From: Scott Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 26 Apr 2005 - 23:40:41 GMT
--- Bill Spight <email@example.com> wrote:
> Dear Kate and Chris,
> >> I'd suggest that the persistence of many cultural
> thingies in the
> >> US is as a result of the slower pace of cultural
> evolution for the
> >> exact same reasons that genetic evolution occurs
> more slowly (on
> >> average) in large interbreeding populations.
> Inertia essentially;
> >> cf. the persistence of words like 'gotten', which
> have died out in
> >> British English -- a much smaller population in
> which stochastic
> >> effects are more pronounced and change more
> > This is a really interesting explanation for this
> sort of example.
> > Does it hold beyond particular words like
> "gotten"? I know there are
> > lots more like this, which we in the UK think of
> as US imports but
> > actually originated over here. But is this a
> principle that can be
> > extended over "bigger" meme pools like the US?
> I think that maybe this is an example of the general
> tendency of
> emigrant culture to change less than the parent
> culture. From what I
> hear the English dialect that is the closest to
> Elizabethan English is
> spoken in the hills of Tennessee, which are still
> pretty isolated.
If the US is a "melting pot" so to speak, we should consider how much cultural cross-fertilization has occurred between the immigrant (voluntary and forced) cultures and what has resulted. We are hardly stagnant over on this side of the pond (excepting some parts of Dixie who can't forgive Sherman). We have hiphop, jazz, salsa, etc. There are Spanish only radio stations popping up all over my neck of the woods that offer a diversity of music different than your standard country and classic rock format. We have all kinds of cuisines to sample, from octopus sushi to curry. OK maybe Miami and L.A. shouldn't be extrapolated to the Midwest, but still, we are evolving at a good click nonetheless or at least hybridizing. Sure English language and Anglo culture is still a dominant norm, but within this context other stuff is making inroads.
There seems to be an increasing number of ethnically
mixed couples and more biracial and multiracial
offspring too, so cultural stuff ain't all that's
hybridizing. I wonder how many kids out there have a
mixture of Asian, African, and European heritage, both
cultural and genetic...
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