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Old 03-10-2009, 07:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinny View Post
The black folks in New Orleans have the most unique Southern accent to me. When you hear them talk, you can tell immediately that they're from New Orleans. The Geechie folks in Florida and Southeast GA sound like they're from New Orleans too. For example, instead of saying "out here" it's "outchea". The native hood/black folks in Florida have strong Southern drawls too. Rappers like Plies, Trick Daddy,Frank Lini,etc. (all from South FLorida) have some of the thickest southern drawls in the genre.
After Katrina, we had a bunch of black folks transfer to our high school from New Orleans. They did have very a interesting accent that reminded me of people from the Caribbean.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
After Katrina, we had a bunch of black folks transfer to our high school from New Orleans. They did have very a interesting accent that reminded me of people from the Caribbean.
Their accent seems to be a mix between northern and southern. I've notice people in Houston (mainly girls) have that little squeaky/scratchy voice.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:24 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Summers View Post
This really depends on what metro area/county you're in and to be honest here there are only 5 metro counties (Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, and DeKalb). Some of the others (Henry for example) does have some country sounding folks but the more populated counties does have the pleasant sounding Southern accents. Do you agree or disagree?
If you encounter a pronounced Southern accent in Atlanta, then you are likely talking to a person whose origins are from somewhere else in the South. True Atlanta natives (and I happen to be one) have barely discernible accents...my father was also a native, and he doesn't. My mother was from coastal GA, and she had a lovely accent.
I think two good points were made on this thread...the accent is going to be more pronounced as you move from urban to rural (less adulteration from other regions), and (as Richmonder pointed out) your caste (lower/middle/upper class) is also going to have bearing on your accent as well.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
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In my opinion, it's Alabama. Haven't really heard a Mississippi accent in person, so this is just going by what I've heard in person from different people I know/met in the south. My dad's coworker/friend came with his mom to my parents' house for Christmas dinner. They're from Birmingham. Oh my goodness, their accents were reaaalllyyyy thick. Thicker than my friends' accents, and they're from outside Atlanta and Little Rock.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I know it's a general question because there are lots of southern accents, but people generally agree which accents sound southern and which do not. It got me wondering, you would expect the strongest to be in the deep south, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. The Appalachians, for example, are more untouched by modern America. Anyway, depending on demographic characteristics
You said it yourself. It depends more on demographic characteristics. Nowadays you can easily find young girls from the deepest south whose southern accent is hardly audible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutre View Post
This happens to a lot of accents that are stigmatized. The southern accent in America carries a significant load, which is why it is avoided when people are trying to sound "neutral" or educated.
The shift towards weaker southern accent is more prevalent among the younger generations, females, and jobs that are not "outdoorsy" as jacksonian puts it.
This phenomenon is observable also in other countries (and other languages). Interestingly it is often a north-south divide.
People from southern Germany more readily lose their southern accent when they move to the North (not the other way around).
Someone from northern England are more likely to "neutralize" their accent than someone from southern England.
Etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonian View Post
Another variable is occupation. In my experience, jobs that are more centered around the southern culture, like farming, forestry, almost anything outdoors, etc tend to have a higher percentage of stronger southern accents. Offices with desk jobs are the opposite. My dad is a forester and has a strong southern accent. I, on the other hand, sit at a computer desk 80-90% of the time, and although I still have a southern accent, it is not anywhere near like my father's, except when I am around him for a while, and then my accent gets stronger like his. It's an odd spectacle.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I know it's a general question because there are lots of southern accents, but people generally agree which accents sound southern and which do not. It got me wondering, you would expect the strongest to be in the deep south, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. The Appalachians, for example, are more untouched by modern America. Anyway, depending on demographic characteristics, i think the accent is most pronounced in the following areas:

Parts of the Ohio river valley, like southern OH and northwest KY
Older speakers in the Virginia Piedmont
Most of southern West Virginia
Most rural areas of the Appalachians from Virginia
Mountainous Tennessee such as the Great Smokey Mountains
most of Alabama and Mississippi
southern Oklahoma, central Texas
rural Arkansas and northern Louisiana

The accent seems to be weakest in certain parts of Texas like Houston and Dallas, Atlanta, much of North Carolina, northern and coastal Virginia. Of course many areas never had a strong southern accent to begin with, like far south Texas, New Orleans or Florida.

Anyway this is from someone who's never even been to America, so maybe those who know first hand can add?

now, if you're talking about Brooklyn, NY vs. Columbia, SC, then geography is going to be the primary determinant of accent or dialect.

If you're talking about Baton Rouge, LA vs. Columbia, SC, even though these two cities are far apart, you will find that social class is the biggest determinant of a person's accent. Social class is also notoriously difficult to measure.

I don't know why this is, exactly. I find that your "garden variety working class white southerner" sounds very similar no matter where you are, Charleston, Mobile, Nashville, or Dallas. The accent sounds like what you hear in most "modern" country/trash music, very twangy to my ear, influenced by Texas and Appalachia. It almost seems to defy geography. It may be that this demographic is very mobile -- higher social classes typically own tracts of land, and have social connections, that preclude them from needing to pick up and relocate to another state for work.

The unique regional differences are most noticable among people older than ~50 years old or so, who are of middle-to-higher social classes in rural areas. As you go younger, poorer, or more suburban, it all starts to sound more or less the same across the south.

Last edited by le roi; 03-01-2010 at 06:20 AM..
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
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People from Georgia, Tennesse, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina have the strongest accents. I met one girl from South Georgia and her accent sounded so exaggerated that everyone though she was joking, but she really sounded that southern; it was unreal lol. Honestly, people from Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas do sound pretty southern; they just speak more proper. Listen to people like Beyonce (Houston) or Monica (Atlanta). They definately from the south.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:18 AM
 
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really i think it has more to do with rural vs. urban. urban areas in the south often have newscaster english. everyone ive met from atlanta talks standard american practically (although someone in michigan probably could notice a southern drawl on them), but to me they just sound like general american with a lot of yalls thrown in.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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South Alabama -- hands down
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le roi View Post
now, if you're talking about Brooklyn, NY vs. Columbia, SC, then geography is going to be the primary determinant of accent or dialect.

If you're talking about Baton Rouge, LA vs. Columbia, SC, even though these two cities are far apart, you will find that social class is the biggest determinant of a person's accent. Social class is also notoriously difficult to measure.

I don't know why this is, exactly. I find that your "garden variety working class white southerner" sounds very similar no matter where you are, Charleston, Mobile, Nashville, or Dallas. The accent sounds like what you hear in most "modern" country/trash music, very twangy to my ear, influenced by Texas and Appalachia. It almost seems to defy geography. It may be that this demographic is very mobile -- higher social classes typically own tracts of land, and have social connections, that preclude them from needing to pick up and relocate to another state for work.

The unique regional differences are most noticable among people older than ~50 years old or so, who are of middle-to-higher social classes in rural areas. As you go younger, poorer, or more suburban, it all starts to sound more or less the same across the south.
That's an interesting observation concerning the classes. I've always thought it was the opposite (that lower class people have stronger accents).
But, assuming what you said is true, it does make sense. People of lower classes are probably more likely to put an effort on speaking "more properly" a.k.a. with a less noticeable accent, whereas people of higher classes don't see the need to change anything about their accent, thus it is more likely to remain distinct.
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