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Old 08-20-2011, 09:23 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Is it because the early cowboys came out of Texas? Even in Westerns set in Arizona or Nevada, cowboys have a southern/Texan accent. Is it just an ignorant Hollywood stereotype, or did much of the Western US have a sort of southern sounding accent? Wouldn't the majority of real cowboys in states like Wyoming speak the usual standard american accent?

In the movie 'Boys Don't Cry' Hilary Swank puts on a real southern accent when playing this character based on a real person, while the real person didn't even sound southern at all in interviews I heard. This character was from rural southeastern Nebraska which doesn't even have a southern accent, yet it seems some people even equate southern with rural.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:59 PM
 
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If I recall right, American cowboys originated in Georgia. So as it goes, one of the reasons that Texas cowboys sound somewhat southern was because some of the settlers of Texas were from further southeast, and brought their accents with them along with their cowboy lifestyle. I dont know for sure but thats what I read. I noticed though, that a lot of cowboys from other states sound country, but not necessarily "southern". Especially purely western cowboys from states like Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona etc.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:44 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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It seems like there was some kind of cowboy accent that was more "grizzled" than precisely Southern sounding. Did Jack Palance or John Wayne sound "Southern" to you? I'm trying to think on it, but I'm thinking they didn't precisely sound Southern or Texan to me. Or at least I don't think Palance did. I'm trying to think of other Western actors. Let's see Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, James Arness, Gary Cooper, etc. I guess I could go for the Youtube thing to test.


The Searchers - YouTube - Well maybe, but the non-Wayne character doesn't seem to have a distinct accent.


Jack Palance In Shane - YouTube - Palance shouldn't have a Southern accent here as he's apparently playing "a Yankee."


Gunsmoke "The Killer" Act 3 - YouTube - I don't think I detect much Southern here.

I'm thinking some "Westerns" are set in the Southwest so a Southern influenced accent makes some sense. Not sure why they'd give a Southern-tinged accent to people in Montana except that maybe in their mind "rural" equals "Southern" or something. Or maybe Montana was one of those states that received immigration from Oklahoma. It seems like I have heard of Alaskans who sound vaguely "Southern" as there were Texans and Oklahomans who settled there as part of the oil industry or what have you.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Oroville, California
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I went to school in tiny Mariposa County, California (Sierra Gold Country). There were kids who lived on foothill cattle ranches (and had for generations) who had a slight Western drawl. This was back in the late 70s, so their kids probably don't (seems like most kids sound the same coast to coast now). I remember thinking to myself - "This is California, why do they sound like they're from Texas?". I thought it was put-on.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Round Rock, Texas
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Texas cowboys adopted their trade from Mexican vaqueros, but the accents were generally based on the southern type.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Phoenix Arizona
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People generally migrated west in straight lines, so the Southwest got a lot more Southerners as the Northwest got more Northerners( you can hear Minnesota sounds in Oregon and Washington, slightly).
Rural AZ has its own Western accent, though you can hear the pronunciation of certain words and phrases sounding sorta Southern.

Also, a lot of Southerners left the South for the West after the Civil War to escape the poverty of Reconstruction or to be as far from the federal government as possible.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cacto View Post
People generally migrated west in straight lines, so the Southwest got a lot more Southerners as the Northwest got more Northerners( you can hear Minnesota sounds in Oregon and Washington, slightly).
Rural AZ has its own Western accent, though you can hear the pronunciation of certain words and phrases sounding sorta Southern.

Also, a lot of Southerners left the South for the West after the Civil War to escape the poverty of Reconstruction or to be as far from the federal government as possible.
I have to respectfully disagree Cacto. You've got to be kidding me if you think more people from the South migrated to AZ than Minnesota and the upper midwest. My gosh. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan are all places where many people migrate to AZ from. It's far more common to hear a nasally Chicago accent than a southern one in Arizona. I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you about migration patterns in the west. As for the OP's question. I think Hollywood pegs Arizona and other western states in with Texas. It fits a stereotype that goes back to the old westerns. Ironically many Hollywood types probably don't realize that people in Phoenix, Denver, etc. talk just like they do.
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:46 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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I think Cacto was meaning historically, hence use of the word "migrated" past-tense, and that the basis of the "Native Arizonan" accent is largely Southern. Historically the American settlement to Arizona was not Minnesotans or New Yorkers, at least I don't think so. So native-born Arizonans over say 30 probably have Southerners as ancestors, at least I think that's what Cacto means.

If we mean now Arizona looks to get the most migration from California. In the Midwest Illinois is high, but the Minneapolis and Duluth areas also look somewhat high. They do get some from Texas though.

http://pewsocialtrends.org/2008/12/1...gration-flows/
http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/04/mig...nties-map.html
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:08 PM
 
353 posts, read 482,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
I think Cacto was meaning historically, hence use of the word "migrated" past-tense, and that the basis of the "Native Arizonan" accent is largely Southern. Historically the American settlement to Arizona was not Minnesotans or New Yorkers, at least I don't think so. So native-born Arizonans over say 30 probably have Southerners as ancestors, at least I think that's what Cacto means.

If we mean now Arizona looks to get the most migration from California. In the Midwest Illinois is high, but the Minneapolis and Duluth areas also look somewhat high. They do get some from Texas though.

Map: U.S. Migration Flows | Pew Social & Demographic Trends
Map: Where Americans Are Moving - Forbes.com
I knew what he meant and I was disputing it. From the very beginning AZ was settled by people from the Midwest and East. The people attracted to AZ were usually from places with harsh winters. The migration patterns to AZ aren't much different from California, Nevada or other western states. I'm nearly 40 and almost everybody I went to school with had relatives from the midwest or back east. Saying the northern migration to AZ is just recent is patently false. Even 4th or 5th generation Arizonans don't have southern or Texas like accents. It's the classic neutral midwest or whatever you want to call it. In all my time in the Phoenix area if you run into someone with a twang or drawl, which is rare you know immediately they are from somewhere else.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:16 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Oh okay. Well parts of it were briefly occupied by the Confederacy.

I think I was maybe mixing it up with New Mexico though. It looks like NM is the one that has highly Southern Baptist counties in the Eastern parts, etc.

http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/pics/geo...on/baptist.gif
Electoral Explorer - Election Results 2008 - The New York Times
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