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The Southern Accent

Thanatos0320Thanatos0320 Posts: 577 ✭✭✭
A friend sent me this video in an email. I was mind blown after watching it. Sorry i can't embed it. I don't know what's going on with youtube.



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    curtiscr79curtiscr79 Posts: 859
    Very nice. Thanks for sharing. I will also pass this along.
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    The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,869 ✭✭✭
    Not sure how accurate but interesting nonetheless, thanks
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    raisindotraisindot Posts: 1,294 ✭✭✭
    That video's argument makes absolutely no sense. If it were true, then the southern accent would be the prominent accent of all America, since most of the first generations of European settlers in North America were either of English or Scotch-Irish descent. But you certainly don't hear native-born Yankees speaking in a southern accent.

    What's far more likely to have created the southern accent is the presence of African slaves in the south. Linguists have found similarities in certain speech patterns--elongation of vowels, suppression of certain consonants, certain lilts--between African-Americans and native Africans from the west coast of Africa. As slaves brought to America (and their descendants) learned English, they began to incorporate African speech patterns into their speech. And since slaves regularly intermingled with whites, both in the field and in the plantation home, over time the English/Scotch-Irish accents mixed with the African patterns to become the southern accent, which ultimately diverged into different regional dialects as whites (and their slaves) migrated across the country.

    Of course, the big question is "When did this accent emerge." We don't have recordings from the mid-19th century, obviously, so you have to look at the literary record. Certainly letters by Confederate solidiers reflected the accent in their spelling and Lexicon, but I'd toss out as early evidence the stories of George Washington Harris, who wrote humorous tall tales of Tennessee incorporating southern accents as early as the 1840s.

    My guess is that the first southern accents emerged a long time before the Civil War. I would theorize that the "ancestors" of the southern accent were probably already well defined by the early 1820s, since this is really the time when the political and cultural differences between the north and south began to assert themselves. For example, I doubt that the Yankees of their time would have characterized Andrew Jackson as a backwoods buffoon if Jackson had spoken with a British accent or one much closer to the northerners who opposed him.
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    jd50aejd50ae Posts: 7,900 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very cool. I live in a house that is VA/TN/MN all mixed and the word I use most often is WHAT..
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    Thanatos0320Thanatos0320 Posts: 577 ✭✭✭
    I've been questioned by British people, English specifically, if I'm from England because of my accent. My family is from Greece, but I have a southern accent. Here is another video on the southern accent.

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