Columbia News Service on Southern accents

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 25 21:55:59 UTC 2006

FWIW, it seems to me to be the case that even those Southerners who
have modified their speech in the direction of the non-specific norm
find themselves unable to give up "y'all," even though they may
"correct" it to "you-all." A case in point is Katie Couric.

Among blacks, at least, there appear to be two distinct dialects: one
in  which "y'all" occurs in every possible environment and another one
in which an introductory "y'all" is followed by "you." This second
dialect is thee one that I use.

Hey, y'all! Hi y'all doin'?

Hey, y'all! Hi ya doin'?


On 5/25/06, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Columbia News Service on Southern accents
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is certainly better than the AP story last November on Southern
> accent reduction, though it adheres to the usual vague folk
> descriptions of the Southern "twang/drawl." Walt Wolfram, Patricia
> Cukor-Avila, and Dennis Preston are quoted.
> Some Southerners work to erase accent as others drawl with pride
> By Cody Lyon
> Columbia News Service
> Published May 25, 2006
> [...]
> The added syllables, twangs and the occasional drop of an "r" or "g"
> from certain words are part of a diverse linguistic culture that
> blends class, race and geography, and remains -- despite demographic
> shifts and a pervasive national media -- as strong as ever, linguists
> say.
> As the South continues to come to terms with its complicated past,
> many Southerners are embracing the twangs, drawls and vernacular of
> the region as part of their heritage.
> "Increasingly, Southerners are adopting a kind of dialect defiance
> that is proudly different" said Walt Wolfram, a linguistics professor
> at North Carolina State University.
> [...]
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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