Monday, July 30, 2007

Bless your heart! In which I drawl with the best of them.

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.



    Mine came out as "Middling." Or something similarly boring.

  2. I am a total accent sponge. It can be kind of embarrasing.

    When I was 9, my family had a condo in NC. Bear in mind that I was raised in DE, and both my parents are from NY state (mom raised in Brooklyn, no less). We were at a furniture store looking around, and had been there for an hour or two when one of the sales ladies came over to chat with me.

    "Aynd howolder yeu?" she asked (or something that sounded roughly like that). I looked at her, smiled, and said,
    "Ahm nahn."

    Mom couldn't get me out of that store fast enough. Things like that have been happening to me my whole life.

  3. I grew up where people speak with a sort of Midwestern country, Hoosier twang. Then I went to college with a bunch of kids from the Chicago Region. They teased me and I lost the accent.

    Then I studied languages with French being my primary language of choice. Turns out I spoke Italian, German and Hebrew with a French accent!

    I guess I'm a sponge, too.

    We've been down here for four years, but I'm not comfortable saying the following:
    fixin'to = getting ready to
    Coke = any carbonated beverage
    ImporDant = important
    Sinnance = sentence
    Ill = angry

    On the flip side, tea is sweet, you guys are y'all and I might could say "I reckon we might could do that......"

  4. OMG, I have that problem, too. Thank your lucky stars you picked up a cute southern drawl instead of the hideous accent associated with my region, Lisa. **groan**

    Did you get to meet Soledad O'Brien? :)

  5. As a native Texan, I've never understood what one should say instead of "yall", "fixin" or "over yonder". You all? Yall sounds better.

    Soledad - love her. Am jealous you have such a cool job.

  6. Carolina sucks.

    Go Duke!!

  7. Jordaan - Cool! I'll check that out later.

    WiB - That's a great story! I bet your mom was embarrassed.

    DCup - You do sound like a sponge. There are a ton of good southern expressions. And I love sweet tea!

    Almost - I don't recally you having an accent. Certainly not an unattractive one! And no - my boss did and I didn't. Grr.

    HKW - I love using y'all, I really do. It works so well. And I don't really. But sometimes I get to meet cool people.

    Anon - I hated Carolina.

  8. that is hilarious. i actually enjoy the "y'all", but feel like a poseur using it myself. i mean, i'm from new england. it's just not right :)

    but it's such a great alternative to "you guys." maybe i'll have to try to get over my inauthenticity neuroses!


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