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Old 09-18-2009, 10:03 AM
 
518 posts, read 1,321,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpterp View Post
Since just before the Civil War Maryland has transformed itself probably more than any other state on the East Coast (except maybe FL), and this has rapidly changed the state's cultural balance. Maryland's unofficial nickname is "America in Miniature" because there are so many different cultures packed into such a small state. Also, there is no definite border between North and South that as soon as you cross it you'll see a remarkable difference. In my opinion though the change from South to North begins in Fredericksburg on I-95, and I've heard many other people say that.

So how do we decide where to classify Maryland? Obviously "Mid-Atlantic is satisfying anybody, since the definition wildly varies. Well, since the culture is so different, and since everybody has had different experiences influencing their opinion of whether the state is Southern or not, and as some said who dominates who shouldn't be a factor we should through out everone's personal experiences and go to paper. Cold, hard facts. Does Maryland share more with the Northeast or with the South? I've posted these many times before but here we go again.

Since this post is too long (feels like writing an essay ) I'll put the "facts" in another post...
I am not a fan of the "shrinking South theory" which can be argued in terms of current demographic trends and other facts: political party affiliation, wealth, ethnicity, transportation infrastructure, etc. Based on just such an argument, I've heard far too often that Florida is no longer Southern, or Atlanta is no longer Southern, or DC or Richmond are no longer Southern, etc... It does little to explain the culture and heritage of a region, while it simply provides a cursory and convenient description of a place for some.

The South is changing, especially in more urban areas, and in regions close to the northeast (namely parts of Maryland and Virginia). But I don't believe that changing trends, habits or customs (Glendening's tobacco farmer buyout program, the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Baltimore, the suburban sprawl of Southern Maryland, etc) should dictate a change in an area's cultural identity. The South can evolve, and the traits that will develop may not be so distinctly "Southern," but to call a region what it is not, i.e. "Northern," or "Yankee" etc, I believe is wrong. And most multi-generational Marylanders, will always consider themselves Southern in the more traditional sense, while the overall culture may change.

Also, while the MD state song may sound antiquated and vitriolic to some, how can anyone call it Northern, when it's song reads "She spurns the Northern scum."

And your earlier comment, where you write that St. Mary's county is not Southern in terms of its heritage, is patently false (I was a bit shocked to read that). Having studied the the history of the Colonial South in college, I can confidently say that it developed along the same lines as the rest of Southern Maryland and Tidewater Virginia.

When I was in high school about ten years ago, I took part in an activity at Chopticon High School in St. Mary's county (I went to a high school in Northern Va). In terms of dialect, there could not have been a more "Southern Sounding" group of kids. The Tidewater dialect here was far stronger than that of Hampton Roads, and other parts of Tidewater Virginia.

Last edited by irvine; 09-18-2009 at 11:17 AM..

 
Old 09-18-2009, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,271 posts, read 8,504,913 times
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The northern part of Maryland is considered part of the Midland dialectal region. It is distinctely different than the Northern dialect, spoken in the the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes region, New York, and New England.

The Midland dialect is considered the "standard" dialect for the U.S. Maryland's version of the Midland dialect is a bit different than the Nebraska or Kansas version, which is what you would call "TV" English though.
 
Old 09-18-2009, 11:06 AM
 
518 posts, read 1,321,384 times
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Default Some dialect maps are not terribly accurate (often based on incomplete fieldwork)

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
The northern part of Maryland is considered part of the Midland dialectal region. It is distinctely different than the Northern dialect, spoken in the the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes region, New York, and New England.

The Midland dialect is considered the "standard" dialect for the U.S. Maryland's version of the Midland dialect is a bit different than the Nebraska or Kansas version, which is what you would call "TV" English though.
I actually did a demographic study on the region in college as part of a linguistics course. I knew that a few prominent linguistic studies and dialect maps placed the Midland dialect in northern Maryland (and there were those that didn't), but based on personal experience growing up in the region (VA/MD), and with family in the area since the 1800s, I knew many of these studies were not terribly accurate.

I wrote a long thesis that strongly placed the "Virginia Piedmont Dialect" in central Maryland on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and, yes, intermixed with the Midland dialect of Central Pennsylvania. So there is no hard border, and what developed, one could argue, is a mix of Virginia Piedmont and Midland speech. The dialect in central Maryland (i.e. north of Baltimore or just south of PA) however, loses some of the Va Piedmont characteristics, and often sounds "generic Southern." But it still falls within the Va Peidmont dialect map.

Last edited by irvine; 09-18-2009 at 11:20 AM..
 
Old 09-18-2009, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,271 posts, read 8,504,913 times
Reputation: 3718
Facinating, Irvine. I would love to read it if you still had it. PM me if you are interested.

