American Regions & Stereotypes When Americans talk about the United States, it is common for them to reference one of six unofficial regions. These regions are not governmental or legal regions, but instead cultural regions, formed naturally by the inhabitants of that region over time. History, geography, literature, music, and climate all played a role in the formation of these regions. The multicultural heritage of each region, as well as demographic characteristics (such as age or occupation) make each region special and distinct. Within several regions, language is used differently and there are strong dialects. There are also differences in outlook and attitude based on geography. Accordingly, there are also stereotypes of the people who live in each of the 6 American regions. Although there are several different ways that different people define the regions of the United States, the map to the left shows the most appropriate classification of regions in the opinion of the American-born and raised author. These color-coded regions are: New England, The Mid-Atlantic, The South, The Midwest, The Southwest, and The West. Let's take a look at each region individually. New England includes the following states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. New England has played an important role in the development of the United States, and it is the region to which the first settlers of the United States arrived. These first settlers were Protestants seeking religious liberty, and because of this, many Protestant values are still present in society today. Protestant settlers to New England gave the region its distinctive political format - town meetings (an outgrowth of meetings held by church elders) in which citizens gathered to discuss issues of the day. Town meetings still function in many New England communities today and have been revived as a form of dialogue in the national political arena. New England is also known for its educational contributions to the United States. Many top universities today are located in New England: Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and Wesleyan are all examples of this. There are more top universities in New England than any other region. Without, however, large expanses of rich farmland or a mild climate, generations of exasperated New England farmers declared that the chief product of their land was stones. By 1750, many settlers had turned from farming to other pursuits. In their business dealings, New Englanders gained a reputation for hard work, shrewdness, thrift, and ingenuity. CopyrightÂŠ2010 EnglishRepublic.ru All rights reserved
The Mid-Atlantic consists of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. If New England provided the brains and dollars for 19th century American expansion, the Mid-Atlantic states provided the muscle. The region's largest states, New York and Pennsylvania, became centers of heavy industry (iron, glass, and steel). The MidAtlantic region was settled by a wider range of people than New England. Into this area of industry came millions of Europeans who gave the country its nickname of "melting pot" due to cultural diversity. As heavy industry spread throughout the region, rivers such as the Hudson and Delaware were transformed into vital shipping lanes. Cities on waterways - New York on the Hudson, Philadelphia on the Delaware, Baltimore on Chesapeake Bay - grew dramatically. New York is still the nation's largest city, its financial hub, and its cultural center. But even today, the visitor who expects only factories and crowded cities will be surprised. In the Mid-Atlantic, there are more wooded hills than factory chimneys, more fields than concrete roads, and more farmhouses than office buildings. People from the Mid-Atlantic are often thought of as very business-like, and not unlike New Englanders. Whereas New Englanders are more commonly thought of as similar to one another, people from the MidAtlantic are more often characterized by their state. For example, New Yorkers are stereotyped as blunt and business-like, often lacking manners and other social graces. People from New Jersey are often portrayed as loud and obnoxious. The Midwest consists of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Midwest is known as the nation's "breadbasket." The fertile soil of the region makes it possible for farmers to produce abundant harvests of cereal crops such as wheat, oats, and corn. Corn is the most important of all American crops, as basic to American agriculture as iron is to American industry. The annual crop is greater than the nation's yield of wheat, rice and other grains combined. On hot, still midsummer nights in the Corn Belt, farmers insist they can hear the corn growing. Farms are normally located separate from each other, close to the fields, and often beyond the sight of its neighbors. The village or town is principally a place where the farm family travels to buy supplies, to attend church, and to go for entertainment or political, social or business meetings. Midwesterners are praised as being open, friendly, and straightforward. Some consider Midwesterners simple (in a bad way) and close-minded, and although friendly, not genuinely so. The Southwest includes Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. However, Texas is more often than not considered its own region, as they people and traditions there are certainly unique. In general, though, the Southwest is drier than the Midwest in weather. The population is less dense and, with strong Spanish-American and NativeAmerican components, more ethnically varied than neighboring areas. Outside the cities, the region is a land of open spaces, much of which is desert. The magnificent Grand Canyon is located in this region, as is Monument Valley, the starkly beautiful backdrop for many western movies. Monument Valley is within the Navajo Reservation, home of the most populous American Indian tribe. CopyrightÂŠ2010 EnglishRepublic.ru All rights reserved
