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  #1  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:27 PM
SDMBKL SDMBKL is offline
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Do Southerners really speak like this?

My Childcraft book from 1975 about The Magic of Words was purchased (along with the whole series) by my parents from a local library's book sale a decade ago, and as an avid reader, I read literally all of the books. They're easy to read, appropriate for primary-school children, and I learned a lot from them.

Anyway, I was flipping through the Childcraft book on "The Magic of Words", when something caught my eye: the pronunciations.

This is what it says:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magic of Words, (c) 1975 Field Enterprises Educational Corporation
In the South and Southwest, most people have a Southern accent. They stretch out vowel sounds and drop their r's. They say suh for sir, Ah for I, and doah for door.
OK. How do I pronounce "doah"? Dough and ah? I pronounce "door" by saying "or" with the d-sound in front. "D" and "or", or "Door". I don't say "Dough Ah" or try to make door rhyme with the first name Noah.

I am really a Midwesterner, not a Southerner.

Last edited by SDMBKL; 04-28-2012 at 11:27 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:27 PM
PSXer PSXer is offline
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doe

dough

Last edited by PSXer; 04-28-2012 at 11:28 PM..
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:38 PM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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Too much generalization.

I was born in Atlanta, and lived there for 40 years.
Some Southerners might drop r's and say "suh", instead of "sir", but it certainly does not apply to all Southerners.
Same with stretching vowels.

I stretch some vowels sometimes, but I do not drop my r's.



ETA: Thanks for asking for clarification instead of just assuming that everything that you read is true.







.

Last edited by simple homer; 04-28-2012 at 11:39 PM..
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:39 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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I sometimes still have remnants of a Central Virginia accent and I pronounce door as doe, not like dough (which has more emphasis on the O sound). But if I'm tired (somewhere between tard and turd), car and core and pin and pen sound the same, confusing my kids.

Last edited by dropzone; 04-28-2012 at 11:40 PM..
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:51 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Dore.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:47 AM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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I'm Hoosier-born and raised, living in South Georgia. I've heard the suh, doah, and "ahhs" for ice. Some Southernisms that still annoy me are cent as a plural, pronouncing the L in salmon, mashing buttons, and not using a "ch" sound in mature, literature, furniture, amateur, and temperature.

My first landlady told me "no payuts" were allowed. It sounded so unlike "pets" to me she had to explain by saying no cats or dogs.

Oh- "on" is said much like "own" by many around here.

Also, people around here consider Atlanta to be about as Southern as Florida nowadays.

Last edited by california jobcase; 04-29-2012 at 12:49 AM..
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:03 AM
starwarsfreek42 starwarsfreek42 is offline
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I'm in Alabama, and "door" rhymes with "Noah" around here. It's almost two syllables. R can be lost pretty often, and I really don't know why one word loses an r and another one doesn't, or if it's got two r's why it keeps one as opposed to the other. No rhyme or reason to it--except that if the r is the first letter of the word, it is kept. If a word ends with r, we tend to add an "uh" behind it. Lots of times there's no r in door at all, or if there is it's followed by "uh" as in the name Dora. Scissors becomes "scissuhs", library becomes "lie-berry", corner becomes "cawner". People from the Birmingham area and southern Georgia, I have noticed, will almost always drop the r in mother and father, resulting in "muthuh" and "fathuh". There is often a w after the letter o, as in "cawfey" instead of coffee and "cow-ert" instead of court.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:10 AM
Indistinguishable Indistinguishable is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starwarsfreek42 View Post
R can be lost pretty often, and I really don't know why one word loses an r and another one doesn't, or if it's got two r's why it keeps one as opposed to the other. No rhyme or reason to it--except that if the r is the first letter of the word, it is kept.
There is plenty of rhyme and reason: /r/s are lost "post-vocalically" (i.e., when they are not followed by a vowel sound), just as in typical English (as in England) accents (excluding the West Country), where the phenomenon arose, and stereotypical New York and Boston accents. For more, read up on "rhoticity".

Last edited by Indistinguishable; 04-29-2012 at 03:13 AM..
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:50 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Good thread..do southerners really say "dog willie" as an expletive? The late Harry Morgan used it in the movie "Flimflam Man".
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:30 AM
Lsura Lsura is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Good thread..do southerners really say "dog willie" as an expletive? The late Harry Morgan used it in the movie "Flimflam Man".

No, at least not in my experience. Our expletives are pretty standard, I'd think - they're the ones I've heard from growing up in Tennessee, though time in Maine, Ohio, Arizona and other states as well.

