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Southern Accents


Mith242

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Anyone interested in a discussion about southern accents? One of the most noticable aspects of southern culture are the accents. Many people in other countries can even identify them. It's funny, here in the US southern accents are often made fun of or the butts of many jokes. But I've learned that many people outside the US actually like southern accents over other American accents. But not all southern accents are alike. What's some of the best accents in the south? How do southern accents compare in different regions of the south?

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Anyone interested in a discussion about southern accents?  One of the most noticable aspects of southern culture are the accents.  Many people in other countries can even identify them.  It's funny, here in the US southern accents are often made fun of or the butts of many jokes.  But I've learned that many people outside the US actually like southern accents over other American accents.  But not all southern accents are alike.  What's some of the best accents in the south?  How do southern accents compare in different regions of the south?

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Here is a link to a site that breaks down various accents in the South: Southern Accents.

A picture of U.S. accents: wsdwlb.jpg

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Yup, there's Ozark, South Midland, and Gulf Southern according to this thing.

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I've seen something list Arkansas with two main accents. I believe they listed them as Coastal Southern (Deep South) in southeast Arkansas and Continental Southern for the rest of the state. But I've also read info that mentiones the Ozarks accent to be rather similar to the Appalachian accent. Many people who settled the Ozarks were from this region. And since the Ozarks wasn't exactly very good agricultural land few people moved into the area. One of the few exceptions is northwest Arkansas. It actually does have a little bit of land suitable for agriculture. I still believe extreme northwestern Arkansas seems to have a very slight southern accent with a little midwest added to it.

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Its interesting, I live in Charlotte, but my best friends who were born in the south (Charleston and Goldsboro) do not have southern accents, I can go weeks without hearing someone with a southern accent.

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Funny, my experiences in Charlotte have always been thoroughgoing southern accents. Nothing at all to be embarassed about.

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There's a guy who I deal with at work. He lives in the neighboring county east of mine, it goes into the Boston Mountains. He's got that pretty strong Appalachian/Ozark accent. It's just sorta odd that one county can make that big of a difference.

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But I've learned that many people outside the US actually like southern accents over other American accents.  But not all southern accents are alike. 

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Well there are some in the US that still like the southern accent. There have been several times when I have talked to girls from up north and they have commented on how they loved my southern accent. :wub: But like you said, not all southern accents are alike and mine isn't as strong. An accent from Birmingham, AL can be very different than an accent from Lincoln, AL, only 30 minutes away.

-J

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Accents are great. They give us a sense of place. Too bad Hollywood always gets it wrong. If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's a fake/Hollywood Southern Accent. Either we are made to sound like Scarlett O'Hara (Vivian Leigh was English), or we're made to sound like just crawled out from under a rock. And will they ever learn that we use "y'all" only when referring to more than one person?

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Keep in mind that even people in the South who don't think they have a very strong southern accent do have one to northerners. I do have a somewhat southern accent, but some family members joke how it's the least southern in the family. In the north, however, they just think it's the strongest accent. They shouldn't forget that they have funny accents to us. To show how different they are, my Dad's accent was mistaken for an Australian one in New York City. :huh: We're talking another American!

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I thought this portion of the article was both interesting and funny:

Contrary to what your teachers probably tried to tell you, there is no such thing as "correct English." Any manner of speaking that is following the rules of a dialect is equally "correct." Words like ain't are "real" words in some dialects and perfectly acceptable to use...Of course, some sentences like, "Me are a educated person," would be incorrect in every dialect.
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Accents are great.  They give us a sense of place.  Too bad Hollywood always gets it wrong.  If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's a fake/Hollywood Southern Accent.  Either we are made to sound like Scarlett O'Hara (Vivian Leigh was English), or we're made to sound like just crawled out from under a rock.  And will they ever learn that we use "y'all" only when referring to more than one person?

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I agree. The sterotypical hollywood southern accent is an atrocity.

My personal favorite accent is from Charleston. I think that accent is fading away somewhat though.

