A quick audio lesson on Southern Linguistics.
Press play. Trust me on this one.
I love linguistics
THIS PERSON IS A GOT-DAMN GENIUS
It’s like she transforms from a pious aristocrat to a sassy black woman.
She’s absolutely right. Dialects have nothing to do with one’s mental capacity.
Many Southerners, like many people, are ignorant on their own merits.
It’s interesting to hear how the accents slowly transmogrify. French morphing into Creole/Cajun is a pretty straightforward one that’s easy to identify, but the Tidewater/Drawl out of the British accent was something I wasn’t aware of before. I notice it did seem to come out of what would be Britain’s “middle to upper class” educated posh sound, because I would assume that the majority of those immigrating to the American south would have been wealthy owners of farms and large areas of land. By comparison, the Massachusetts/Boston accent with it’s broad vowels and dropped r’s have more in common with the voices of the working classes of Britain, the tradesmen and the sailors and the shopworkers. Cockney English drops trailing r’s in an extremely similar way, and I bet if you give Boston’s accent enough time, it’ll probably turn “th” into “f” as well.
1) This makes me realize more people should take linguistics classes (*special snowflake*). Also, I do think that when people generalize about the South being of the sucking variety, it’s because of generalized ideological views and not accents? But this (accent != intelligence) is still a good point to reinforce.
2) So, actually, the American mid-Atlantic accent is more like what the Brits sounded like (at least in the time of Shakespeare). You can hear a linguist’s take on Romeo and Juliet and some sonnets here. It has to do with what Britannica tells me is called “colonial lag,” wherein the accent of colonists changes more slowly than it does in the motherland. Considering Shakespeare died in like 1610 or something, the 1600-1700 American settlement span is still more closely relevant to him than to modern day Britain.
I bring this up because some people don’t understand the concept that what we think of today as a British accent isn’t what a British accent was when we (‘MURRICA) were being settled, and therefore that the American accents derived from that old-British-accent are probably closer to the original than the “posh”, polished accent the Thames River valley is known for now.
Just here to, you know, add some nuance to this audio file.