Southern English

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Nov 24 14:34:12 UTC 2005

In a message dated Wed, 23 Nov 2005 21:36:56 -0500,  Wilson Gray
_hwgray at GMAIL.COM_ (mailto:hwgray at GMAIL.COM)

James A. Landau writes

>"For a long  time I thought it was not  "ro DAY o"
>but rather "ro  DALE".

I thought the same thing. It must be God's punishment for having  the bad
luck to have learned English behind the Cotton Curtain.
While Kentucky is definitely a Southern state, I would hardly call it
"behind the Cotton Curtain".  A cornpone-and-magnolia accent would stand  out there
as much as would an Appalachian accent (both were about equally  uncommon, in
my experience), and when I moved North people would ask "You're  from
Kentucky?  Where's your Southern accent?"

However, you bring up a good phonetic point.  In my personal speech  pattern,
there is very little difference between /l/ and /w/, e.g. people have  heard
me say "wife" for "life" or vice versa.  Is this typical for the  Louisville
area speech?  Or for Southern speech in general?

Asides: Ben Zimmer quoted "the "diversity of dialects" in the South,  with
obligatory references to "Appalachian twangs" and "Elizabethan  lilts"."

I too have heard the speech of the Appalachian mountaineers referred to  as
Elizabethan.  Considering that white settlement of the Appalachians did  not
really begin until after the tenth year of the Seven Years War, the  ancestors
of these mountaineers must have been in contact with the speech  patterns of
England up through the mid-1700's, and therefore should not the  Appalachian
dialect properly be called "Georgian"?

I asked my son (raised in New Jersey since age 2) how to pronounce  "rodeo".
He said it was /RO dee o/, and /ro DAY o/ "is the street in  California."

               - James A. Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list