To the south and east lie dozens of other Indian reservations, including those of the Hopi, Zuni, and Apache tribes. Parts of the Southwest once belonged to Mexico. The United States obtained this land following the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The population in the region is growing rapidly. Arizona, for example, now rivals the southern states as a destination for retired Americans in search of a warm climate. Since the last third of the 19th century, the immense stretch of barren American desert has been growing smaller. In the 1860s, the wasteland extended from the Mississippi Valley almost to the Pacific Coast. But settlers learned that the prairies could grow corn and that the grasslands could feed cattle and sheep or yield wheat. As they continued to cultivate the desert, its size decreased. Dams on the Colorado and other rivers have brought water to the once small towns of Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, allowing them to become metropolises. Southwesterners are generally not commonly stereotyped, but Native Americans in general may sometimes be thought of as alcoholics and anti-social (outside of their Native American group). As for Texans, they like everything huge: huge steaks, huge cars (usually trucks!), huge ranches, and a huge state. They are also very proud of their state in a way rarely seen in the rest of the country. Instead of saying “hello” or “hi”, Texas is the only state in the Union in which people greet each other with a “Howdy!”. Texans are very patriotic, and can sometimes be viewed as overly nationalistic and perhaps a bit racist. If you are a foreigner, Texans will treat you with respect as long as you respect American traditions. If you do not – you'd better run for the border!! Alaska, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming make up the West. Americans have long regarded the West as the last frontier. Yet California has a history of European settlement older than that of most midwestern states. Spanish priests founded missions along the California coast a few years before the outbreak of the American Revolution. The West is a region of scenic beauty on a grand scale. In much of the West, the population is sparse and the federal government owns and manages millions of acres of undeveloped land. Americans use these areas for recreational and commercial activities, such as fishing, camping, hiking, boating, lumbering, and mining. In recent years, some local residents who earn their livelihoods on federal property have come into conflict with the government agencies, which are charged with keeping land use within environmentally acceptable limits. Hawaii is the only state in the union in which Asian Americans are the largest ethnic group. Beginning in the 1980s, large numbers of Asians have also settled in California. Los Angeles - and Southern California as a whole - bears the stamp of its large MexicanAmerican population. Now the second largest city in the nation, Los Angeles is best known as the home of the Hollywood film industry. Fueled by the growth of Los Angeles and the "Silicon Valley" area near San Jose, California has become the most populous of all the states. Perhaps because so many westerners have moved there from other regions to make a new start, Western cities are known for their tolerance and a very strong "liveand-let live” attitude. Americans from the West are seen as shallow and too carefree. Copyright©2010 EnglishRepublic.ru All rights reserved
Many cities in the West have their own particular stereotypes – residents of Seattle are stereotyped as chain-smoking, coffee-addicted, depressed, grunge-music listeners. San Francisco is thought of as having a large population of hippies and homosexuals, and in San Diego half the population is Mexican and the other half are surfers who don't care about anything in this world except for how high the waves are for surfing! The last region is the glorious SOUTH. The South is perhaps the most distinctive region of the United States. The American Civil War (1861-1865) devastated the Old South socially and economically. The scars left by the war took decades to heal. The abolition of slavery failed to provide African Americans with political or economic equality, and it took a long, concerted effort to end segregation. The "New South" has evolved into a manufacturing region and high-rise buildings crowd the skylines of such cities as Atlanta and Little Rock. The region, however, still has many landscapes to delight the human sense of poetry and wonder. The South is blessed with plentiful rainfall and a mild climate. Crops grow easily in its soil and can be grown without frost for at least eight months of the year. Owing to its mild weather, the South (especially Florida) has become a mecca for retirees from other regions. Within the South, there is a subregion known as “The Deep South”. The Deep South includes Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. These states are also known as “The Cotton States”, due to the fact that large plantations for the growing of cotton and sugar were concentrated in this region. Although Americans from other parts of the United States characterize residents of the Deep South as unintelligent, simple, uncultured, and intolerant, they also must concede that Southerners are the most polite, well-mannered, and hospitable people in the nation. Southern cooking is also considered the tastiest and most traditional of all American food, even if not the healthiest! The most religious Americans live in the South, and the region known as “the Bible belt” includes the South (minus Florida) plus Texas and a few states of the Midwest. Whereas in other parts of the United States people often put themselves first, Southerners take the feelings and well-being of others into consideration. Whereas in the North, you may wait 20 minutes in heavy traffic for someone to let you turn on to the main road, in the South, you will most likely be allowed to merge with a wave and a smile within 5 minutes. The South, or at least the Deep South, definitely holds some traditions close to its heart, however. If a visitor is doing something considered to be disrespectful or inappropriate, then they will be corrected and possibly disciplined. It is not acceptable in the Deep South, for example, for females to wear short skirts or revealing clothing. This is not because Southerners discriminate against women, however. On the contrary, women are respected as vital members of the community, and unlike in other parts of the country, if a man does not hold the door for a woman or greet her on the street, then he would be considered rude. Finally, another charming aspect of the South is the unique Southern accent.
