Heard on The Judges: interesting (only to me?) dialect

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 17 04:21:16 UTC 2008

Well, I've never heard him speak, so I can't say what my opinion would
of his speech would be. One's own interpretation of the way one's
speech sounds is untrustworthy. I once would have sworn that the
East-Texas-BE/WE country twang wasn't a feature of my Northernized
idiolect till I heard a tape of my speech and there I was, clearly
twanging away like a "bangjo," though I was consciously using my
Northernmost register, totally "devoid" of phonological Southernisms.

FWIW, my interpretation of the typical Southern pronunciation of "I,"
as used by both blacks and whites, is that it's a very low, unround,
front vowel that's not the same as Northern "I" minus the high
offglide. I.e., that's the way that I pronounce "I" in my Down-Home
register and the way that it strikes my ear when spoken by others.

But, since I'm fully aware that this is merely my opinion and nothing
else, there's no need for those who know better to take me to task,
Ron. :-)


On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 10:55 PM, sagehen <sagehen at westelcom.com> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Heard on The Judges: interesting (only to me?) dialect
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> on 5/16/08 4:22 PM, Wilson Gray at hwgray at GMAIL.COM wrote:
>> A late-thirty-ish, white, male speaker from North Carolina who spoke
>> with an almost-stereotypical, rale slow, Deep-Southern drawl, with
>> [daUg] for "dog," [hi at l] for "hill," etc., except that it was fully
>> r-ful. (By "Deep-Southern," I mean basically that part of the old
>> "Black Belt" South from South Carolina through East Texas.) The
>> speaker also used "woif (wife)  "roight" (right) "boik" (bike), etc.,
>> a feature so striking that it even drew my wife's attention, and
>> pronounced "I, my, lie," etc. so that they really did sound like "ah,
>> mah, lah."
>> It was only the second time that I had heard that type of
>> pronunciation used in real life. The only other person that I've ever
>> met who used "ah," etc., was from Georgia.
>> -Wilson
> ~~~~~~~~~~
> Would you consider Roy M. Blount Jr. as "real life?"  He lays claim to  "ah,
> mah, lah."   I think he is from Georgia, too, though I believe he's lived in
> the north (Connecticut, perhaps?) for many years.
> AM
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