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View Poll Results: Which region sounds most English?
New England 24 42.11%
Northeast as a whole 6 10.53%
The South 21 36.84%
Midwest 2 3.51%
Mountain/Frontier 0 0%
The West 4 7.02%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-30-2014, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
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I love music, especially folk music. A very interesting and evocative topic to me is the Child Ballads. These came from England, Scotland and Wales and "settled" in many hamlets and villages and mountain regions of the Mid Atlantic, Appalachia, and southern hills and valleys especially.

I grew up listening to many of these ballads, and some of them had been passed down through generations in my Scots-English family. My mother used to sing many of them to me when I was a child, and I passed them on to my kids, who now sing them to THEIR kids.

Child Ballads - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
The ballads vary in age; for instance, the manuscript of "Judas" dates to the thirteenth century and a version of "A Gest of Robyn Hode" was printed in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. The majority of the ballads, however, date to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although some probably have very ancient influences, only a handful can be definitively traced to before 1600. Moreover, few of the tunes collected are as old as the words. Nevertheless, Child's collection was far more comprehensive than any previous collection of ballads in English.
List of the Child Ballads - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These beautiful, evocative ballads have been kept alive by Scots/English communities throughout the Appalachians and who migrated south and west, as my family did (PA to VA to SC to TX and AR). When folk music had a revival in the mid 20th century, my parents were really into it and I am very grateful for my exposure to these beautiful, haunting songs with such a rich English history.

Some of my favorites:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT2G...4D0FA&index=14


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfqp...47CB41971F7926


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LJ7Z7a3UbM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz3H...YbPlkUF1wbNzZx


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAqWQbzFXiQ


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD3F93v1Tdc


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FmQl_5gZUw
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,764,942 times
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You have it backwards. The r-dropping phenomenon you are describing is called non-rhoticity. A language, dialect, or accent that drops its rs is called non-rhotic and a language, dialect, or accent that doesn't is called rhotic. Old English was rhotic. All forms of English were rhotic until relatively recently. A very large chunk of English in the British Isles is still rhotic.

British English was almost exclusively rhotic when they colonized North America. Therefore General American and Canadian English are rhotic.

Non-rhoticity was developed in parts of Britain (mostly in England; ie. the most powerful parts) after colonization of North America, but before colonization of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Which is why those countries have non-rhotic accents.

tl;dr: The non-rhotic North American English accents (AAVE, Lunenbug, Boston, parts of the South, etc) are not a preservation of British English, they just happen to have developed the same quirk that British English did.

There are a couple North American English accents, notably the "Dixie" accent, the general Canadian and Upper Midwestern accents, and of course Newfoundland English, that do happen to have a lot in common with some of the rhotic British Isles accents, like Scottish and Irish.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
Quote:
You have it backwards.
What's backwards? Sorry, not sure what you mean.

Quote:
The r-dropping phenomenon you are describing is called non-rhoticity. A language, dialect, or accent that drops its rs is called non-rhotic and a language, dialect, or accent that doesn't is called rhotic.
Yep, so far so good.

Quote:
Old English was rhotic. All forms of English were rhotic until relatively recently.
Ah, here's where we diverge. The Brits began becoming non rhotic is some regions as early as 1775.

From a very interesting article on rhotic/non rhotic speech patterns:
Quote:
The first evidence we have of non-rhotic pronunciation is from a dictionary by John Walker in 1775, and pretty soon thereafter everyone was “pahking theih cahs in Hahvahd Yahd”. Metaphorically speaking. (Well, except for the people who speak a British dialect that is rhotic, like Northern English or Scots, but again let’s not complicate things.)
A Linguist Explains What Old-School British Accents Sounded Like

You said:
Quote:
Non-rhoticity was developed in parts of Britain (mostly in England; ie. the most powerful parts) after colonization of North America, but before colonization of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Which is why those countries have non-rhotic accents.
And I agree - and quote once again from that interesting article:

Quote:
ncidentally, the Great British De-Rhoticization (a term I just made up) also explains why Australian, New Zealand, and South African English are all non-rhotic, because these areas were settled after the British switched off their Rs, while Canada and the USA were first settled while everyone was still R-full.
A Linguist Explains What Old-School British Accents Sounded Like

Quote:
A very large chunk of English in the British Isles is still rhotic.
We can agree on that as well. But very large chunks are not - and began making that switch in the mid 1700s or so.

