weekend. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!
Subscribe at https://weekend.kut.org