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Old 11-22-2007, 06:19 PM
7,099 posts, read 27,192,866 times
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The Coastal Low country in the South USA also has the influence of Gullah. Which is sort of a english mixed with african. The people that spoke Gullah lived on the isolated barrier islands off the southern coast.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:36 PM
Status: " Charleston South Carolina" (set 11 days ago)
Location: home...finally, home .
8,816 posts, read 21,288,785 times
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Even in my lifetime (old as I am), American's speech patterns have changed. Listen to some of the movies that were made in the '30s and the '40s. There was a courtliness almost about some people's speech that we just do not have anymore.

We do not have those old New York accents (I live on Toidy toid and Toid) any longer either. Literally no one tawks like dat anymore .
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:35 PM
Location: Alabama!
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Originally Posted by internat View Post
Chavs speak like that.
"Chavs" = ???
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:06 AM
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 4,151,534 times
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Originally Posted by Southlander View Post
"Chavs" = ???
Chav - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:55 PM
Status: " Charleston South Carolina" (set 11 days ago)
Location: home...finally, home .
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CHAVS ~~~~~~ , Southlander, I didn't know what that was either.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:55 PM
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I've been thinking for quite some time about how American English has evolved over the past three centuries. Questions such as, "What did George Washington sound like?", and such. The more I study this subject, the more I seem to be finding that it wasn't the American version of English that changed so much as it was the more posh versions of British English. A case in point is the late Ray Hicks of Beech Mountain, NC. Beech Mtn. is a rather isolated high mountain community located very close to Tennessee, and folks have been living there since the mid-1700's when this part of the world was considered the far west or frontier. Ray was quite famous for having what linguists say is the closest speech to Elizabethan English that exists in North America. His family, like many in this region came to this country from England in the early to late 1700's, as did mine. Many of them were literally stuck in a cultural time-warp until the late 20th century.

These poor mountain folk were unbelievably isolated until the 1940's. These high mountain areas had non-existent roads until the mid 20th century and towns were small and widely spaced apart, with most more aptly termed villages. Folks "raised" everything they needed with the exception of things like sugar, coffee, fine cloth, shoes, gunpowder and bullets. Folks might come to town out of their mountain hollows (hollers) once or twice a year until taxation on property forced them to the county seats at least once a year. Their customs, language, culture and way of life was in a time warp not duplicated except in perhaps the equivalent of the Islamic cultures of the middle east. Ray Hicks had such a lifestyle. He was 6'7", which was pretty much a giant in this part of the world and he lived in a log cabin in what we would call abject poverty, as they had no bathrooms, central heating, electric lights or other modern amenities until quite recently. Due to the isolation of the mountain area, his language style was such that he was noted for his telling of the ancient "jack tales" from hundreds of years ago. His speech is so close to "old English" that he was featured on Robert McNeil's PBS series 'The Story of English'. In 1983, he received the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Though his distaste for traveling limited his public exposure, Ray appeared in a number of film documentaries and was profiled in The New Yorker magazine. The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN gave Ray an open invitation to tell the jack tales for the remainder of his life. The moral of the story is that Ray Hicks sounds like English used to sound a couple of three hundred years ago and the British developed a different and some say a more posh version for the upper-crust (RP) in the meantime. Seriously, the variety of English accents in the British countryside vary so much even today that often times, different regions can't understand each other. At least in America, we can understand most everyone if they're native born speakers. Here's another thing to chomp on: England and Scotland are only about the size of North Carolina!

Look up more info about the late Ray Hicks, he was a real national treasure:

Ray Hicks: Master Storyteller of the Blue Ridge, by Robert Isbell. Chapter 1.
Ray and Orville Hicks Bibliography
Storyteller Connie Regan-Blake - Asheville, North Carolina
Ray Hicks Home Page

Please folks, please don't confuse mountain English with "southern" dialect. There are many linguistic differences and for many reasons. This is not the land of Y'all as in the deep south of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. In fact, the northern mountains of GA used to have a lot of the old-time mountain folks until a couple of generations ago. Folks in the isolated mountain areas of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina sound different than the rest of the country except isolated coastal areas of northeastern VA and MD. This is perhaps the closest to what the colonists and most common British folks used to sound like a couple of hundred years ago. Their manner of speech should not to be disparaged but rather treasured. This is how most of us sounded around the time of independence. I feel a bit of pride from Ray as my my ancestral family lived until recently in the isolated area of Pumpkin Valley (Eidson), TN and I have no problem understanding the old folks that are unfortunately pretty much all deceased now. Many of the words and phrases that they used or ways of saying things are quite different than "city" talk but yet have real relevance. A couple of excellent books by the late John Parris, a writer for the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, shows what real mountain culture was like a couple of generations ago. His books, "Mountain Bred" and "Roaming The Mountains" should be considered as treasures at least as much as the Firefox series of books has been. To dismiss these people as hicks or hillbillies is an insult beyond comprehension.

Last edited by maui4me; 11-29-2007 at 12:25 AM..
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:46 AM
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Interesting thread although it seems to have deviated away from the main premise. I have often wondered why Australia, NZ and South Africa have accents, that while obviously not English (as in the UK) anymore, are still much closer than those of the USA and Canada.

Muai4me brings up an interesting example of what American English used to sound like. I have heard of those regions and read that those as well the old timers on the Outer Banks and Bostonians speak what's left of Elizabethean English in America.

But why did ours and Canada deviate differently than Australia and New Zealand?
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:00 PM
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The difference in accent can be quite dramatic over a very short distance between Canada and the U.S. For example the difference in the accents between Niagara Falls Ontario and Niagara Falls N.Y., which are only separated by one short bridge is remarkable. Same thing goes for Windsor/Detroit and Fort Erie/Buffalo...I find it astonishing.
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:19 PM
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I don't doubt it. I grew up in Washington, DC. My aunts and uncles grew up a mere 10 minute drive away in Bethesda, MD and have different accents than I.

Nonetheless, the array of Canadian and American accents are still more similiar than not and both are drastically different than Australia and NZ.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:14 PM
Location: Log home in the Appalachians
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And here I am a native Marylander living in southeastern Ohio and still trying to figure out what a youins is, the first time I heard that word I thought it was something that crawled up out of a krick somewhere, and for the life of me I still can't get use to a chili dog being called a Coney, and folks up here don't know how to eat their barbecue sandwiches right, they don't put coleslaw on them.
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