Bahl harpin' ... Local NoCal dialect slowly disappearing

In a departure from the headlines featuring "sequestration" across the DC area, today's SF Chronicle featured a refreshing and insightful front-page article on Boontling, a regional dialect disappearing from Northern California's Anderson Valley. 

As a huge language geek, I have always been quite fascinated by the convergence and divergence of local dialects, some of which seem to survive, while others slowly fall into complete disuse and ultimate obscurity and abandon.

Take Italy for example, where the perpetuation of dialects is closely tied to the country's ingrained regionalism. Those Italophiles out there have to check out this clip from Benvenuti al sud (Welcome to the South).

This certainly brought me back to journalist Robert MacNeil's 2005 PBS Documentary and book, Do You Speak American?  This is an excellent overview of the history of American English and the dialects and accents that shape our country's language as we know it. At left, linguist Bill Labov explains the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (AKA my explanation for why I say "melk," "wuder," and "pull" for "pool."