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Speech Patterns

Surf the net in the slang of your choice

By Hiya Swanhuyser

THE DIALECTICIZER is not a spiffy-looking page. It needs no fancy visuals. For those blessed with a KPIG-esque sense of humor, www.rinkworks.com/dialect promises hours of tummyache-inducing laughter.

The Dialectizer is just what it sounds like: a relatively simple tool that converts the text of any website into a "dialect," such as Redneck, Jive, Cockney, Swedish Chef, Moron, Pig Latin, Elmer Fudd or Hacker.

The more stodgy and uptight a site is to begin with, the funnier the result. Thus, while it is amusing to read the already-funny text on the KPIG site "in" Redneck, certain government, school and venerable newspaper sites can cause laughter-related gasping, choking and tears.

The most interesting bit of content on the Dialectizer's own pages, however, are the paragraphs titled "Why this site isn't racist." The Jive function, one imagines, has drawn criticism from users. But Samuel Stoddard, the site's owner and author, dismisses these concerns, saying "acknowledgment of cultural differences is not inherently an expression of discrimination ... calling it that only increases tensions between ethnic groups."

Sounds like Stoddard's got it all figured out. Have questions about the nature of your own oppression? Don't rely on your own opinion--just ask Sam! He can ignore the fact that phonetic representations of Black English have been used to discriminate against people for centuries, even if you can't.

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From the January 10-17, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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