Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Southern Drawl, Dixie Sprawl?

I left the North East when I was 22. I've lived in the Mid West for 16 years now. When I arrived in Minnesota, I had a terrible time making friends. The moment I said more than two sentences, I got a funny look and people would say "You're from back East, aren't you?", usually with a curl to their lip and a wrinkled nose.

I expediently adopted a generic southern accent, what one of my friends refers to as "military south". For some unknown reason, a southern accent was much more acceptable than an eastern one. Luckily I was raised by an Illinois mom and a Maine dad, so shifting dialects was fairly simple for me.

Imagine my delight to read this article, Hey Y'all, Is Southern Drawl Spreading? I have always been intrigued with accents and dialects. I tend to slip into whatever accent I'm hearing from the people around me, and I thought everyone else could do it, too. Evidently, there is a name for people like me, bidialectal. (Read the article, it explains everything.)

I chalk up the fact that people are tending toward a southern drawl way of speaking to the huge fan base Country music has acquired in the last 17 or so years. You can't listen to Country music and interviews with the people who sing Country songs without thinking "aw shucks, ma'am".

The Southern Drawl is one of the gentlest, most un-assuming dialects in America. It brings to mind Sweet Tea, Mint Juleps and a slower paced way of life. I picked it up as a method of self preservation, but I'm not sure it's such a bad thing.


Sara Spock said...

Hey! I followed you here from Jenna's Blog. Great topic. Good to know I'm not alone in my bidialectal-ness. :-)

Jenna said...

Yep, that's it! I do that, too. My friend told me I was a chameleon, but lookee there-- there's a real word for it!