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Old 10-28-2009, 07:46 AM
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For the exact same reasons there are different "northern" accents. Different groups of immigrants settled in the different areas of the South. However, it was much heavier Scots-Irish and English with far less dilution from other ethic Euro groups like the NE/Midwest saw in the late 1700s and early 1800s. I have heard that the American "tongue" is so different from the Queen/King's English because of the heavy German and Italian influence. I'm no expert, but I've heard from several "linguists" that the Southern accent is the closest to the King dialect (if not grammatically) than the other American accents (e.g. rolled, soft Rs and short vowels). Also, I'd guess that French elements are more prevalent in the Southern dialect than in the northern accents.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:05 AM
Location: Nashville, TN
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Default Accents in general

I don't think you're being any more racist than anyone else. Many folks might think I'm being racist to say that sometimes I can't understand what some of the backwoods type whites are saying, or some cockney-speaking English people on TV, or some Asians.... Heck, I'm even like you when it comes to those black men on 48 hours. Racial differences exist. That's all I can say about that.

But as far as the variation in Southern accents, I believe it has much to do with who we hang around. I notice when certain groups of people get together, they all start talking alike

Originally Posted by MontanaGuy View Post
blueva wrote:

I've heard other people say the same thing and it does strike me as something that he's intentionally modified to create a particular image of himself. Still, he is an excellent public speaker.
I hope no one will take this wrong but even though I stated earlier that I didn't like to stereotype people and categorize them by their accent there are many black men in the south whose accents and manner of speaking are so strong that it really would present a problem with employment, particularly in corporations or positions that require strong verbal skills. I've watched a few episodes of 48 Hours on tv and I recall a number of times when they had to subtitle what young black men were saying because it was unintelligible. Please don't take that as any sort of racial slur or expression of disrespect, I don't have a racist bone in my body and I'm going to vote for Obama. I'm just pointing out that the ability to communicate is a key element in any successful career and if an accent and speech patterns and mannerisms aren't recognizable as the english language it's going to be very detrimental in terms of career and economic well being.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:51 AM
Location: Bellingham, WA
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I've definitely noticed that each new generation seems to have less of an accent. And as has already been mentioned, many of us in the larger towns and cities seem to have less heavy accents than those from more rural areas. My brother is four years younger than me, and his accent is considerably less noticeable. Our parents both have very thick accents. My grandmother (when she was alive) had such a thick accent that sometimes I honestly had no idea what she had just said, and I hear similar from the older generations pretty often. My brother and I were both born and raised in Murfreesboro. Two of my coworkers are from Springfield, and are younger than my brother, and they both have considerably heavier accents than either of us. My uncle was born and raised in Smyrna, but he married a woman from Northern Virginia, which is where he's lived for a good 25+ years, and to my Tennessee ears he doesn't seem to have any trace of a Southern accent now. I think it has a lot to do with the accents (or lack of) you hear on a regular basis. Younger generations watch more television, where they hear people with no specific accent, and if they live in larger towns or cities they are more likely to hear non-Southern accents fairly often.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:39 AM
Location: Middle, TN
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It feels alil' code out t'nite .. I notice it more in my ode age.

Common in Cannon & DeKalb. Just the way some fokes talk in these parts. Wouldn't change 'em if I could, I'm one of 'em, lol. Lotta good ole fokes that'll bend over baccerd fer other fokes if they think they need innyhelp at'tall.

Oh,an lemme tell ya'll boutmy dog t'day. That durno thing dropped an ole chewed-up groun-hog on my back steps .. ann-I bout near tripped over-it.

Think I'll walk in der to the fridge and grab wonna dem der code-drinks and sip onnit awhile. Ya'll havva good nite, whats left of-it

Last edited by RS-1080; 11-02-2009 at 01:19 AM..
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:16 PM
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 14,187,609 times
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Originally Posted by RS-1080 View Post
It feels alil' code out t'nite .. I notice it more in my ode age.
You've got that accent down PAT. Always remember to leave out the "L" if it's anywhere but the beginning of the word.

Skoo = school
Code = cold
Ode = old
Gode = gold

Also take note: "Month" is kind of pronounced "munt". And "ya'll" isn't spoken the way it's spelled. It's "Yaw".
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:13 PM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I haven't read the whole thread so forgive me if I'm repeating something already posted.

I have many friends from England and other parts of the UK. Geographically, it's not that much bigger than TN. (I dunno...maybe it's even smaller. I was absent the day they taught geography.) Anyway, there are a lot of different accents within England. Natives can pick out which exactly area you are from...lots of foreigners can't tell English accents from Australian accents.

Some people try to break themselves of their accents...but I've noticed that if you get a few beers in them...it comes right back! I also know that if I go home for more than a couple days I practically sound Canadian.

My son had to take a class in college called Non-Regional Diction. Basically they taught everyone to sound like they were from Nebraska so they were virtually accent-free.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:18 PM
Location: Seattle
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The fact that England/the islands have such pronounced accents in a time of increasingly solidified "accentless" populations (ie standard English, standard Australian) correlates to having such a long history, most of which occurred in a period of very strong immobility. This tended to persuade people to stay in close local areas, and over time regionally diverse accents formed. (Though now, of course, these dialects are converging or dying out. Interestingly, though, in England, new accents are being created by quickly mixing socio-ethnic groups in intensely urban settings [Google London English].)

Comparatively, the English-speaking population of the United States has only been here (en masse) since 1740-50.

It's the same here - notice the areas who have developed (and mostly maintained) strong accents were very early settlements (Boston, New York, Virginia Piedmont/Tidewater, Charleston, New Orleans) and/or those who "endured" longer histories of immobility (the aforementioned due to early settlement; Appalachian/mountain culture due to increased poverty and thus inability to purchase mobility for longer).

The West, which was settled relatively quickly much later in our nation's history, using stock from all over, has retained little accent; it developed majorly in an era of railroad, then the car, unlike the horse and wagons of old, and in the time of radio and TV.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:50 AM
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It's not stereotyping to suggest that there is a link between blue collar people and southern accents and professional people and more general American accents- the sad fact is that people are expected to lose their accent to get many professional jobs where they might have to be dealing with other offices in the North. A strong accent is perceived as unprofessional and making one sound like a "hick". Obviously that's not fair but it's the case nonetheless. Blue collar people don't necessarily face that same pressure to lose the accent. Furthermore the aristocratic drawl is dying out with that generation of people who spoke it and southern accents are getting diluted as more Northerners are moving into Southern cities.
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:12 AM
Location: Macon, GA
1,908 posts, read 4,035,077 times
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Originally Posted by Miami305Kid View Post
Also there are urban area accents like Atlanta or New Orleans that start to lose their southern quality and have distrinct sounds.
I dont know about that part. New Orleans Vs. Northern Louisiana, there's a difference in accent. I wouldn't say native Metro Atlantans sound so much different than most other Georgians though.
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TXRyan23 View Post
I lived in Florida for like 16 years and had the typical northern accent and moved to Tennessee for about a year. Went back to Florida and ended up having to work at a call-center, the woman that was the manager there was fromt NJ and actually told me that I wasn't cut out for telemarketing because no one would buy anything from someone with a hillbilly accent.

at first I was pissed off, then I was like, omg, I've got a Tennessee accent..

Personally, I think it's just who you're around alot, friends, co-workers, ect, ect. people subconciensly just pick things up.
You're right. A cousin of my wife moved to Australia, and she now sounds like an Australian, four years after moving to Australia.
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