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^ I've been able to spot other native South Carolinians in Atlanta & additionally guess if they were from the lowstate. Primarily the lowstate natives have a distinctive accent - upstate SC accent is a little more similar to western NC & even north GA, but of course with a bit of a lowstate influence.

Mine is a combination of both, but mostly upstate - not too 'gutteral' speaking, I generally speak rather slowly.

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Coastal Southern (21)

Very closely resembles Virginia Piedmont but has preserved more elements from the colonial era dialect than any other region of the United States outside Eastern New England. Some local words are: catty-corner (diagonal), dope (soda, Coca-Cola), fussbox (fussy person), kernal (pit), savannah (grassland), Sunday child (illegitimate child). They call doughnuts cookies.

I was raised in the North Florida area which falls in the "Coastal Southern" region and have never heard a doughnut called a cookie or a soda (carbonated beverage) called a dope. I guess words such as those are more common among the older generations (I'm only 23).

The only abstract context I've ever hear the word "dope" used is in a case such as "Man, that trick was dope!". Another context would be in reference to drugs.

I didn't thouroughly read the entire article, but do they touch on the topics of "slang" words as a significant portion of a dialect?

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In Columbia (via Richland County) the "southern accent", isn't that noticeable then again it just may be the group that I grew up with?

I do hear various accents in southern richland county (Hopkins, Eastover) and definately in lexington county though, but I see I have been beaten to the punch.

I don't have an accent (or so I've been told), but my mother who is from spartanburg does. My father from walterboro (lowcountry) interestingly enough doesn't have an accent but my aunts from that area do? He did live in brooklyn several years before moving back to SC though.

The first time I went too atlanta I was surprised by how many people there in the "big city" sounded like hicks!?

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I was unable to get the link for the "How Dixie are you" test to work, but I found another link--it might be the same test.

Southern Dialect Quiz

I took it twice and got "58% (Dixie). Barely into the Dixie category."

Does this make me a southern poser? :D

I believe these results exemplify something I've expressed before--it seems that most Gen-Y and younger people from urbanized high growth areas (NC cities in this case) have no real obvious accent. We have been exposed to many different people from all over the place in our lifetimes. Additionally we were exposed to even more people virtually through TV, radio, and more recently the internet--much more than any generation before us.

Our teachers in school, our professors in college, our fellow students, the people on the local news, our neighbors next door, etc, all come from different places. We are a product of our environment.

People in lower growth or rural counties will probably express more of a southern slant, but those in the urban areas will show very little if any slant. The farther you move from an urban center, the more pronounced the dialect will be. Older people in urban areas grew up when the area was less diverse, so they too will express more of a slant.

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I agree. The sterotypical hollywood southern accent is an atrocity.

My personal favorite accent is from Charleston. I think that accent is fading away somewhat though.

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Indeed it is. More migrants are coming into Charleston from up north, and the dialects of the area are fading as a result. The Lowcountry really has 2 accents: one is the "Southern belle" accent, which is close to the Scarlett O'Hara generalization. This one is used by mainly downtown "blue-bloods" where generations of people's families have been born and raised in the city. The other dialect is Gullah. However, both really are fading and turning into a Coastal Southern/California accent. Many people use words like "dude" and "coolness"...mainly because of the beach influence from other migrants. Gullah can be very hard to understand, and as a result, it is used for places to carry a Gullah theme like a restaurant or attraction. It is a definitely dying dialect, unfortunately.

I was born and raised there, but many people have thought that I was from Ohio! :lol: As far as calling doughnuts "cookies" and soda "dope"? I don't know a single soul in that region that has ever called them that.

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"Girls used to say, y'all talk funny, y'all from the islands?

And I'd Laughed and they just keep smiling

No, I'm from Atlanta baby

He from Savannah, maybe"

Andre 3000 (Outkast) - A life in the day... - The Love Below

I find it interesting how dialects are retained in the lower classes, especially in minority neighborhoods. Go to LA, Chicago, St. Louis, Miami or New York and you'll still here blacks speaking in a southern black dialect.

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