Either way, I would be interested to know what dialectal traits you used in making your determination. Some of the key traits of the Midland dialect like the "need washed" construction, "fronted long o" and the dark velar "l" are found in the central and northern part of Maryland. In contrast the defining feature of the Southern dialects (as defined by Labov) the monophthongization of "long i" before obstruents and the "short e"/"short i" merger (pin = pen) are not present in northern maryland.

I agree though that the dialects slowly transition into each other, and even cultured native speaker in Northern Maryland will monophthongization "long i" in certain circumstances.
 
Old 09-18-2009, 02:18 PM
 
542 posts, read 1,326,457 times
Reputation: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
I am not a fan of the "shrinking South theory" which can be argued in terms of current demographic trends and other facts: political party affiliation, wealth, ethnicity, transportation infrastructure, etc. Based on just such an argument, I've heard far too often that Florida is no longer Southern, or Atlanta is no longer Southern, or DC or Richmond are no longer Southern, etc... It does little to explain the culture and heritage of a region, while it simply provides a cursory and convenient description of a place for some.

The South is changing, especially in more urban areas, and in regions close to the northeast (namely parts of Maryland and Virginia). But I don't believe that changing trends, habits or customs (Glendening's tobacco farmer buyout program, the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Baltimore, the suburban sprawl of Southern Maryland, etc) should dictate a change in an area's cultural identity. The South can evolve, and the traits that will develop may not be so distinctly "Southern," but to call a region what it is not, i.e. "Northern," or "Yankee" etc, I believe is wrong. And most multi-generational Marylanders, will always consider themselves Southern in the more traditional sense, while the overall culture may change.

Also, while the MD state song may sound antiquated and vitriolic to some, how can anyone call it Northern, when it's song reads "She spurns the Northern scum."

And your earlier comment, where you write that St. Mary's county is not Southern in terms of its heritage, is patently false (I was a bit shocked to read that). Having studied the the history of the Colonial South in college, I can confidently say that it developed along the same lines as the rest of Southern Maryland and Tidewater Virginia.

When I was in high school about ten years ago, I took part in an activity at Chopticon High School in St. Mary's county (I went to a high school in Northern Va). In terms of dialect, there could not have been a more "Southern Sounding" group of kids. The Tidewater dialect here was far stronger than that of Hampton Roads, and other parts of Tidewater Virginia.
Thank you! This is what I've been saying all along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
I actually did a demographic study on the region in college as part of a linguistics course. I knew that a few prominent linguistic studies and dialect maps placed the Midland dialect in northern Maryland (and there were those that didn't), but based on personal experience growing up in the region (VA/MD), and with family in the area since the 1800s, I knew many of these studies were not terribly accurate.

I wrote a long thesis that strongly placed the "Virginia Piedmont Dialect" in central Maryland on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and, yes, intermixed with the Midland dialect of Central Pennsylvania. So there is no hard border, and what developed, one could argue, is a mix of Virginia Piedmont and Midland speech. The dialect in central Maryland (i.e. north of Baltimore or just south of PA) however, loses some of the Va Piedmont characteristics, and often sounds "generic Southern." But it still falls within the Va Peidmont dialect map.
Well I do vividly remember meeting a woman from Arbutus(near Baltimore) and she pronounced words like "warsh" and "Warshington".
 
Old 09-18-2009, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland
1,469 posts, read 3,626,219 times
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I'm from Silver Spring, MD and I say "warsh" but I pronounce "Washington" correctly. Can't figure that one out. My children (born and raised in MD) always teased me about saying warsh. I don't think anyone else in my family says it the way I do. I always related more to DC than Baltimore so I'm suprised I pronounce it that way. I am, however, taking great efforts to say it correctly now since most people immediately notice the way I say it (and actually comment on it).
 
Old 09-18-2009, 03:05 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,321,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg1963 View Post
I'm from Silver Spring, MD and I say "warsh" but I pronounce "Washington" correctly. Can't figure that one out. My children (born and raised in MD) always teased me about saying warsh. I don't think anyone else in my family says it the way I do. I always related more to DC than Baltimore so I'm suprised I pronounce it that way. I am, however, taking great efforts to say it correctly now since most people immediately notice the way I say it (and actually comment on it).
I grew up saying Washington with /warsh/, as did a couple of my friends. And we're relatively young (generation y).

/Warshintn/ is the correct way to say Washington for multi-generational natives and is a characteristic of the Virginia Piedmont Dialect of MD and VA, which is a non-rhotic dialect. R's are dropped at the end of words as in car and water. Also common to non-rhotic dialects are epenthetic r's between vowels in words like water /wartah/. This characterisitc of the VA Piedmont dialect has been fading as a more "generic southern" accent is becoming more common in Maryland and Virginia.

