AP on Southern "accent" reduction

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Nov 27 18:40:08 UTC 2005

Re: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051123/ap_on_re_us/southern_identity_accents_1

Quoting "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at MSU.EDU>:
> Erica Tobolski's accent wouldn't be welcome at my house either.

Celia Rivenbark of Myrtle Beach, SC, feels much the same way...

Posted on Sun, Nov. 27, 2005

CELIA RIVENBARK: Them's fightin' words to me

OK, my ox has now been gored, my tater has been fried, the red has indeed been
licked off my candy and, yes, I do have a dog in this fight.
Why am I so riled, madder than a wet settin' hen, as angry as a mule chewing
Well, I'd like to haul off and knock a certain University of South Carolina
professor so hard that when she stops a-rolling, her clothes will be out of
What could Erica Tobolski be thinking when she agreed to teach a class that
teaches students how to stop talking Southern and start using Standard American
Dialect? (Abbreviated, appropriately enough, as SAD.) This way, we can all sound
exactly alike. Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that just gooder'n grits and finer'n
frog's hair?
Of course it's not. The truth is, I wouldn't give Ms. Tobolski air if'n she was
trapped in a jug. Which it sounds to me like she may have been. For some time.
How else do you explain such oxygen-deprived plumb foolishness? I swear if that
woman's brains were dynamite, an explosion wouldn't even ruffle her hair on a
windy day.

--Ben Zimmer

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