In the South, you’ll find a Scarlett O’Hara drawl, and also a Hee-Haw twang. There’s a little bit of everything thrown in, from Texas to North Florida, from Virginia to Kentucky. I always like to guess where someone was raised based on their speech patterns.
Last week, I thought for certain a woman I met was from North Alabama because she sounded like my Mother and Aunts, but she said she had been born and raised in Mobile. “Really! I thought for certain I heard a bit of Muscle Shoals or Huntsville coming through” I told her. She laughed and then confessed that her mother was raised in Birmingham, so maybe that’s the influence I was hearing.
People have told me I have no Southern accent at all, and they’ve also said they can’t understand a word I say because my accent is so thick. Go figure. I guess it depends who’s doing the listening – and how tired I am.
I love listening for the local dialects and observing linguistics from around the country. I’m glad we all sound different. It gives us flavor and character as a country that was pulled together by all different types of people. I was totally fascinated when I traveled to Boston and bless their hearts, could only understand the word, “lobstah,” which they said quite a bit.
Here’s a little test I found on line years ago that evaluates your word choices as well as how you say a few key words. For instance, do you call it the service road, access road, or frontage road? (I had never even seen one until I went to college in Tallahassee and just called it, “that little road over yonder”).
The test only takes a few minutes and will give you a score when you finish. I scored “100% Dixie – Is General Lee your Grandfather?”
My husband got, “46% Dixie – Barely in Yankeedom” I swanee! No wonder we don’t understand each other! I’ve got work to do!
Here’s the test. Let me know what you score!