About Language Difference

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(John is a native speaker, whereas Erick is a Zambian immigrant) John: Good morning, how are you? You appear to be unfamiliar with this location.

Erick: Good morning, I am a newcomer to the United States.

John: Welcome to the United States, bruh; where are you from?

Erick: I'm from Congo...... Africa.

John: The environment and fauna in Africa are fantastic. I've always wanted to visit the continent and see its natural wonders.

Erica: It is a wonderful area, but it is not the same as America. There is a significant difference.

John: Why do you believe there is a difference between the two countries?

I have always thought Africa is a growing continent, full of unexplored resources and markets.

Erick: Sorry sir, I can’t understand you. What do you mean?

John: Sorry, seems my English is too fast. There should be a language difference between our two countries. I said Africa is a growing country that is full of potential.

Erick: Yeah, Africa is supposed to develop, but the problems never start to stop. It’s the lack of jobs and a good standard of living. We blame it on poor leadership.

John: But I believe that leadership has changed over the last couple of years. What is happening over there? You people can do better with good governance and equitable sharing of resources.

Erick: Leadership is full of corruption. All leaders are interested in accumulating wealth. They stick to the leadership position, and any attempt to replace those who lead to civil wars.

John: So, there are some areas where people kill themselves because of power? That should be barbaric. Something needs to be done.

Erick: There a lot of problems for us Africans. It might take ages before it can be rectified.

John: I understand you. Otherwise, welcome to America. You should feel open. Catch up soon.

Erick: Thanks

John: Bye bruh, stay safe

Summary and analysis of the conversation

The conversation is between the Native American John and an immigrant from Zambia who has just landed in the US and is in the process of familiarizing with the new environment. John easily notices that Erick is new as he finds it hard to use facilities at the gas station. The conversation begins from the initial stage of greetings and quickly turns to getting to know each other better. John is interested in learning more about Zambia and Africa in general. Erick asserts that Africa is a country full of problems and it I the problems back at home that is pushing them to America for better standards of living. Zambia is an English-speaking language having being colonized by Britain, but there exist pronunciation issues and the speed of speaking. As the conversation sets up into leadership issues, John appears to talk faster than Erick, and it becomes harder to comprehend what John meant. The conversation ends abruptly since the two have to leave. They wish each other well, but lots of questions emerge between the two parties.

From the conversation, it is evident that there exists some difference regarding ethnicity between the two speakers. The differences are based on language acquisitions and how the English language is learned and developed. For John, the native, English language is the only language in the U.S though there have been some changes over the past half a decade brought about by language development. For the immigrant, English isn’t the mother tongue, but a language developed after the initial language has been learned. The differences create some of the misunderstandings between the two language speakers. The differences in ethnicity can also be seen on the issue of confidence that exists between the two speakers.

There is some form of ethnic biases from the conversation. John perceives Erick to come from a country that is improving. Erick additionally views the US as a country of fortune where problems do not exist and creating wealth. The perception additionally pushes the native speaker to make assumptions that Erick can easily understand what he is communicating. However, the knowledge fails when Erick pardons John as he failed to understand what he meant. The cause of the misunderstanding is the speed of speaking. Native English speakers are fast, and it requires other citizens or immigrants who have stayed in the US for quite some time to be able to understand residents based on their speed of speaking. The difference that creates misunderstanding can, therefore, be associated with the rate of English speaking between the two.

There are unfamiliar words that are common in the US but unknown to the immigrant. The English language has developed over time in the United States. The presence of African Americans has led to the creation of new slangs that have been incorporated into the cultural setting of the Americans. The word “bruh” is meant to me bro a short form of the brother. The slang is used to bring an association of brotherhood that we are all related and should treat each other on a friendly level. John uses “bruh” to appeal to Erick that he is friendly and happy to have him in America. There are also some other words that look direct such as “stay safe” which serves to combine some issues. It helps to wish Erick well, to warn him to stay away from trouble and to always seek help in situations that may deem necessary.


The majority of people who speak English tend to have an accent that the native may not understand. Nobody pronounces English the way it’s supposed to. As seen by John when he told Erica ‘catch up soon’ it shows how the English language is shortened for faster pronunciation. It is evident from the conversation that there exists a generational gap between the two speakers. The word choice for John is casual; the tone is casual describing a younger generation. The same is not applicable to Erick who appears to be formal taking the age of the old who are courteous and respectable. At some point, Erick refers John as Sir, a sign of respect that comes irrespective of age. The immigrants seem to be respectful in their conversation, and they uphold formal language as they try to learn and better their understanding of the English language. As writers, we should always spell all the characters dialogue phonetically so that to bring out the true meaning. For instance, when John was bidding goodbye to Erick, the word ‘bruh’ used was just a shortened version of ‘bro.’ In such situations, it is important to write it in full version ‘brother’ so that to bring out the true meaning and expression in a sentence.

April 26, 2023

Life Sociology

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