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Old 10-04-2018, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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Hubby and I were discussing this at the breakfast table this morning. His family is all from W.Va and we were wondering, officially is WV in the east or where? We know it isn't considered southern even though a lot of people we know from there do have a slight southern accent. It is hard to think of it as being on the east coast as it really isn't and it is mid west either. Is there an official region it is in or is it just wherever people want it to be? I know here in AR, NWA where we live though regionally it is in the south, is much more mid west but the southern part of the state and the east is very southern.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:52 PM
 
Location: DeBary, FL
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Other than stating WV is part of Appalachia, I'd guess it most nearly belongs as part of the East. I'm not sure how to determine if that is official. It's clear that it is not the Mid-West, it's not the South, and it's not the Mid-Atlantic.
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:14 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
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I've lived most of my life somewhere near Charleston. My accent makes people think I'm from the deep south, even though I can clearly tell the difference between my speech and that of people from Georgia or other states in the deep south. If it hadn't been for some political shenanigans by people in the northern part of the state (mostly Wheeling & Morgantown, plus some in the eastern panhandle), this would still be part of Virginia, you'd call it southern, and nobody would give it a second thought. We wouldn't be having this conversation about a southern state.

Of course, Weirton is as far north as Pittsburgh, and Wheeling is a little further north than Columbus, Ohio, and over in the eastern panhandle, Martinsburg is further north that Washington, DC.

It all adds up to making it difficult to put West Virginia into a nice, neat category. My view is that, if you asked a majority of West Virginians, the would mostly say it is a southern state.
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:10 PM
 
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Two factors make it seem very southern.

1st it is below the Mason-Dixon line.

2nd, it broke off from VA a very southern state (still considered as such today).

My vote: southern, period.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:22 PM
 
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It's definitely the south. I just got back from there five weeks ago, partially to explore this question (and partially because it is such a bad-ass place). My husband and I explored the state last year for our honeymoon, too, so I have seen a thing or two in West Virginia (prior to Bourdain trying to making it trendy). Here is, in part, what I have seen and learned that leads me to believe that the question is settled that it's the south:

WVa was the last slave-holding state to enter the union, in 1863.

Contrary to popular belief, WVa did NOT break from Va over slavery. They broke away because Virginia was neglecting Western Virginia--there were only four east-westbound going roads at the time of statehood--so Western Virginia took an opportunity to get more resources by casting its die with Lincoln.

Despite that, most WVa counties did not vote to secede from Virginia (some did not even get to vote).

Jim Crow (which was horrible government policy, just for the record) was alive and well deep into the 20th century, from the coal towns of Logan County to the schools of Pocahontas County. Some really good black schools actually had to close after Brown.

While more soldiers fought for the Union, a very significant minority did fight for the Connfederacy (some switched sides for their own safety), and there was at least one individual in the Potomac Highlands that kept fighting the war for the Rebs even after the Confederacy lost and peace was declared.

The fourth Confederate Flag--the one that came after the Confederate battle flag that we see today--was designed and is displayed in West Virginia.

Confederate battle flags are sold out in the open on the side of the road and at fairs in Wyoming County and its surrounding areas, and at least as close to Morgantown as Shinnston.


There is a freaking statue of Stonewall Jackson standing tall at the State Capitol. The fact that this has been allowed to remain standing, despite the protests, is enough to convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the place is southern. If West Virginia were not in the south, that statue would be gone. It wouldn't have even been built.

The southern accent is real y'all. Up to and including Wheeling.

Culturally it is southern--mostly rural, no big cities, slow-paced, people are super friendly and will talk to you at length with little or no prompting, and high school football is a religion. Speaking of religion, there are tons of Baptist churches there. And trailers. And ATVs. Blacks make up to about 30% of the population in the southern part of the state.

Now that I think about it, how can it be argued that West Virginia is not a southern state? The northern panhandle extending so far north is about the only thing I can think of. It is still very southern there, though. In Moundsville--which is just south of Wheeling--people have been known to pay child support in the form of farm animals. (Not that this is typical of southerners; just that we are not talking about a midwestern city dominated with smokestacks and factories here).

There is a lot of propaganda coming out of Wheeling that will try to convince you that WV is this midwesten/eastern enclave, but I have been through the state literally south to north and east to west (the only place I haven't reallly explored is the eastern panhandle, though I've been there twice, and it read extremely southern to me), and I disagree.

What I realized--after some initial confusion--is that you really have to go to Charleston, the capital, to appreciate just how southern West Virginia is. (It reminds me a little of Mobile). Prior to going there, it was harder for me to understand.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:23 PM
 
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I dunno, I'm out in Jefferson County (furthest east), and we don't seem very southern at all. More like one of the Mid-Atlantics I guess.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:02 PM
 
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The northern panhandle where I live is the furthest northern most part of the south statistically according to the census bureau. It feels like the south to me as a midwesterner.The brick ranch homes, the species of trees that can grow in a climate classified as sub-tropical. The magnolia trees are a good example.

However if you cross the line two miles from my home and enter Pennsylvania it gets more mid-Atlantic. By the time you get near Pittsburgh the accent has completely changed. Here my neighbors all speak with what I consider a southern accent.

Is it the south in reality or is it the north or something else? I am not sure it matters it is distinctly West Virginian. I for one am very happy to call it home.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I know here in AR, NWA where we live though regionally it is in the south, is much more mid west but the southern part of the state and the east is very southern.
I'm just very curious--seeing as how I've never been to any of Arkansas--what makes one part feel more southern vs more midwestern to you? What are the southern parts like, and what are the more midwesrern parts like? Is your area more like Oklahoma or Missouri? (Is Oklahoma defonitely the Midwest, or is that up for debate too)? Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
I've lived most of my life somewhere near Charleston. My accent makes people think I'm from the deep south, even though I can clearly tell the difference between my speech and that of people from Georgia or other states in the deep south.
I know this is a difficult question to pose on the Internet, but is there any way you could describe how your Charlestonian accent differs from other southern accents? I am a huge regional accent enthusiast, but I find that there is almost nothing on YouTube from which I could learn, and you don't meet many southerners where I am.

Also, do you have any info on how the southern accent varies throughout the state? Like I've posted prior, I've been about as far north as you can go and still be in WV (Chester), and all I could notice was how thick the southern accent was, especially if you compare it to the accents of other southerners, like Dallas or Norfolk, VA, where I barely notice an accent, if at all. The only time I heard someone from West Virginia speak who didn't sound totally southern was someone from TV who lived in the eastern panhandle. So any info about the differing WV accents would be helpful, because my ear is not sophisticated enough to pick up the diffence on its own, and I can't find a good map or anything.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:55 AM
 
123 posts, read 236,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spunkydawg View Post
I dunno, I'm out in Jefferson County (furthest east), and we don't seem very southern at all. More like one of the Mid-Atlantics I guess.
While I'm asking questions (sorry to those of you who are getting sick of me), I looked up Jefferson County on the map of WV that hangs on my wall, and it is really Far East--probably as east as you can get--and I realized that I may never get there. I know this is a strange question, but is there any way to expand as to how JC seems Mid-Atlantic, just so that I have a more accurate picture of the state? Are there fewer mountains there?Are the accents more modified? Is it very much like Maryland? Is there any way it is not like Maryland? Is there a mall there? Just curious. Thanks.
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