Does Southern speech suck?

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Apr 2 17:38:30 UTC 2002

Newspaper columnists are a good source of pro and con comments on Southern,
hillbilly, black, etc. speech.  I have an old column by James Kilpatrick
(politely decrying Black English) and one by Mike Royko (mocking BE so
viciously that I wonder why he was so uniformly praised after he died); and
a student recently gave me a column by Bob Sanders of the Opelika-Auburn
News.  Sanders talks nostalgically about the loss of R-lessness in
southern  kids and the loss of final R in his "hillbilly" kin (as in
'winders') and adds "Alas, we're all starting to sound like Peter Jennings."

And long before Clinton, negative comments appeared regularly on LBJ and
Jimmy Carter.

At 11:54 AM 4/2/02 -0500, you wrote:
>RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>>One of my colleagues sent me the following inquiry. Can anyone help? I am
>>momentarily (?) stumped.
>>>  One of my students wants to look at negative attitudes
>>>  towards Southern speech for her next writing project but,
>>>  although we can
>>>  find plenty of linguistic analyses of it, we cannot find any emotional
>>>  editorials either declaiming or supporting Southern speech. Any hints
>>>  you could give us?
>I don't think you'd find a lot of editorials explicitly on this
>topic. However, you might find throwaway comments about southern
>speech in articles about the Bubbaization of US politics during the
>Clinton administration. I remember a lot of such articles when
>Clinton was first running, and some of them included comments about
>linguistic forms. Another place to look is for criticisms of Dan
>Rather's folksy (or pseudo-folksy?) expressions.
>Alice Faber                                             faber at
>Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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