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Author Topic: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect  (Read 25800 times)

J N Winkler

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #50 on: June 06, 2013, 11:27:13 PM »

Security goon honestly thought he caught a set of terrorists because we slur the T into a D and answered "both" when he asked  "which is is then?". To be fair though the security goon wasn't himself English and English clearly wasn't his first language. But it's not a problem limited to the UK. I've had similarly stupid runins with our idiotic TSA.

I am curious as to the context in which this goon was encountered--was it secondary inspection at the gate?  (I think this is now required, at least on a sampling basis, for all US-bound flights.)  My experience has been that not all passengers are subjected to this inspection and the selection seems to be based on how the passenger handles a verbal exchange that occurs when he or she hands over his or her passport and boarding card at the entrance to the waiting area.  I always get selected for secondary inspection because they have no idea how to handle deaf people.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #51 on: June 07, 2013, 07:33:35 AM »

Security goon honestly thought he caught a set of terrorists because we slur the T into a D and answered "both" when he asked  "which is is then?". To be fair though the security goon wasn't himself English and English clearly wasn't his first language. But it's not a problem limited to the UK. I've had similarly stupid runins with our idiotic TSA.

I am curious as to the context in which this goon was encountered--was it secondary inspection at the gate?  (I think this is now required, at least on a sampling basis, for all US-bound flights.)  My experience has been that not all passengers are subjected to this inspection and the selection seems to be based on how the passenger handles a verbal exchange that occurs when he or she hands over his or her passport and boarding card at the entrance to the waiting area.  I always get selected for secondary inspection because they have no idea how to handle deaf people.

The usual process at LHR is document check, exit immigration checks (very rarely), the security checkpoint, then at the gate checks for US bound flights. This goon was set up after the document check but before the unused booths for exit immigration and was doing a short, informal interview with every passenger. I assume he was doing the same thing the TSA Behavior Detection Officers do. It wasn't the usual questions about who packed your luggage. It was questions like "where are you headed", "please say your whole name", "what were you doing in the UK", and "when's your birthday". He worked for the company running the security checkpoint, not the UKBA or any other government agency.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #52 on: June 07, 2013, 09:52:09 AM »

If y'all want WAY too much information about North American speech patterns, try this link (don't bother viewing on a mobile phone, the maps are way too big; they're probably too big for an iPad-size screen as well):

http://aschmann.net/AmEng/#SmallMapUnitedStates
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #53 on: June 07, 2013, 09:55:57 AM »

The London pronunciation would "dough'ee".
1)which London accent? ;) OK, it could be treated as fractal (certainly in times past, each town and village had their own accent), and non-locals struggle to split accents - for instance I can't tell Geordie and Mackham apart. I don't think anyone but Geordies and Mackhams (people from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland respectively) can, but there's a good few native London accents (ie not first gen immigrants).
2)which sounds not very dissimilar to "dough-dee" in a 'London accent'.
Quote
At least I don't have a "th" in my name that folks from the SE would pronounce with an 'f'!
No, there's a very subtle difference in most SErn accents (Cockney being the exception). Like between bath and barth*, it is hard to distinguish for those who don't have the accent.

*not the Swiss theologian that is pronounced 'Bart'
Quote
To be fair though the security goon wasn't himself English and English clearly wasn't his first language.
South Asian English accents over-pronounce 'T' (and other hard consonants), just as London area English accents under-pronounce it.

Second Generation immigrants have the local accent.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #54 on: June 07, 2013, 10:25:35 AM »

The usual process at LHR is document check, exit immigration checks (very rarely), the security checkpoint, then at the gate checks for US bound flights. This goon was set up after the document check but before the unused booths for exit immigration and was doing a short, informal interview with every passenger. I assume he was doing the same thing the TSA Behavior Detection Officers do. It wasn't the usual questions about who packed your luggage. It was questions like "where are you headed", "please say your whole name", "what were you doing in the UK", and "when's your birthday". He worked for the company running the security checkpoint, not the UKBA or any other government agency.

Thank you for the explanation--this is completely outside my own experiences at Heathrow, where the usual sequence has been as you describe, except the one time I encountered an exit control was downstream of the security checkpoint and consisted solely of a UKBA officer seated at a raised desk, visually examining passports without making any stamps in them.  (I haven't tried it myself, but I suspect it is possible to clear the pre-security document check with boarding card alone; most people usually extend both boarding card and passport, the latter usually being ignored.)  I was also under the impression that security screeners in the UK are employed directly by the government, while the personnel who handle secondary inspections at the gate are contractors hired by the airlines in order to comply with a US government mandate for enhanced inspections prior to the departure of any US-bound flight.  (Since this obligation rests on any airline that wishes to be allowed to operate scheduled flights to the US, it is a way for the US to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction without formally encroaching on the sovereignty of the countries from which US-bound flights depart.)