I always thought the local variation of the Virginia Piedmont dialect in PG County was quite beautiful... just find a Maryland native who grew up in say, College Park or Hyattsville as late as the 1950s or early 60s. For a school-related project, I interviewed an elderly lady in Georgetown, a Washington DC native, who had a very thick, and beautiful, non-rhotic accent, barely indistinguishable from that spoken in Richmond a generation ago, or rural Maryland. Notably, the characteristics of the VA Piedmont dialect can also be found among multi-generational Maryland and Virginia African Americans.

Also unique to the Virginia Piedmont dialect spoken in Maryland and VA, and notably unlike other Southern dialects, is the drawn out pronunciation of /ou/ dipthong in words like about or house. About sounds like /abawouoot/.

Non-rhotic speech is confined to the Piedmont and Tidewater areas of Maryland and Virginia (and the Carolinas, etc). "Southern Mountain dialects" are very different.

Last edited by irvine; 09-18-2009 at 04:14 PM..
 
Old 09-18-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: central North Carolina
62 posts, read 154,242 times
Reputation: 88
Talking interesting

Lots of great posts here Most everyone here seems to have good and valid points.
I personally think of Maryland as a solid MidAtlantic state. Heck, even Virginia is exactly halfway between Maine and Florida.
Looking at that last post by cpterp really shows how Virginia is becoming more and more like Maryland in many ways. Maryland is actually higher on some of those lists than some solid MidAtlantic and Northeastern states. It also shows how my state can improve on several things.

Maryland, like the other 'border states' fascinate me. Maryland was a solid Southern state back in the colonial days before and during the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, MD was a very much divided border state like Kentucky and Missouri. Today, I still view it as a border state that has southern and northeastern qualities, but that the northeastern qualities are more dominant.

But what is gonna happen if 50 years from now, the entire Atlantic seaboard is similar in culture, politics, demographics, economy and education? I mean how will we define regions then? Will the definitions change? Will there no longer be any 'regions' in the U.S. and it all be watered-down generic America?

Your thoughts please!


Anyway......interesting thread!
 
Old 09-18-2009, 03:45 PM
 
Location: central North Carolina
62 posts, read 154,242 times
Reputation: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post

Non-rhotic speech is confined to the Piedmont and Tidewater areas of Maryland and Virginia (and the Carolinas, etc). "Southern Mountain dialects" are very different.
I would say that central NC's overall Piedmont accent sounds like a lighter "Southern Mountain" or "Southern Appalachian" accent. There are some people here in the rural areas that speak with a lot of twang and you'd think they were from West Virginia or Kentucky. The further east you go in NC, you get more of that old "Plantation South" accent, which is similar to the old Virginia accent.
Both my parents will tell you that 50 years ago, the main central/piedmont NC accent was actually less twangy and country sounding back then. The old NC accent was more 'aristocratic' and southern sounding 50 years ago.
Today, it is like a form of Southern Appalachia speach. I think this has to do with many folks moving to the populated NC Piedmont for jobs from western NC, southwest VA, east TN, eastern KY, etc.
I have heard a few older natives from MD and they speak with that VA/MD Piedmont accent. The Baltimore accent is funky sounding....like a mix of Yankee and Dixie. Some words sound like Jersey and others have a Carolina sound to them.
There was a Democratic politician from Delaware (cant remember) who spoke on C-Span on T.V. the other day and his accent sounded like a weird Northeast/Southern mix; what I would call very MidAtlantic.
 
Old 09-18-2009, 03:46 PM
 
518 posts, read 1,321,384 times
Reputation: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCnut View Post
But what is gonna happen if 50 years from now, the entire Atlantic seaboard is similar in culture, politics, demographics, economy and education? I mean how will we define regions then? Will the definitions change? Will there no longer be any 'regions' in the U.S. and it all be watered-down generic America?
!
I dread that day and hope it never happens, but because of it's history, customs, cuisine, and the remaining multi-generational natives, Maryland will always be Southern in my opinion. In a couple generations, many Marylanders and Virginians may not be familiar with spoonbread, Maryland beaten biscuits, or smithfield ham. And the anti-Northern Maryland State song might eventually be retired and become "state song emeritus." But the past, as memorialized in monuments, museums, history books and the family stories passed down from generation to generation will not deny the state's very important Southern heritage and cultural legacy. (And I suppose family recipes will survive, so spoonbread may not completely disappear.) Southerners whether in Maryland, Virginia, or North Carolina, etc have always been uniquely drawn to the past, so as the culture of the South changes and becomes less distinct, I believe this obsession with history will continue to provide some definition for the South as a region. The South will inevitably become less "Southern" but it's "historical borders" should not change due to the whims of a "newer" generation. The Mason-Dixon Line is still a very appropriate boundary, as Southern culture never existed north of it, and it still does to varying degrees south of it.

Concerning Baltimore, there are quite a few very prominent Confederate monuments as well as monuments to African American achievements during the era of Jim Crow. Some of the first sit-ins, while not as famous as the Greensboro one, took place in Baltimore and DC.

Last edited by irvine; 09-18-2009 at 04:21 PM..
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