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Southern dialects
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Kaa
 
Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA


I just listened to show #27 about regional dialects, and the discussion of y'uns and y'all reminded me of an encounter I recently had in the cafeteria where I work in downtown Atlanta.

They (Sodexho) were doing some sort of "theme" day, and it was something you had to order, they cooked, and then handed you a plate with the freshly made whatever-it-was.

I was standing there, waiting, and the woman behind the counter made eye contact with me, holding out a plate. "Is this urine?" she said.

Nonplussed, I blinked and stopped in the act of reaching for the plate. She repeated it: "Is this urine?"

It was about that time that I realized she was saying "Is this your'n?" which, until that particular day I had never heard "in the wild," so to speak.

I grew up in rural, backwoods Alabama, and it took coming to the most populous and diverse city in the southeast to hear this particular word, and then only seven years after first moving here.

Bizarre. Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:08 am Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


When I lived in Nashville, my wife and I bought a new VW Golf from the VW dealer there. I was in the middle of grad school in German at Vanderbilt at the time, so I was into German things.

I took it in for service once, to the dealer's service garage. At the end of the day I had to discuss the work with the service technician who had actually been under the hood of the car.

I don't remember any specific words or phrases he said, but I do remember that I assumed he was German and that I simply could not understand his accent. In fact, however, he was from rural Hohenwald, Tennessee, and had a speech pattern that sounded completely foreign to me, a native of western North Carolina. I had to ask him about four or five times what he meant.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:48 pm Reply with quote
trainwreck
 
Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 20
Location: Fort Worth


My mom tells the story of travelling through Tennessee back in the late 60's --she's from the 'deep north?' up by the Canadian border-- and the waitress said something and pointed to Mom's mashed potatoes. Mom heard:

"Would you like some saccharin?"

Mother was perplexexed. Who puts fake sugar on their mashed potatoes?

After a second time (though I believe it to be the third) she figured it out.

Would you like some sour cream?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:11 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Dave,

On the podcasts, you and NC Howard use different word stress on a few expressions, specifically first-syllable stress on
• TV
• umbrella

Up North, we stress the second syllable in each. Are there other differences in syllable stress you've noticed in your wanderings around the country?

Native Michigander,
Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:37 am Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Alan, that first-syllable stress on those words is indeed very often heard in North Carolina and Tennessee. I wouldn't say it's a feature of Howard's and my speech, as a rule, but when we are referring to our linguistic roots, we might use it for effect.

Now I feel like I have to go back and listen to all 110 shows to see where we did it! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:00 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Dave,
I'm about a third of the way through the podcasts (the latest dozen plus the first two dozen or so). I'll continue to listen for other regionalisms as I go. I do this sort of thing for a living (listen for content with one ear and language with the other), so I should be able to pick up other speech events for your hair colorist (when your "roots" are showing).
FWIW, your uses of TV and umbrella seemed spoken completely naturally in their contexts and not as conscious examples of regional dialect. Sumus quod sumus, after all.
It took me quite a while to get over a comment by a Minn. linguistics prof that I had the "Michigan nasal" in my own speech. I thought as an educated linguisticky person, I was able to hold my own speech "above" that. Subjectively--nondescriptively--I find the upper midwest nasality horrible to listen to!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:40 am Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


It took me many decades of life before I got to the point where I could say this, but...

I'm glad to hear that the regional pronunciation you describe came out naturally. Now that I'm in my mid-50s I wish I retained more of my southern speech. I started trying to get rid of my accent in about the seventh grade, and I've pretty well succeeded. And now I'm left with a blah, general-American accent that sometimes seems to me that it doesn't have much character.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:44 pm Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Au contraire, Herr Selbst-Deprecator,

Your accent has a wonderful hint of "interest" to it while you're podcasting. At at times (speaking with your NC fam?), you get a tad more down-homey. You are NOT a speaker of bland nondescript American English. A dialectologist would figure you(r origins) out after a few minutes talking with you.

AND, I would maintain that as a linguist/language nerd, your ear/tongue are well enough synched that if you wanted to "take (back) on" your home dialect, you could affect it very nicely. (After time, it would cling more persistently.) Example: your charmingly bi-dialectal sister.

Whenever we watch movies at home, Kim notices that I imitate the dialect of the speakers. Last week it was Billy Elliott. Language nerds do that. We can't help it.

Tschüßle,
Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:59 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


What gets more interesting to me is when I try to imagine what kind of accent I have when I speak GERMAN.

A lady in Leipzig once told me I sounded like I was from Finland. Another German just pegged me for Dutch (from Holland).

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:37 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Lots of Germans thought I was Dutch when I was studying there...the kind of thing where the speech sounded close, but not quite "right." I have some empathy for the speakers of southern U.S. English dialects and the prejudice which goes against it since I studied in Baden-Württemberg, which non-southern Germans consider a kind of hillbilly-deutsch. Funny how we humans will use any kind of difference to claim superiority over another tribe....
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:09 pm Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


Another word with different word stress I just detected while listening to Howard S (from an old podcast):

THANKSgiving

All my US English experience (Midwestern, Western, and Northeastern dialects) with this word has stress on the second syllable: thanksGIVing.
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Southern dialects
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