I can't imagine the security goon coping well with a deaf person extending a passport, pointing at his ears, and making "Please write it down" gestures in response to every verbal question.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #55 on: June 07, 2013, 11:03:36 AM »

The thing that struck me about the survey was the timing of it, in relation to the results.  As best as I can tell, the survey was compiled within a modern context (2012-13).

I grew up in Connecticut in the 70's and 80's, an era in which regional accents were IMO much stronger in difference.  Nowadays, a slightly southern drawl is much more common across the country than it ever was back then, as is a general movement toward speaking in a more "neutral" accent.

What I'm saying is that in circa 1978, I spoke just like nearly everyone else in my area.  In 2013, my accent isn't as harsh as it once was, partially from moving around the country, partially because of this general movement toward the neutral accent as I got older.  It's becoming rarer and rarer that you will hear people speaking like Fran Drescher or like this, unless someone is intentionally exaggerating an accent for the sake of comedy...
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #56 on: June 07, 2013, 02:32:38 PM »

1)which London accent? ;) OK, it could be treated as fractal (certainly in times past, each town and village had their own accent), and non-locals struggle to split accents - for instance I can't tell Geordie and Mackham apart. I don't think anyone but Geordies and Mackhams (people from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland respectively) can, but there's a good few native London accents (ie not first gen immigrants).
2)which sounds not very dissimilar to "dough-dee" in a 'London accent'.

I was referring to a Ricky Gervais or Simon Pegg style accent. I admittedly don't have the ear for English accent variants like you do but that way of speaking seems prevalent in London. Ricky's is almost a cartoon of the accent.

Quote
Quote
At least I don't have a "th" in my name that folks from the SE would pronounce with an 'f'!
No, there's a very subtle difference in most SErn accents (Cockney being the exception). Like between bath and barth*, it is hard to distinguish for those who don't have the accent.

*not the Swiss theologian that is pronounced 'Bart'
Quote
To be fair though the security goon wasn't himself English and English clearly wasn't his first language.
South Asian English accents over-pronounce 'T' (and other hard consonants), just as London area English accents under-pronounce it.

Second Generation immigrants have the local accent.

I was referring to the habit of Londoners to say things like "Norf" instead of "North" or "Fink" instead of "Think". That's more of an urban working class accent from what I can tell. In this case, think Mickey from Doctor Who.

You're correct that it's hard for Americans to differentiate between English accents. We have trouble with our own though also. New York City and Boston sound alike to me, and I'll bet most northerners and foreigners struggle to differentiate between a Georgia accent and a Texas accent.

The usual process at LHR is document check, exit immigration checks (very rarely), the security checkpoint, then at the gate checks for US bound flights. This goon was set up after the document check but before the unused booths for exit immigration and was doing a short, informal interview with every passenger. I assume he was doing the same thing the TSA Behavior Detection Officers do. It wasn't the usual questions about who packed your luggage. It was questions like "where are you headed", "please say your whole name", "what were you doing in the UK", and "when's your birthday". He worked for the company running the security checkpoint, not the UKBA or any other government agency.

Thank you for the explanation--this is completely outside my own experiences at Heathrow, where the usual sequence has been as you describe, except the one time I encountered an exit control was downstream of the security checkpoint and consisted solely of a UKBA officer seated at a raised desk, visually examining passports without making any stamps in them.  (I haven't tried it myself, but I suspect it is possible to clear the pre-security document check with boarding card alone; most people usually extend both boarding card and passport, the latter usually being ignored.)  I was also under the impression that security screeners in the UK are employed directly by the government, while the personnel who handle secondary inspections at the gate are contractors hired by the airlines in order to comply with a US government mandate for enhanced inspections prior to the departure of any US-bound flight.  (Since this obligation rests on any airline that wishes to be allowed to operate scheduled flights to the US, it is a way for the US to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction without formally encroaching on the sovereignty of the countries from which US-bound flights depart.)

I can't imagine the security goon coping well with a deaf person extending a passport, pointing at his ears, and making "Please write it down" gestures in response to every verbal question.

TSA pulls this nonsense at times also, although they usually have the document checker do it. If I'm not in a hurry, when they order me to state my name, I usually point to it on the ID and say "it's right there". Sometimes they laugh and let me go, sometimes they repeat themselves which I'll follow up with a "can't you read?". One of my coworkers intentionally says something different than what's on his ID. When the TSA person gets alarmed and points out that what's on the drivers license is different, he'll respond with "That's how it's spelled. I'm free to pronounce it however I like". If we can get through pulling crap like that, I'm sure someone deaf would get through without difficulty.

I was polite to the guy in the UK. As much as I may protest and hassle the TSA, in other countries, I'm a guest and they're free to run things however they like.

