AP on Southern "accent" reduction

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Nov 23 18:48:04 UTC 2005


Whither the Southern Accent?

By JEFFREY COLLINS and KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writers

COLUMBIA, S.C. - "Y'all" isn't welcome in Erica Tobolski's class in voice and
diction at the University of South Carolina. And forget about "fixin'," as in
getting ready to do something, or "pin" when talking about the writing

Tobolski's class is all about getting rid of accents, mostly Southern ones in
the heart of the former Confederacy, and replacing them with Standard American
Dialect, the uninflected tone of TV news anchors that oozes authority and

Interesting that the first two examples of Southern "accent" are lexical. The
article goes on to discuss the "diversity of dialects" in the South, with
obligatory references to "Appalachian twangs" and "Elizabethan lilts".

--Ben Zimmer

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