Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Say Goodbye to your Southern Accent?

Recently I read an article in the Macon {Georgia} Telegraph "Gosh Dang.  What is wrong with a Southern Accent?"  I discovered while reading the article that there's a book out entitled "Say Goodbye to your Southern Accent."  The book's authors, Jennifer Adams and Joanna Chapman run a firm called Atlanta Accent Management.  These ladies are helping Southerners lose their Southern accents, and they are based in Atlanta...of all places.

  



Lord have mercy, this all reminds me of the scene in Gone With the Wind when Rhett and Scarlett are riding through a burning Atlanta...



Rhett tells Scarlett, "Take a good look my dear.  It's an historic moment, you can tell your grandchildren about how you watched the Old South fall one night."

 I cannot believe that people in the South want to lose their Southern drawl.  Learning proper grammar is one thing, but losing your Southern accent?!  When I lived outside the U.S., I had to enuciate my words better so that people could understand me.  One day I called home and my Daddy said "Why are you talking like that?"  I said "Like what?"  He said "Like a Yankee!"  I said "I'm NOT talking like a Yankee!"  But I guess that I had lost a bit of my Southern accent...not intentionally!  You can bet that I regrouped and went back to my Southern way of speaking.

Apparently, there a lot of folks who love a Southern accent!  Read this article Hey Y'all: Southern Accents Voted Most Attractive.  There are also books that teach you how to speak Southern..."How To Speak With a Southern Accent" and "The Dixie Dictionary."

The author of the above mentioned newspaper article, Mr. Dick Yarbrough, goes on to talk about his successful career...with his Southern drawl and all!  I can tell y'all that I never had any complaints about my Southern accent during my working years.  Of course, I was often asked "Can you just talk for us?"

So what do y'all think?  Would you try to change your accent or do you think practicing proper grammar is sufficient?

24 comments:

Piper Ellice said...

When I lived in NY during elementary school, children made fun of my accent and my "y'all", and said that all people from Georgia lived on farms. Being from Atlanta, I had never even seen a farm. I stopped saying "y'all", but thankfully picked it back up with a vengeance when we returned South. I probably overuse it now! I've also found my accent has gotten stronger with age, which also corresponds with living in the Deep South/Coastal Empire.

AC Thomas said...

When I first moved to Baltimore, a woman (you notice I do not say 'lady')in the grocery store advised to me lose that accent asap if I was going to live here, because she said, "It makes you sound dumb."
I won't repeat here what I told her HER accent made her sound like, but I think I made my point.
And I haven't lost my accent, which is a lovely hybrid of my daddy's NC drawl and my mother's Appalachian Mountain lilt.

Farrah said...

Here in Atlanta, most do not speak with a Southern accent because of the Northerners that have moved here. I only bring mine out when I'm around those with one as well, or when I'm in Kentucky.

Kathie Truitt said...

When I started my broadcast career I was told to 'lose it'. I figured out that if I turned my headphones up really loud I could hear my own voice and learn to annunciate better'. It eventually worked.
However, don't make me mad or get me all riled up. Then it comes back.

Jewel Sauls said...

I think my Southern accent is helpful in business. When I am on a conference call and someone questions why we must follow a procedure that they are unfamiliar with because it's NC law, I think I can explain it better with my native accent (with proper grammar, of course)! I have lived here all my life and sound like it and KNOW NC like no transplant could. #notlosingmydrawlyall

Seersucker Sass said...

When I took acting lessons, I learned how to speak without such a thick accent. As I've gotten older, I've learned to embrace my accent! I would much rather have my drawl than sound like I'm talking out of my nose!

XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

Lisa Bolling said...

Lawd have mercy!!! Who would want to lose their Southern accent?? I can't imagine! I am proud of my Southern accent and my Southern upbringing. I love all things Southern, including accents.

Mona said...

Y'all that's just wrong! It wouldn't be the South without sweet tea, and the charming Southern drawl.

AngelaV said...

Goodness gracious! No!

carolyn said...

I'm an English teacher and have lived in the South forever. I speak correctly and don't try to temper my accent. I pepper my sentences with colloquial words but always speak correctly. I'm educated, Southern, and proud to represent myself as such. Y'all have a nice day!

Maggie said...

I think it would be a truly sad thing if we all sounded the same. As a native New Yorker (Westchester County) transplanted to North Carolina, I think there are lots of NY (Noo Yawk) accents that sound far less educated/genteel/whatever than most southern accents. Personally, I'm a blend :)

Ginger said...

Originally from Memphis, I have lived in NC,PA,NJ and St. Louis (twice). In St. Louis, some questions about my accent take on an almost derogatory quality. My best comeback- to those that are downright rude has been, "Just remember, dialect is not a disorder!" The funniest came from a woman with a heavy French Canadian accent. She asked me if I was from Belgium. Go figure!

Miss Janice said...

Why do people think that everybody in the South lives on a farm? Not that there's anything wrong with that y'all!

Miss Janice said...

The Southern accent is the sweetest sound!

Miss Janice said...

The fact that most people in Atlanta don't speak with a Southern accent makes me sad!

Miss Janice said...

And I bed you have a real Southern drawl when you want to!

Miss Janice said...

Thank you for proving that you can keep your Southern accent in the workplace!

Miss Janice said...

Thank you and I'm sure you sound just fine!

Miss Janice said...

I cannot imagine such a thing either!

Miss Janice said...

Amen Mona!

Miss Janice said...

Agree:)

Miss Janice said...

Carolyn,
I can imagine the sound of your sweet voice:)

Miss Janice said...

Proper grammar is important for all of us:)

Miss Janice said...

I bet you have a wonderful Memohis accent. We have a home there and I love the mid-South dialect!