I don't know who employees the airport screeners in the UK. They may be government employees or they may be contractors. But you're correct about the airline contracted security for the gate checks. Delta uses ISec for that in most parts of the world.

My LHR flying has always been through T4 and I've only seen exit immigration checks once. It was quick. All he did was look through my passport for my entry stamp and then sent me on my way. I was wearing an Arsenal shirt at the time so we talked about them while he was looking for the stamp.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 03:39:15 PM by realjd »
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jwolfer

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #57 on: June 07, 2013, 03:27:19 PM »

....

To be frank, many of the map headings (which I presume were generated by the journalists for public presentation, not by the sociolinguistics researchers themselves, who would have been much more conscious of the need for neutral point of view) rubbed me the wrong way since they implied a particular regional usage is or should be normative.

Agreed; the heading on the map showing the word "been" annoyed me. It says, "Residents of the far North have an oddly Canadian way of pronouncing 'been.'" It shows people in Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan pronouncing it with a short "e," kind of like the name "Ben." I grew up in the DC area and my parents are from Brooklyn and I've almost always heard it pronounced that way. The "bin" pronunciation strikes me as odd because there's no "i" in the word.

I note that on "y'all" they didn't distinguish between "y'all" and "all y'all." "Y'all" can be singular or indefinite; "all y'all" is always plural in that it includes everyone in a group, whereas "y'all" might include a smaller subset. ("Y'all" is one usage I definitely adopted during my years down at Duke because it's useful. It also seems to annoy people from up North for no apparent reason.)

They could have added the pronunciation of names like "Oregon," "Nevada," and "Monroe" as well. I think ultimately with a lot of these things most people grow up using the term (in the case of things like soda or the highway) or the pronunciation (in the case of things like "been") that their parents used. Of course, I suppose you also have things where your parent has some weird pronunciation that you'd be appalled to have anyone else hear. For some reason my father always insisted that the word "booger" is pronounced with the "oo" not as in "book" (the way everyone says it, including the character in Revenge of the Nerds) but rather as in "boolean." Think of the word "boo" (as in, what you do when you don't like the ref's call) and append "ger" to it. I'll never as long as I live forget the day my father, who was the Scoutmaster of our Boy Scout troop, used that word at a patrol leaders' council meeting and one of the other kids immediately yelled, "What the HELL is a 'BOO-ger'???!!!!!" Of course we all started laughing at my father, who couldn't figure it out and claimed that both pronunciations sound the same to him.

Y'all is not singular.  It can be used when one person represents a larger group.  I see my friend Tony and say " hey why don't Y'ALL come by and watch the game"  that would mean he and his wife and kids... If I wanted Tony to come over for a guys nite watching the game I would say " hey why don't YOU come by and watch the game
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jwolfer

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #58 on: June 07, 2013, 03:28:52 PM »

It's worse in Kiwi (pronounced Kee-wee) accents where short i and e vowels don't seem to exist - bit sounds like beet.

furthermore, "sex" sounds like "seex".  I was watching a New Zealand movie the other day and it took me about 5 minutes to pick up on that. 

Its always funny to watch Kiwis on "house hunters international" when the are discussing the size of the the deck on the back of the house.. " oh my! what a huge deck"
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #59 on: June 07, 2013, 03:40:17 PM »

I'd like to see a regional breakdown of the pronunciation of the L in salmon.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #60 on: June 07, 2013, 04:05:41 PM »

New polls for you guys/y'all to answer:

Reply if you say "hot dish" instead of "casserole", and state where you're from.

Reply if you've ever played "Duck duck grey duck" rather than "Duck duck goose", and state where you're from.

Reply if you put your groceries in a buggy rather than a cart, and state where you're from.

Reply if you say "kitty corner" instead of "catty corner", and state where you're from.

I'm from Minnesota.

I say hot dish, but I recognize that casserole is an alternate term for essentially the same thing. And answering agentsteel downthread, "tuna hot dish", "turkey hot dish", etc. are all perfectly normal uses. This is irrelevant to me as all hot dishes (or casseroles) are disgusting.

It's duck duck grey duck. All the different colors would make no sense if you played something called duck duck goose; goose is just plain wrong.

Groceries go in a cart. My exgf, from Alabama, kept saying buggy and it never made any sense to me. The thing in the parking lot is a "cart corral"; the name is even printed on it!

Kitty-corner, although it's pronounced more like kiddie-corner. Never heard anyone say catty-corner.

Mary, marry and merry all rhyme, but if one of them is different it's marry.

Cot and caught aren't even a little bit alike.

Here's another one: what do you call a multi-level edifice, usually made of concrete, where cars are parked?
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #61 on: June 07, 2013, 05:20:44 PM »

Here's another one: what do you call a multi-level edifice, usually made of concrete, where cars are parked?

A parking deck.
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1995hoo

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #62 on: June 07, 2013, 05:27:13 PM »

....

