r-lessness in American Dialects

Tom Kysilko pds at VISI.COM
Mon Aug 30 21:38:39 UTC 1999

A popular treatment of r-lessness (or, more strictly, r-lessness-lessness)
in Southern speech aired this past weekend on PRI's "This American Life
with Ira Glass".  The author of the segment, Mark Schone, complains that
actors and their dialect coaches who endeavor to reproduce "The Southern
Accent" invariably give us what he calls the "Foghorn Leghorn Accent".  (He
seems to be unaware of Senator Clagghorn.)  Special scorn is reserved for a
supposedly prominent dialect coach in NYC, one Sam Schwa.  (I'm not making
this up.)

The segment is available as a RealAudio file on the show's Web site:
Schone's segment is Act Three and begins at about minute 30.

Schone claims to have consulted with linguists.  Anyone want to 'fess up?

  Tom Kysilko        Practical Data Services
  pds at visi.com       Saint Paul MN USA

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