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Accents

September 30, 2006

Desperate for a topic to post on, I’ve decided to borrow a topic that Jane Ann brought up in an e-mail. “Funny, but this morning in the shower, she said, “I got to thinking about our voices.” She has been wondering what we bloggers sound like, who has a New England accent, who sounds like a Valley Girl and so forth. So this will be a story about the evolution of my accent.

Because, you see, I always thought that I had no accent. I just talk normal. It’s all the folks around me that talk funny. 😉

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But while I was living in Scottsdale, Arizona, a neighbor asked me if I was from Chicago.

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No, but I am from Indianapolis, which is southeast of Chicago. I was amazed that she could pin point it even that close. Hm-m-m, maybe I do have an accent.

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While living in Hawaii I was deeply immersed in accents. I picked up a few of the local words there, such as “da kine” and “mauka” and makai”. But I never did pick up the Pidgin English prevalent there. It was like a foreign language to me. Most of the time I couldn’t even understand it, let alone speak it. My husband picked Pidgin up the first week we were there. He was so good at it the locals thought that he was a local. I was always a haole (outsider).

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We’ve been here in San Antonio 8 years now and I definately hear the Texas drawl creeping into my speech. I’ll say something like “y’all” or, even worse, “all y’all” and I’ll think, “YIKES, where did that come from?” The funny thing is, I can’t figure out what I would have said in it’s place before we moved here!!

So I must sound like a Midwesterner, with an icing of Texan drawl and a sprinkling of Pidgin. I wonder what the future holds.

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9 comments

  1. My brother moved from Canada to Chicago and when we visited after about 5 years I said to his wife that his accent was changing. She said, “Yeah, he’s startin’ to lose his accent”. Here I thought he was developing one! Lol. It’s all in the ear of the hearer.


  2. Interesting post! As an English teacher who’s lived all over the place, I wonder what I sound like these days!! I have a smattering of New England (wicked) and UK (increasingly holiday, rather than vacation) vocab words sprinkled in and occasionally do something weird with my Rs. Sometimes I even pronounce water like I did as an elementary school student in New Jersey! Love the pictures in your post, too!


  3. As an “auslander” from Fredericksburg, TX, I’m always amused how “real” Texans are always “fixin’ to,” i.e. “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.” Also, I didn’t realize that y’all had a plural, but it is all y’all.

    No matter where I have lived, I’ve always kept my nasal Hoosier twang.

    Ila


  4. Fun post, Deb. Here’s my response: http://sewgrand.blogspot.com/2006/09/vive-la-difference.html

    Jane Ann


  5. We know Yankees around here because their version of “all y’all” is “you guys.”


  6. This is an interesting topic. Actually, I’m not surprised that man could place your accent because I think Midwesterners have very distinctive accents. It’s odd that people aren’t usually aware of that though. I personally sound very nasal–a combination of Missouri and Indiana is not attractive! But have you noticed the age related accent? Many young people seem to have a strange voice that I think is called by holding the jaw stiff when they talk. Does anyone else hear this? I don’t think it’s regional.


  7. No, not all y’all!!! OMG!

    One thing I noticed when I lived in Chic that absolutely drove me nuts was using No at the end of a sentence to make it a question.

    “You are going to the store, no?”
    Everything had “no” attached.

    I have finally given up on the “ain’t” battle here. I don’t like it and don’t use it but everyone else seems to use it. Ain’t it, true?


  8. As a “transplanted” Texan, I still have a bit of my “Texas Drawl”, but with a sprinkling of Georgian, Coloradian, and now Washingtonion thrown in. My Texas accent gets worse when I call home and REALLY bad when I go home for a visit.


  9. Great post. When I first came to California people always asked me where I was from (Ohio) because I had a midwestern accent. I couldn’t hear it, but they could.



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