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Old 03-18-2009, 07:41 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I'm interested, predominantly from where and when did it originate? Also, how did the stereotypical southern accent change over time?

Prior to country music becoming such a huge influence, it seems split between hillybillies like the Beverly Hillybillies, and the genteel drawl of the Virginias and the Delta folk. From the 50s it seemed to shift west, from Alabama, Tennessee, northern MS, Arkansas and eastern Texas. Now it seems to have moved into Oklahoma too. Presently, it seems to exclude the eastern southern range; the Carolinas and Virginia.

Which cities/regions do you think have most speakers who speak the stereotypical southern accent (not necessarily the MOST or most authentic southern)? I think Memphis, Dallas, Jackson and Montgomery are possibly the cities where the southern spoken is quite 'generic' and not as regional as say Richmond, Charleston or New Orleans.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Memphis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I'm interested, predominantly from where and when did it originate? Also, how did the stereotypical southern accent change over time?

Prior to country music becoming such a huge influence, it seems split between hillybillies like the Beverly Hillybillies, and the genteel drawl of the Virginias and the Delta folk. From the 50s it seemed to shift west, from Alabama, Tennessee, northern MS, Arkansas and eastern Texas. Now it seems to have moved into Oklahoma too. Presently, it seems to exclude the eastern southern range; the Carolinas and Virginia.

Which cities/regions do you think have most speakers who speak the stereotypical southern accent (not necessarily the MOST or most authentic southern)? I think Memphis, Dallas, Jackson and Montgomery are possibly the cities where the southern spoken is quite 'generic' and not as regional as say Richmond, Charleston or New Orleans.
I belive that the reason some states like florida, North Carolina, Virginia maybe lose some of their accent is because people from up north are moving there. But I don't know. Just a guess.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:15 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by redwine View Post
I belive that the reason some states like florida, North Carolina, Virginia maybe lose some of their accent is because people from up north are moving there. But I don't know. Just a guess.
Yes, that's true too, but I mean their original accent...like the Tidewater, is no longer the type you hear much in country music, or in crass shows like 'My Name is Earl' or even Jerry Springer. Most Jerry Springer guests come from Texas, Oklahoma.etc - the more 'hick' end of the South.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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Tough to answer the question of where you find THE Southern accent, because there are many Southern accents, just as there are many accents in the North. I'm not sure that any one Southern accent can be said to represent the entire region any more than any one of the accents of Noo Yohwk or Bahstin, or the nasally accent found in parts of the upper Midwest is THE accent of the North.

Regarding the question of where Southern accents came from, I once read here at CD that the basic characteristics that sound typically Southern are similar to English accents at the time the Brits settled this country. According to that person, the English accent has changed, while the older English accent in the southeastern region of the U.S. has undergone less change over that time. I don't recall who provided this information, and of course I have no idea whether that person was knowledegeable on the subject. He also did not go into detail about why the accent has changed more in the U.K. than in the U.S. over the past two or three centuries. It's an interesting possibility, however. It does seem that you can hear vestiges of an English accent in areas such as the Tidewater, as well as much of Jawjuh. Any real accent that resembles the stereotype of a Southern gentleman's speech sounds a little British here and there ("suh" for "sir" being an example).

Of course there are other influences. I get the sense that I can detect some French influence in the New Orleans accent. Then there are the hillbillies spoken of in the original post. White Appalachian people are largely of Scotch-Irish ancestry. You can notice a definite vestige of a brogue in their accent, as in "bahr" for "bear."

Trimac, I'm wondering about something: I think I saw one of your posts a couple of days ago in which you siad you would likely prefer to live in New England, among regions of the U.S., yet a lot of your questions are about the South. I kind of wonder why that is. Not criticizing, but just curious. Anyway, interesting stuff here. Language can be fascinating. Good topic.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Most Jerry Springer guests come from Texas, Oklahoma.etc - the more 'hick' end of the South.
Aw, thanks!


I have no idea how the stereotypical southern accent has changed, but I'm interested in reading the replies here. Sorry I couldn't be of any help, ya'll!
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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Good post Ogre. I'll start of by saying that at one time most of the South had speakers who didn't or couldn't pronounce their r's and this was due to that English, Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish, folks from the UK and also Africans; you can find non-rhotic Southerners in Northern Virginia, South Eastern Virginia, the coast of North Carolina, the Charleston/Savannah areas of South Carolina and Georgia. You also can find the R droppers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwestern Georgia. The Southern dialect that you want to hear does have a little UK in it mixed with African and Amerindian. Take the letter "I" for example, in the South this letter usually takes on an "ah" sound instead of the "eye" sound (a quick "ah", don't extend it), time is tahme, mine is mahne, ride is rahde. I have another example (I'm trying to pull it up), and the Atlantans will know what I'm talking about on here; on our local radio there's a commercial with a British guy advertising a mortgage company on 750 and he sounds extremely Southern when he says the word "five", it's like he's saying Fahve, Fahve. Every now and then I'll slip out an ah sound depending on the person that I'm conversing with.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:57 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
Tough to answer the question of where you find THE Southern accent, because there are many Southern accents, just as there are many accents in the North. I'm not sure that any one Southern accent can be said to represent the entire region any more than any one of the accents of Noo Yohwk or Bahstin, or the nasally accent found in parts of the upper Midwest is THE accent of the North.

