The Fox Report on American Dialects

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Nov 29 03:23:28 UTC 2005

This afternoon the Fox News Channel tackled the issue of Southerners paying experts to overhaul their dialects for them.  I missed most of the story, but this much is probably representative ( though slightly paraphrased from memory ) :

  Jane :  The thing they say is vanishing is the "Vowel Shift." For example, you [in the South] say  / E: r / , but I say / E: r / ?  But what's sticking around is the double modal construction....

  Shep :  Whatever that is !

  Jane : "might could."

  Shep :  There are folks at home in Mississippi who can tell an Arkansas accent or Alabama.... And here in New York there's Brooklyn, Connecticut, New Jersey, and they're all different.

  Jane :  Yes, you can hear a difference.  But you know how people say I talk ?  Like I have frozen peas up my nose.

  Shep : Frozen peas ! ?

  Jane : In Iowa and Minnesota it's called frozen peas in the nose.


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