To the OP, there are sections of the south where you'd hear just that accent. Parts of Alabama, parts of Georgia, parts of South Carolina are what stand out to me. There are other areas where the accent is still considered southern, but sounds much different if you have been around enough of them. For example, I hear a very different accent from my relatives who live in southern Alabama than my cousin who grew up in Atlanta, to my siblings raised with my in Chattanooga, to friends from Memphis and Nashville.

Anecdote: while living in Tuscon, I was talking to someone. At the end of our conversation, I asked him "so, what part of Alabama are you from". His response was "Sylacauga, and how did you know that?" - he sounded just like my relatives from near there.
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:50 AM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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What is a Southern accent ?

Accents in Texas, Louisiana, or Georgia are going to be just as different as accents in New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts.

Slang and grammar can all be different as well.
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  #12  
Old 04-29-2012, 10:44 AM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Many southerners will stretch out vowels and minimize the 'r' but not to the degree that the spellings in the OP suggest. That would be exaggerated, sort of like a very bad Hollywood version/parody of a southern accent. (P.S. born and lived in Savannah until I was 14).
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:58 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simple homer View Post
What is a Southern accent ?

Accents in Texas, Louisiana, or Georgia are going to be just as different as accents in New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts.

Slang and grammar can all be different as well.
Someone from the areas you mention will mainly notice the differences between those accents, whereas someone from elsewhere will mainly notice the similarities, and perceive them as either i) all the same, or ii) varieties of a southern accent.

In other words, there is a southern accent that is spoken in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, with variations between as well as within those states.

In the same way I can easily discern an American accent, a Scottish accent, and so on, notwithstanding the fact that variations exist within those countries. But if I heard someone talking about an Irish accent, I would wonder, "what do they mean; a Dublin accent, a country accent or a northern accent? Those are three completely different accents that have (to my ear) nothing in common."
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:22 PM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
Someone from the areas you mention will mainly notice the differences between those accents, whereas someone from elsewhere will mainly notice the similarities, and perceive them as either i) all the same, or ii) varieties of a southern accent.

In other words, there is a southern accent that is spoken in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, with variations between as well as within those states.

In the same way I can easily discern an American accent, a Scottish accent, and so on, notwithstanding the fact that variations exist within those countries. But if I heard someone talking about an Irish accent, I would wonder, "what do they mean; a Dublin accent, a country accent or a northern accent? Those are three completely different accents that have (to my ear) nothing in common."
I disagree. For almost 50 years I have traveled almost all the states and abroad, and no one has ever confused my Georgia accent with a Texas or Louisiana accent.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:29 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simple homer View Post
I disagree. For almost 50 years I have traveled almost all the states and abroad, and no one has ever confused my Georgia accent with a Texas or Louisiana accent.
I'm generally good at picking up on accents, and I couldn't tell a Texan from a Georgian, even if they might sound a little different. Like Hibernicus said, I notice the similarities.

As someone from New England who has lived in CA for many years, I'm always astounded by people who talk about an "East Coast accent" out here. They can't tell the difference between a NY and a Boston accent, whereas to me they are like night and day.
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:44 PM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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In my observation, regional accents (not just southern) tend to be most pronounced in older people and in native speakers who have not spent much time outside of that region. For example, I can discern between a Central Pennsylvania accent, a Pittsburgh accent, and a Philadelphia accent, but in older speakers. In younger speakers, I have a harder time because their accents are much less pronounced.

Part of this is due to migration and part is due to mass media. When everyone on TV sounds alike, regional accents tend to be diminished.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:49 PM
starwarsfreek42 starwarsfreek42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indistinguishable View Post
There is plenty of rhyme and reason: /r/s are lost "post-vocalically" (i.e., when they are not followed by a vowel sound), just as in typical English (as in England) accents (excluding the West Country), where the phenomenon arose, and stereotypical New York and Boston accents. For more, read up on "rhoticity".
That's really interesting, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn View Post
In my observation, regional accents (not just southern) tend to be most pronounced in older people and in native speakers who have not spent much time outside of that region. For example, I can discern between a Central Pennsylvania accent, a Pittsburgh accent, and a Philadelphia accent, but in older speakers. In younger speakers, I have a harder time because their accents are much less pronounced.