Quote:
British English was almost exclusively rhotic when they colonized North America. Therefore General American and Canadian English are rhotic.
Right - minus the non rhotic accents from various regions like NYC and evirons, and in parts of VA, NC, SC, and GA (I think I left GA out of my first list but non rhotic speech patterns are very common there as well).

I believe I quoted the earlier article as stating that the non rhotic speech patterns of these regions are due to influences such as the Dutch (NE) and African American (south) as well as some other influences. To clarify, I didn't mean to imply that the non rhotic patterns are what was inherited from the settlers from England in the 1600s and early 1700s. What I meant to get across is that PHRASES and MUSIC and some grammatical idiosyncracies are very clearly directly from Merry Olde England and still found today in many southern enclaves, especially in the Appalachians and along the Atlantic coast.

Quote:
There are a couple North American English accents, notably the "Dixie" accent, the general Canadian and Upper Midwestern accents, and of course Newfoundland English, that do happen to have a lot in common with some of the rhotic British Isles accents, like Scottish and Irish.
Well, I agree with this as well and would definitely include the Highland accent of the Appalachians and Ozarks,which made it's way, curiously enough, way down into Texas - where you will hear "R's" very clearly pronounced, even to the point of exaggeration, like some New England accents.

I think this was due to so much of the early "west" being settled by Scots and English and Irish who had strong rhotic accents.'

Overall, I think we agree more than disagree. If there's anything within that first quoted article that differs from this, I didn't say it myself - LOL - I just thought the article as a whole was interesting.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I was not talking to you, I was answering OP's question. I honestly didn't even realize you had made a post; sorry for the confusion.
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:52 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,077 posts, read 5,452,941 times
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I love this thread.
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
Reputation: 63565
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
I was not talking to you, I was answering OP's question. I honestly didn't even realize you had made a post; sorry for the confusion.
LOL no problem - at least we agreed on just about everything.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:44 PM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,850,263 times
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Great info about the Dutch influence on the NY accent. When I first met an actual Dutchman from the Netherlands (not the Western Michigan variety), I could have sworn the guy was from the East Coast! Yet he lived most of his life in the Netherlands and then moved to California. I also notice in some of my Dutch friends some NY-like pronunciation of words like "God" as "Gawd". But I don't know if that is from Dutch ancestry or just a coincidence. But these are people who have never been to NY in their life.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:50 PM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,850,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Interesting article:



There are areas of New England also heavily influenced by an East Anglian accent:


However, New York English was heavily influenced by the Dutch as well as by Europeans who flooded NY in the 19th and early 20th century.




Pennyslvania, Delaware, and New Jersey were also greatly influenced by German and Swedish immigrants:


And then we have those Americans who speak "without an accent:"


Linguistics 201: The Dialects of American English

I think this is pretty interesting stuff. I love history!
The comment about East Anglia's influence on Chicago's accent is quite interesting. I always thought of our accent as more Upper Midwest/Scandinavian derived (with possibly some German) than English. In fact we in Chicago laugh at how Bostonians speak all the time and how different they sound from us. I feel like many old school Chicagoans sound closer to Wisconsinites and to a lesser extent Minnesotans than Boston. I didn't even think we were in the same linguistic category.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
The comment about East Anglia's influence on Chicago's accent is quite interesting. I always thought of our accent as more Upper Midwest/Scandinavian derived (with possibly some German) than English. In fact we in Chicago laugh at how Bostonians speak all the time and how different they sound from us. I feel like many old school Chicagoans sound closer to Wisconsinites and to a lesser extent Minnesotans than Boston. I didn't even think we were in the same linguistic category.
Yes, there are some interesting influences. For example, I had no idea that one influence on the southern drawl was African dialects.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,523 posts, read 17,750,904 times
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Southern New York is definitely a wild card in terms of accent. The non-Rhoticism immediately confers a sense of the English heritage, but all the little details in both accent and lexicon point to Dutch, Irish, Italian and German/Yiddish influence.

I was just reading that the non-Rhotic influence on New York English started in the upper class, as is the case in most, if not all non-Rhotic American dialects, then filtered down to all classes, and then was superceded in the upper class with an 'R' sound more reminicent od Scots, Ulster Scots, or Westcountry. I dispute that as I have noticed that rhotic New Yorkers have a different 'R' than other rhotic Americans (more fronted?) i.e. more like the sound in French peur than American English fur.


Also, I have noticed that even Rhotic New Yorkers will often still drop 'R' when it links two words while being fully Rhotic in terminal 'R'. For example, 'refrigeratoR', but 'the othə day'.

Last edited by ABQConvict; 08-31-2014 at 10:55 AM..
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