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It seemed to me that regional speech is in the process of disappearing, not gone but going. Forty years of radio and twenty years of television must have this impact. Communications must destroy localness, by a slow, inevitable process. I can remember a time when I could almost pinpoint a man’s place of origin by his speech. That is growing more difficult now and will in some foreseeable future become impossible. Radio and television speech becomes becomes standardized, perhaps better English than we have ever used. Just as our bread, mixed and baked, packaged and sold without benefit of accident or human frailty, is uniformly good and uniformly tasteless, so will our speech become one speech. Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother’s cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better. But it is true that we have exchanged corpulence for starvation, and either one will kill us. The lines of change are down. We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain. Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley in Search of America (p. xxv). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley in Search of America (p. xxv). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley in Search of America (p. xxv). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley in Search of America (p. xxv). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley in Search of America (p. xxv). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

— Steinbeck on uniformity of speech, etc.  

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