Part of this is due to migration and part is due to mass media. When everyone on TV sounds alike, regional accents tend to be diminished.
This is very true. Many people in rural Alabama (especially ones a generation ahead) have never left the south and in those areas accents can be extreme to the point of being unintelligible even to me, and I've lived here my whole life. I have never been further north myself than Nashville, TN. However, I'm often told that I "talk like a Yankee" because my accent is much lighter than most people's. Besides exposure to television, I'm also a grammar nazi to the point of rudeness in real life. (There's a weird convention here that goes "I done did X" as in, "I done told her to cut that light off" or "I done did the dishes from supper" or "She done went to the store" and it makes me want to rip my ears off. Grrrrr.)
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2012, 04:55 PM
kunilou kunilou is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsura View Post
Our expletives are pretty standard, I'd think - they're the ones I've heard from growing up in Tennessee, though time in Maine, Ohio, Arizona and other states as well.
Standard, perhaps, but as the old story goes, you know you're talking to a Southerner when "shit" is a five-syllable word.
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:24 PM
ClintO ClintO is offline
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I've noticed in south texas, it seems you hear a pronounced "I" that I haven't heard anywhere else... For instance, Sprite, I've heard it pronounced, "sprought." I suppose it's regional but the folk from SE Oklahoma have a noticeable accent as well.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:12 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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There's a problem in asking any question about accents on a message board where very few people know how to write the pronunciations in IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) or any other system that precisely characterizes the pronunciation. The posters will have to try to talk about the accent using just ordinary English spelling. There's no way to correctly explain the pronunciation in ordinary English spelling though. Often then, someone will claim that people in region X say a particular word in some way, but someone from region X will insist that the people there don't say the word that way. In fact, the first person will be correct about the pronunciation, but they will have no way of explaining what that pronunciation sounds like using just ordinary English spelling.

Furthermore, it's not easy learning IPA. I have a master's degree in linguistics, but I didn't specialize in phonetics or phonology. To learn how to use IPA accurately, I would have to go back and take several courses in such subjects.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:17 AM
Dereknocue67 Dereknocue67 is offline
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I was born and continue to live in Virginia and never had an accent. The only trait I have is the use of the word, y'all as in "What are y'all doing today?". I love the word and will always use it.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:02 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simple homer View Post
I disagree. For almost 50 years I have traveled almost all the states and abroad, and no one has ever confused my Georgia accent with a Texas or Louisiana accent.
Let me just clarify what you seem to be saying here: you travelled abroad, and foreigners that you met while abroad knew that you had a Georgia accent as opposed to, say, a Texas accent? I think that merits a sceptical eyebrow:
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:14 AM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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I don't know where the lady is from at my dentist's office, but last week, she called to remind me about my appointment for "mah fillins." So yeah, ahm gettin' two fillins ta-morrah.
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  #24  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:32 AM
drastic_quench drastic_quench is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
There's a problem in asking any question about accents on a message board where very few people know how to write the pronunciations in IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) or any other system that precisely characterizes the pronunciation. The posters will have to try to talk about the accent using just ordinary English spelling. There's no way to correctly explain the pronunciation in ordinary English spelling though. Often then, someone will claim that people in region X say a particular word in some way, but someone from region X will insist that the people there don't say the word that way. In fact, the first person will be correct about the pronunciation, but they will have no way of explaining what that pronunciation sounds like using just ordinary English spelling.

Furthermore, it's not easy learning IPA. I have a master's degree in linguistics, but I didn't specialize in phonetics or phonology. To learn how to use IPA accurately, I would have to go back and take several courses in such subjects.
Sure, IPA is more precise, but everyone seems to be getting along just fine without it in this thread.
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  #25  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:40 AM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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I was born and have lived in or near Atlanta all my life. I have constantly been told I have no accent, by people who grew up in California. I know that I do and don't understand why they can't hear it. Most are surprised when I even tell them I was born here. No one living in Atlanta was born here, apparently.

Accents vary greatly regionally, no matter how small the region. My mother and her twin sister have different accents.

I don't say "suh" and "doah" but do say something close to "tommora".
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:52 AM
Labdad Labdad is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sister Vigilante View Post
I was born and have lived in or near Atlanta all my life. I have constantly been told I have no accent, by people who grew up in California. I know that I do and don't understand why they can't hear it. Most are surprised when I even tell them I was born here. No one living in Atlanta was born here, apparently.
I'm an Atlanta native, born to a mother from middle Tennesse and a father from east Tennessee (the accent from the two regions of Tennessee vary considerably).

I, too, have been told by people I have no accent, because I don't talk like a character from "The Dukes of Hazzard." (Like you, I say "tomorra")

But when I wento to live in Illinois for 12 years, I was constantly told I had an accent, so it's all in the hearing, I suppose.

