My Accent

Since I spent the first 27 years of my life in Mississippi, I have a bit of a southern accent. Although, I lost quite a bit of it while i was living in the blandly accented Pacific Northwest, I seem to have gained a bit of it again living in Germany.

The most noticable aspect probably are my vowels, which i'll try to appoximate here. They are all diphthongs except for the vowel I.

Perhaps, the most noticeable aspect of the southern accent is the use these and other diphthongs. Often where most Americans would place a simple vowel, I will substitute a diphthong, and vice-versa. Using these vowels makes a southerner's speach have alot of somewhat melodic dips and glides in his words.

Although, I still pedantically pronounce my wh's differently than my w's, and my back low vowels differently than my middle high vowels. I.e., cot != caught, and witch != which; weather != whether; wale != whale. I also tend to pronounce the l's in such words as help, walk, and talk. This seems to be especially true when I talk slowly.

I generally pronounce en the same as in and em the same as im. Thus, pin and pen are indistinguishable, as are gem and Jim. This should not seem strange when you realize that almost everyone pronounces er and ir the same.

For me, the present indicative verb conjugation is as follows.

                I   go        we   go
                you go        yall go
                it  goes      they go

I prefer double modals to the more awkward, standard American expressions. E.g., I'd say, "I might could do that," rather than, "I might be able to do that."

Another interesting aspect of modals is that the word have is pronounced differnelty when it means must than when it means posess or as an auxiliary verb.

Southerners use several words and expressions which were commonplace to English at one time but have fallen out of todays standard usage. Three examples quickly come to mind.

Also, it seems that many times the t's will become d's or become glottal stops or simple disappear altogether. That should not seem so unusual if you think of words such as listen or soften.
Click on Jezabel to return to jimka's homepage...