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Distinct = [ADJECTIVE] Separate and different in a way that is clear or obvious. [As dawn broke, the outline of a building became distinct against the sky.] Dialect = [NOUN] A way of speaking a language that is used only in a particular area or by a particular group. [One of the easiest ways to hear the difference between a Moscow dialect and a St. Petersburg dialect is by asking the Muscovite to say the word “дождь”.] Color-coded = [ADJECTIVE] Made clear or distinct by color; Separated or defined as a group by a given color which is associated with only that group. [Grandma is getting old and her memory isn't what it used to be, so her pills are color-coded.] [NOTE: “To colorcode” can also be a verb – Grandma is getting old and her memory isn't what it used to be, so we color-coded her pills in order to make it easy for her to know which pills she should take on each day.] Outgrowth = [NOUN] (1) The result or consequence of something. (2) A thing growing out of a main body (3) The act or process of growing out from something. [(1)That writer's first book was an outgrowth of an art project he started way back in 1976! (2) That child was born with a strange outgrowth on his face. He will probably have surgery to remove it when he gets older. (3) I love taking walks in the spring and seeing the outgrowth of new buds on branches.] To revive = [VERB] (1) To make someone become conscious or alive again OR to become conscious or alive again. (2) To become active, successful, or popular again OR to make something do this. [(1) The lifeguard revived the child after he pulled him from the bottom of the pool. (2) The popular TV show “Glee” revived interest in singing in the United States.] Exasperated = [ADJECTIVE] Extremely annoyed. [I was so exasperated after trying to deal with Sberbank's foolishness that I decided to just switch to ВТБ.] Obnoxious – [ADJECTIVE] Very rude, offensive, and/or unpleasant. [I can't believe that woman is using that profane language in front of her children. She is too obnoxious to ignore – I'm going to file a complaint against her.] To bear the stamp of (something) = To seem to be a particular thing or to display the qualities of something. [Having reviewed all the evidence, the judge decided that the crime did indeed bear the stamp of 1st degree murder.] To concede = [VERB] (1) HERE: To admit that something is true (2) To stop trying to win something because you realize that you cannot; to give up. (3) To give something that you own or control to someone, although you do not want to. [(1) The teacher was forced to concede that she had made an error after one of her students found information in the official document that contradicted what she had taught the class. (2) Zenit finally conceded defeat after they were behind FC Bayern 0-6. (3) After losing World War II, Italy was forced to concede a lot of territory to the Allies.]
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DEROGATORY WORDS AMERICANS CALL EACH OTHER Hillbilly – Someone who lives in a rural area and is thought of as simple, uneducated, and/or lacking class. This person is considered unsophisticated and it was originally used to describe people living in the Appalachian Mountains (especially in the state of West Virginia). Hick – (Very similar to hillbilly) Someone who can not appreciate higher forms of culture, is simple and possibly perceived as rude by the rest of society. These people are more often than not found in the South, and although they also live in rural areas, they live in more populated areas than hillbillies. They love beer, country music, rodeos, and trucks. Redneck – (Practically the same as a hick) This describes the same type of person as a hick, but it is slightly less offensive. White Trash – (more general term) A white person who lacks cultural graces and does not know how to behave appropriately in public. Yankee (or 'Yank') – Negative term for someone from the North (used by Southerners)
CONVERSATION Viktor: I can't wait to visit the US next month! Katya: Oh cool – what part of the US are you going to visit? Vadim: Surely he's going to New England. After all, it's England that Viktor really likes..... Alla: Yeah, silly Anglophile... Viktor: Actually, I'm not going to New England, Vadim. Guess again! Alla: The West. You just want to check out the LA club scene. Katya: Yeah, and meet some California girls. Alla: Typical. Vadim: Oooh, did someone say 'California girls'? Viktor: I will be spending a few days in Los Angeles, so I'll definitely be hitting up the clubs, but for the majority of my vacation, I won't be in that region. Katya: You can't be going to the Midwest – there's nothing to do there except for farming. So....you're going to the Southwest? Are you going to go gambling on an Indian reservation? Alla: Excuse me, Katya, but the PC term for Indian is “Native American”. Katya: Oh, sorry. So Viktor, you're going to play poker with the Native Americans, or what? Viktor: Of course not! I'm going to the jewel of the United States – the South! Vadim: The South? Oh, you'd better be careful, Viktor.....they're strict down there. Alla: Oh, but I've heard that the food is delicious, and the people are as sweet as sugar. Katya: That's why Vadim is so wary about going there! Alla: Yeah, he's afraid that some Southerner will teach him a lesson about etiquette! Viktor: Yeah, Vadim doesn't know the first thing about manners!
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Vadim: That's pretty rude of you, Viktor. You'd better be on your best behavior in the South. Don't say I didn't warn you. Viktor: Whatever, I'm going to meet a cute Southern Belle from Georgia and just listen to her charming accent all night. Katya: You won't find those kinds of girls in clubs, Viktor. Alla: Yeah, looks like you'll have to settle with whatever you can find at Дача when you return! Then you can find a girl and listen to a different kind of Georgian accent! Ha! Anglophile = [NOUN] Someone who really likes (or is even obsessed with) all things British. Wary = [ADJECTIVE] Careful or nervous about something or someone, because you think that it (or they) might cause a problem. [She is wary about traveling to Iran on her holiday, because Iranians do not treat women with equality.] To not know the first thing about (something) = To not know anything about (something) [You can't fool us, Vadim. You don't know the first thing about manners and proper etiquette!] Southern Belle = A Southern woman from the US with class, grace, traditional values, and a strong Southern accent.
Written by Bunny
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