An ADS evaluation of dialects in movies?

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sat Nov 20 14:36:26 UTC 1999


First, you ain;t got nothing to worry about; of course it is not fading
(except in carpetbagger domains like Atlanta).

Second, why "antebellum"? Most of the evidence we have is that what we
think of as today's "Southern Accent" (with a few exceptions, r-lessness,
possibly /aI/ monophthongization) is a fairly recent phenomenon (and I
apologize for that old-fashioned singular; I know it has become
"phenomena"). In short (and I know this will horrify many daugheers and
sons of the South), most of the Civil War Confederates whom you love to
hear in the movies would have sounded a good deal more like what you call
"midwesterners" than any self-respecting southerner of today.

Course, it's hard to be self-respecting which a bunch of fools from the
north are always laughing at the way you talk.


At 9:54 PM -0500 11/19/99, BRITTANY M. BARBER wrote:
>You know what accent I'd like to see promoted before it shrivels
>up and dies, and every American talks like they're from the midwest?
>The old timey antebellum south mouth.  Do you predict it fading long
>gone within the next decade or so?

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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