W/re regional variances, I remember a New Yorker article about Georgia from 1976 commenting that the state is so big (largest state east of the Mississippi) that accents vary considerably. It pointed out that in the North Georgia mountains, the people in the Middle East who were behind the oil embargo were called "Uhrbs", while down in the far southwest part of the state they were referred to as "AY-rabs!"
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:25 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indistinguishable View Post
For more, read up on "rhoticity".
Why do you have to bring fried chicken into this? Racist.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:10 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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How do you deep fry chicken on a rhoticery?
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:13 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
How do you deep fry chicken on a rhoticery?
It's very hahd!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:52 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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Oddly enough, I tend to think of southern accents as those ones that over enunciate the R. Probably because that's the main accent around here.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:06 AM
Maggie the Ocelot Maggie the Ocelot is offline
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One of the most amusing conversations I've ever been part of was around 1990, discussing perfumes with two co-workers. One was a Black woman from Alabama, the other was a white woman from Boston. They each bought up the perfume "Red Door", but the woman from Alabama called it " Re-ah Doah" and the one from Boston called it "Reddowah" (as best as I can transliterate). Their accents were so different that they had no idea that they were discussing the same scent until I pointed it out to them.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:48 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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The southerner was probably saying re-ahd do-ah
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  #33  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:24 AM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dereknocue67 View Post
I was born and continue to live in Virginia and never had an accent. The only trait I have is the use of the word, y'all as in "What are y'all doing today?". I love the word and will always use it.
While I agree completely that the word 'y'all' is the only acceptable way to clearly state the plural of 'you', there is a value to efficiency and in some parts of Texas the question would be asked as "Where y'gəun?"

(And how did we get this far in the thread without the schwa sound?)
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:03 AM
CurtC CurtC is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dereknocue67 View Post
I was born and continue to live in Virginia and never had an accent.
If you're going to use humor, it helps to put a smiley at the end of it, otherwise someone might think you're being serious.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:06 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by cornflakes View Post
While I agree completely that the word 'y'all' is the only acceptable way to clearly state the plural of 'you...)
You-uns are wrong about that, as yous guys have at least two or three other option.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:09 PM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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Well, I didn't say that they weren't out there.....
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:31 PM
TheFifthYear TheFifthYear is offline
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W/re regional variances, I remember a New Yorker article about Georgia from 1976 commenting that the state is so big (largest state east of the Mississippi) that accents vary considerably.!"
Wait, what? Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida would like a word.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:41 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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Hmm- I've heard GA as the largest state east of the Mississippi from supposedly educated folks. I never thought to verify it by checking. I do know a guy who believes Maine is the state farthest east and the farthest north of the 48 contiguous states.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:46 PM
TheFifthYear TheFifthYear is offline
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Hmm- I've heard GA as the largest state east of the Mississippi from supposedly educated folks. I never thought to verify it by checking. I do know a guy who believes Maine is the state farthest east and the farthest north of the 48 contiguous states.
What's funny is that when I read that, it struck me as wrong, but the two states I had in mind (Illinois and New York) are, in fact, smaller than GA. Also, I found two listings of states by area, one that had Wisconsin ahead of Georgia and one that had it just behind. Not sure what accounts for the difference.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:02 PM
Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor of Aquitaine is online now
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Oddly enough, I tend to think of southern accents as those ones that over enunciate the R. Probably because that's the main accent around here.
I'm in Alabama, and that's what I hear, not dropped Rs. If I'm not paying attention then my "your" becomes "yur", not "yo-ah". My grandmother added Rs to words that didn't have them at all: "window" became "windur".
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:07 PM
Bytegeist Bytegeist is offline
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Originally Posted by TheFifthYear View Post
What's funny is that when I read that, it struck me as wrong, but the two states I had in mind (Illinois and New York) are, in fact, smaller than GA. Also, I found two listings of states by area, one that had Wisconsin ahead of Georgia and one that had it just behind. Not sure what accounts for the difference.
Using data from this table, Wisconsin is larger than Georgia in total area, but smaller in land area. (Some of Wisconsin's territory extends into the Great Lakes.)

But Michigan beats all the other states east of the Mississippi, if we go by total area.
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  #42  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:31 AM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
Let me just clarify what you seem to be saying here: you travelled abroad, and foreigners that you met while abroad knew that you had a Georgia accent as opposed to, say, a Texas accent? I think that merits a sceptical eyebrow:

The stereotypical Texan talks with a "cowboy" accent.
Many foreigners mimicking an American will use the cowboy accent, but no one has
told me that I have that accent.
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  #43  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:59 AM
Labdad Labdad is online now
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Originally Posted by Bytegeist View Post
But Michigan beats all the other states east of the Mississippi, if we go by total area.
But, using your table, if you go by land area, Georgia is larger than Michigan.
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