Friday, October 16, 2009

Southern Accents...Yes There is More Than One

Jonathan Dishon
Dr. Hughes
October 16, 2009

When looking at the different websites and how they treat the Southern accent I found that two of the websites leaned more towards the Southern accent being monolithic and the other two leaned more towards there being more than one style of a Southern accent. “The Glossary of Quaint Southernisms” by Dr. Goodword was one of the examples of a website being slanted more towards the South having a monolithic accent. This website has many “southernisms” but some of the words and sayings I have never heard before in my life, which has been spent almost entirely in the South. Now none of the websites that promote the monolithic Southern dialect do so in a harsh way, but they are still incorrect. The southernisms in the glossary are from all over the South and many states in the South do not share common southernisms. This is because many of the states have different influences that help to establish their own dialect. For example, common sayings in Louisiana may not be common in Texas or Tennessee because there are different influences in their respective dialects. These different influences show that there is no single monolithic Southern dialect, but multiple dialects throughout the South. The Wikipedia source was a good example of the different styles of dialects throughout the South. Rosina Lippi-Green states, “Southerners exhibit insecurity about their language and a willingness to accept responsibility for poor communication or bad language (213).” Now this is a highly different approach to saying the South has a monolithic accent then any of the websites. The websites were subtle in their approach and tried to incorporate fun so that the message would not be so straight forward. Rosina Lippi-Green on the other hand does not try and sugar coat things and just comes and states that there is a monolithic dialect and that it is wrong; when in fact she is wrong in her statement that we are insecure about our language and that our dialect is wrong. First off, Southerners are a very proud people so they would not just give in and admit their language is wrong. Also there is no official standard for language yet, so her suggestion that there is only one Southern dialect and that it is wrong is unsupported and incorrect. Again the Wikipedia source can be used to show the varieties of Southern dialects and how they are used every day and are accepted by everyone because there is no wrong language. In conclusion all of these sources had their own takes on the debate of a monolithic Southern accent and all of them showed great examples both for and against their choice of whether there is a monolithic accent or not, but just for the record there is more than one Southern accent.

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