Regarding the question of where Southern accents came from, I once read here at CD that the basic characteristics that sound typically Southern are similar to English accents at the time the Brits settled this country. According to that person, the English accent has changed, while the older English accent in the southeastern region of the U.S. has undergone less change over that time. I don't recall who provided this information, and of course I have no idea whether that person was knowledegeable on the subject. He also did not go into detail about why the accent has changed more in the U.K. than in the U.S. over the past two or three centuries. It's an interesting possibility, however. It does seem that you can hear vestiges of an English accent in areas such as the Tidewater, as well as much of Jawjuh. Any real accent that resembles the stereotype of a Southern gentleman's speech sounds a little British here and there ("suh" for "sir" being an example).

Of course there are other influences. I get the sense that I can detect some French influence in the New Orleans accent. Then there are the hillbillies spoken of in the original post. White Appalachian people are largely of Scotch-Irish ancestry. You can notice a definite vestige of a brogue in their accent, as in "bahr" for "bear."

Trimac, I'm wondering about something: I think I saw one of your posts a couple of days ago in which you siad you would likely prefer to live in New England, among regions of the U.S., yet a lot of your questions are about the South. I kind of wonder why that is. Not criticizing, but just curious. Anyway, interesting stuff here. Language can be fascinating. Good topic.
Hi Ogre, nice response, I'm fascinated by linguistics too, as you have probably guessed, lol

I think at one time there were many distinctive, Southern accents, but I do sense a homogenizing of the Southern accent throughout the south. The regional ones are still there but mostly spoken by olDER folk, and in rural areas. The 'common southern', I think, is roughly like the Tennessee accent and the rhotic one you hear in country music. A 'twang' rather than a 'drawl'. As someone mentioned in another thread, more Reba McIntyre than Patsy Cline. It seems to me that in places like the Delta or Atlanta the 'classy' accent is dying out and being replaced by the one most Americans associate with rednecks.

It's also interesting to see how one can trace an accent or dialect to the original colonial settlers. I'm aware the Pilgrims came from the Northeast of the country, and some of their says - like the way they say the 'i' sound as 'fahve' have remained, as have many other American pronunciations. The settlers in Australia were mostly from the Southeast so Aussie sounds most like cockney. I.e. 'i' sounds like 'oi' instead of 'ah'.

I'm a great admirer of the south, btw, but am of course aware of it's history. Still I don't think you can keep holding it against it; every country has commited evils, and we don't get onto living together if we don't let go of grudges. We still, of course, should acknowledge those events in history. The main reason I probably wouldn't want to live in the South is climate more than anything; I dislike hot, humid summers and muggy summer nights. Although I could live in say Asheville or somewhere in the mountains. I think it's a beautiful place with an underrated and interesting culture and (for all its criticism) an interesting history.

My interest in living in New England is more to do with the natural beauty of the place and proximity to the big centres - the South is as beautiful in parts too, but I like the European feel of New England. It's still a bit ahead of the South in terms of urban planning, putting pedestrians ahead of cars.etc. All in all, it looks and sounds like a great place to live!
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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The southern accent varies a great deal from state to state, and from regions within each state. It also has huge variations between urban and rural residents...mountain and coastal residents...educated and uneducated residents...etc.

North Carolina, for example, has very distinct regional accents. Western N.C. is extremely different from Eastern N.C. The Piedmont region, including Charlotte/Winston-Salem/Greensboro/Raleigh/Durham is probably the least pronounced accent, and it's very different from the accents in the Coastal Plains region that includes Greenville/Wilson/Goldsboro/Fayetteville/etc. There is also a unique coastal accent that is very similar to coastal fishing villages in New England. So...that is a very rough overview of the distinct accents from ONE southern state. Point - there is no "southern accent" that covers every area of the South...much as there is no "Australian accent" that covers all areas of Australia. It varies from region to region and also between subregions, and the accents are very different from one another.

By the way...the South's history is U.S. history. Every state had slave owners...every state allowed slavery...there was much discrimination and prejudice in every state...for that matter - every country around the world. The southern U.S. is no worse or evil than the rest of the world. Jeez.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:30 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,171,395 times
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^ Actually if you came to Oz and expected a variety of accents in different places like in America you'd be dissapointed. There are pretty slight regional variations, but the biggest is by socio-economics, age and gender. Hence you'll find more variety WITHIN say, the Sydney metro, than between inner city Sydney and inner city Perth.

And of course, every human population is as liable to be evil as any other. I don't think Southerners are at heart more racist or evil than anyone else, which is why it seems the redneck stereotype is worse than what racism that does go on in the South.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
^ Actually if you came to Oz and expected a variety of accents in different places like in America you'd be dissapointed. There are pretty slight regional variations, but the biggest is by socio-economics, age and gender. Hence you'll find more variety WITHIN say, the Sydney metro, than between inner city Sydney and inner city Perth.

And of course, every human population is as liable to be evil as any other. I don't think Southerners are at heart more racist or evil than anyone else, which is why it seems the redneck stereotype is worse than what racism that does go on in the South.
Racism knows no boundaries...neither does ignorance - which I equate with redneckery.

Of course southerners aren't "more racist" than anyone else...people are individuals everywhere you go. The region of residence or silly stereotypes definitely don't help determine individual views...those are formed from an individual's experiences, which normally are both within and outside of his region.
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