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10 August 2006

The Drawl Strikes Back

The latter part of this summer, my son has been flexing his Southern drawl muscles sump’n fierce, which is strange mainly in that it’s been prominent enough for my wife and I to really notice. You see, though we are both North Carolinians, with parents who all have distinctive accents, we each grew up in suburban areas that tended to neuter our rightful inheritances. The combination of coming into contact with lots of regional transplants, standard speaking patterns in mass culture t.v.-radio-motion pictures (Sesame Street doesn’t do Southern), and a craven youthful fear of being seen as a hick beat a lot of the accent out of us, at least when compared with most rural North Carolinians. Now, we agree that we both like New Yorkers (and most other Yankees) quite a lot, unlike the parental generation in our families, who tolerate yanks but hate on them in private. But my wife was once rightly horrified when, as a teaching assistant, she was asked by a student if she was from New York because she "sounded like it" (she doesn’t). That was just too tough to take.

Now that I’m officially not a hick, I wish I had a little more accent. In fact, I’m ashamed at how pitiful mine is. I suppose to people not from ‘round these hyere parts, our accents are still detectable, but they are hardly thick. So why is my son pulling things out like, “Are we go-win’ to day-CAY-ump today?” or “Daddy, what's that on the gray-ound?” I’m going to give the credit to the girls that have been his Johnston County YMCA counselors/swimming instructors all summer. They are all quite countrified, and seem just as apple-pie wholesome as you could want young ladies to be. If we can’t give him a proper accent, maybe these Johnstonians can.
Hey, it takes a village, right?

1 comment:

Brad K. said...

With luck the Boy will be able to turn it on and off at will. That can be a very useful skill.

Welcome to the blogosphere, SMP.