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Old 03-21-2008, 09:37 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Hi,

Can someone please tell me what are the origins of the southern US accent. The more I hear, the more it sounds Irish to a certain extent.

 
Old 03-22-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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I'm no expert but the area was settled by Scots, Irish and English.
 
Old 03-22-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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If you look back to Nov.2007 , you'll find a thread "How'd We Loose Our English Accent?" It is quite interesting and will probably answer your question
 
Old 03-22-2008, 12:21 PM
 
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It is an interesting thread but lol a lot of FYI to absorb.

A thorough review of the origins of the English language would be in order.

Instead I plan to reread Bill Bryson's --'The Mother Tongue'

Review: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
 
Old 03-24-2008, 08:08 AM
 
594 posts, read 1,778,689 times
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Default Southern Accent

According to the book, The Story of English, Black English played a large role in the development of what we call the Southern accent. This is a delicate subject among some Southerners, but nevertheless an historical fact. A paragraph from page 215 of The Story of English explains:

"The plantations of the deep South became the cradle of a new ingredient in American culture. The English of the slaves was having a decisive effect on the English of their White Anglo-Saxon masters. The Southern accent of the United States would almost certainly have been quite different without the influence of the Blacks. The influence of Black English was felt in the fields (where slave and overseer would mix), in the house (where master and mistress used Plantation Creole to communicate with their house slaves); but above all, it was found in the nursery. Up to the age of about six years, Black and White children grew up together, played together, and learned together. In these crucial years of their development the Whites were often outnumbered by the Black slave children. Furthermore, all the nursing -- as any reader of Southern literature knows -- was done by Blacks. As early as the mid-eighteenth century, it was reported that, 'the better sort, in this country, particularly, consign their children to the care of Negroes ...'"

Interestingly, English author Charles Dickens, while on an American tour, noticed that Southern women were most influenced by Black English.The reason for this was that young Southern women more often stayed on the plantations, while the young men of well-to-do families "were usually sent away to White schools, often in the Northern states."

There are probably other reasons for the assimilation of Black English in Southern speech, but the close intermingling of Blacks with Whites in the South certainly was an important factor. I recall some friends who were assigned jobs in Australia for about three years. They and their children returned with definite Aussie accents at the end of their tour, proving that we often pick up the speech patterns of our environment. It remained with them for quite sometime. Like the American Indian, Blacks made important contributions to enrich our language.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 08:30 AM
 
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John, Very interesting...as a matter of fact.. I have that book! It's kind of in my stack of "I gotta read this someday" will put it up closer to the top!!
 
Old 03-24-2008, 09:34 AM
 
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Well, it's an amalgam of Scots/Irish and black patois.

However, Southerners tend to cling to some older verb forms of the English language, especially irregular verbs.

This isn't the case as much anymore, but three decades ago, you could go up into the Appalachians of North Carolina and Virginia and hear a lot of speech that resembled nothing so much as the English of the Elizabethan era. My linguistics professor conducted a research project on that very subject.
 
Old 03-24-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, it's an amalgam of Scots/Irish and black patois.

However, Southerners tend to cling to some older verb forms of the English language, especially irregular verbs.

This isn't the case as much anymore, but three decades ago, you could go up into the Appalachians of North Carolina and Virginia and hear a lot of speech that resembled nothing so much as the English of the Elizabethan era. My linguistics professor conducted a research project on that very subject.
That is what I inferred from the discussion in the linked thread.
 
Old 03-25-2008, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Western Cary, NC
4,348 posts, read 7,356,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, it's an amalgam of Scots/Irish and black patois.

However, Southerners tend to cling to some older verb forms of the English language, especially irregular verbs.

This isn't the case as much anymore, but three decades ago, you could go up into the Appalachians of North Carolina and Virginia and hear a lot of speech that resembled nothing so much as the English of the Elizabethan era. My linguistics professor conducted a research project on that very subject.
There is an area in eastern NC called CrusoeIsland where the Indian population seems to have an English accent also. Many in the region think it may be related to the Lost Colony. I also think the old time natives in the area North of Morehead City have an English accent. We call them Down Easters. Both cultures were somewhat closed until the last few decades. I think CrusoeIsland is still closed to the outside.
 
Old 03-27-2008, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in Flyover country
531 posts, read 1,744,113 times
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The Appalachian accent is different than the coastal and deep Southern accent. There was less black influence(fewer plantations in the mountain regions) so the accent sounds a little closer to an Irish or Scottish accent. When immigrants came over in the late 1800's and early 1900's to work in the mines of Kentucky , western Virginia and West Virginia they picked up the Appalachian accent as well.
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