Fall 2003_090

Instructor: Buthaina Al Othman

My Cousin Vinny

Two Different Dialects in Two Different American States: New York & Alabama

Vinny: What's the matter with you?
Mona Lisa: I don't know...
Vinny: You're actin' like you're nervous or something.
Mona Lisa: Well, yeah, I am.
Vinny: What are you nervous about? I'm the one under the gun here. Trial starts tomorrow.
Mona Lisa: You wanna know what I'm nervous about? I'll tell you what I'm nervous about! I am in the dark here with all this legal crap. I have no idea what's going on! All I know is that you're screwing up and I can't help!
Vinny: You left me that little camera, didn't you?
Mona Lisa: Oh, Vinny! I'm watching you go down in flames, and you're bringing me with you and I can't do anything about it.
Vinny: And?
Mona Lisa: Well, I hate to bring it up, because I know you have enough pressure on you already. BUT, we agreed to get married as soon as you won your first case. Meanwhile, ten years later, my niece! The daughter of my sister is getting married! My biological clock is tickin' like this, and with the way this case is goin', I ain't never gettin' married!
Vinny: Lisa, I don't need this. I swear to God I don't need this right now. Okay? I've got a judge that's just achin' to throw me in jail! An idiot who wants to fight me for $200! Slaughtered pigs! Giant loud whistles! I ain't slept in five days! I've got no money! A dress code problem! And a little murder case, which in the balance holds the lives of two innocent kids. Not to mention....YOUR biological clock! My career! Your life! Our marriage! And let's see...what else can we pile on? Is there any more shit we can pile on to the top of the outcome of this case?! IS IT POSSIBLE?
Mona Lisa: Maybe it was a bad time to bring it up.

Town person: "got mud in your tires?"
Vinny: "let me ask a question, how do you get mud into the tires?"
Town person: "no, that's just a figure of speech. The mud gets around the inside of the wheels".

2. The second dialogue, below,occured inside a court in the southern state, between "Vinny" and the "Judge":

Vinny: Is it possible, the two utes...
Judge: Eh, the two what? Uh, uh, what was that word?
Vinny: Uh, what word?
Judge: Two what?
Vinny: What?
Judge: Uh, did you say 'Utes'?
Vinny: Yeah, two utes.
Judge:What is a ute?
Vinny: Oh, excuse me, your honor. Two YOUTHS.

  • It is interesting to learn that, although the two are native American English speakers, they also get to misunderstand some of each other's speech. Can you think of this kind of diffrence in some Arabic dialects, or maybe, Kuwaiti Arabic dialects?

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©2003 Buthaina Al Othman