Oh, y'all - I mean, you guys - I have been y'all-ing and drawling up and down here. I haven't hit the "Bless her heart!" stage, and I haven't been "I reckon-ing," but given another week, I certainly would.
I slide into accents really quickly. Even though I didn't love my time at Chapel Hill, I picked up a southern drawl, as well as a variety of southernisms, right quick.
I'd say "Ha-ay!" as a greeting. I still say "hey" but now it has one syllable. I started saying "Ma'am." I'd call older people Miss + first name. Like, Miss Dot. "Hay-ay Miss Dot! How are yew?"
And once I graduated, it took me forever to get rid of that accent. Honestly. For years after I'd stopped drawling in my normal conversations, it would come out as soon as I had a drink. And still, if I'm in DC but have had a drink and am talking to someone who has one, I will slip into it so quickly. Incidentally, I slide into Indian inflection really easily as well. This is a little harder to explain to your average person.
I still, if I'm not careful, say UMbrella. You know, instead of umBRELLa. Like I grew up saying. Same with FRAHday instead of Friday. And fahve instead of five. And probably a multitude of things I don't even realize. Every once in a while I say "might could." You know, to express more doubt than just "maybe" conveys.
I didn't realize the whole drawl takeover had happened until I was in the elevator yesterday with some meeting attendees. Soledad O'Brien - who I love love love - spoke yesterday morning. Two of the people noticed my logo shirt (because, um, everyone looks so great in logo polo shirts?).
We chatted a bit, and they asked what my role was at the meeting. They had very heavy southern accents. I told them that most of the time I'd been working with our speakers. They said they'd been so impressed with Soledad O'Brien. They were huge fans.
And I said, "Y'all, ah know! Ah just luuuv her!"
Seriously. It came out of nowhere. And I twitched a bit, realizing they might think I was making fun. And immediately realized, when they agreed with me, that I just sounded normal to them.