Here's another one: what do you call a multi-level edifice, usually made of concrete, where cars are parked?

A parking garage.

I'm guessing you call it a "parking ramp." The first time I heard that (on a business trip to St. Paul), I pictured a ramp leading to an underground or above-ground parking structure, not the parking structure itself.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #63 on: June 07, 2013, 05:51:24 PM »



New polls for you guys/y'all to answer:

Reply if you say "hot dish" instead of "casserole", and state where you're from.

Reply if you've ever played "Duck duck grey duck" rather than "Duck duck goose", and state where you're from.

Reply if you put your groceries in a buggy rather than a cart, and state where you're from.

Reply if you say "kitty corner" instead of "catty corner", and state where you're from.

Casserole
Duck duck goose
Buggy
Catty Corner
Mary=Marry  but Merry is different

I am from the Jersey Shore.  But my Mom is from North Florida.  I have lived in Jacksonville for 24 years, I have aspects of Mid-Atlantic and Lowland South in my accent.  I worked for a summer as a cashier at an A&P in Ortley Beach NJ... I asked a lady to move her buggy up and she was so excited.  she was from Alabama originally and her Sister-in-law who was with her did not believe that people called shopping carts buggies in the South

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, I was pretty much fluent at one time but I am really rusty.  My Spanish sounds Puerto Rican more than anything else.

Interestingly English accents vary on the vowel sounds, consonants are stable whereas in Spanish different accents vary on consonant sounds and vowels are consistent.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #64 on: June 07, 2013, 08:18:24 PM »

I remember being surprised a long time ago when I first heard the word "carriage" used in Massachusetts for what I always called a "cart" in upstate New York.

How many Simpsons fans think that here in upstate New York, we call hamburgers "steamed hams" (in Albany, but not in Utica)?

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #65 on: June 07, 2013, 09:48:10 PM »

I think "steamed hams" was blatantly obvious (to the audience) as flimsy improv.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #66 on: June 08, 2013, 01:37:58 PM »

I've lived in Florida for over 30 years, and I usually pronounce it (Flah-ri-duh) like I'm from New Jersey. I guess you can't remove all your birthmarks.

Is the "raining while the sun is out" a joke? I've never heard that term before!

I was told by someone born and raised in Jacksonville to pronounce it Flah-ri-duh.  Go figure.

Y'all is not singular.

Says you.  I used to live with a guy who uses y'all as the singular and you'uns as the plural.  Just goes to show, not everyone uses words the same.

As an aside, y'all is a very useful word in foreign language classes when conjugating verbs.  The tree goes some thing like I, you, he/she;; we, y'all, they.

It's duck duck grey duck. All the different colors would make no sense if you played something called duck duck goose; goose is just plain wrong.

Wait, what?  There are colors involved?  Hmmmmm.....  Just in case you didn't know, Minnesota is the only place that plays Duck Duck Grey Duck.  Everywhere else, including Canada, plays Duck Duck Goose.  Except in Iillinois, where they play nickels for beer.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2013, 03:57:11 PM »

New polls for you guys/y'all to answer:

Reply if you say "hot dish" instead of "casserole", and state where you're from.

Reply if you've ever played "Duck duck grey duck" rather than "Duck duck goose", and state where you're from.

Reply if you put your groceries in a buggy rather than a cart, and state where you're from.

Reply if you say "kitty corner" instead of "catty corner", and state where you're from.
I'm not that far removed from the New Orleans area yet, so that'll be more accurate than where I currently am.

Casserole.

Nope, it's always duck duck goose. Duck duck grey duck? That just sounds weird.

It's a buggy.

Catty-corner.

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2013, 05:00:45 PM »

I was told by someone born and raised in Jacksonville to pronounce it Flah-ri-duh.  Go figure.

You have one too many syllables there. We tend to slur it to Flahr-duh.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2013, 09:08:10 PM »

New polls for you guys/y'all to answer:

Reply if you say "hot dish" instead of "casserole", and state where you're from.

Reply if you've ever played "Duck duck grey duck" rather than "Duck duck goose", and state where you're from.

Reply if you put your groceries in a buggy rather than a cart, and state where you're from.

Reply if you say "kitty corner" instead of "catty corner", and state where you're from.

The Quad City answers are casserole, Duck Duck Goose, a grocery cart, and "kitty corner".

"Mary", "merry", and "marry" are all the same.
I use "parking garage" and "parking ramp" interchangeably, and I hear it almost equally.
The Jersey drop of t's in the middle of words also applies to this area. I find it weird to hear the "t" in "Clinton" or "Bettendorf".
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2013, 10:17:33 AM »

I've lived in Florida for over 30 years, and I usually pronounce it (Flah-ri-duh) like I'm from New Jersey. I guess you can't remove all your birthmarks.

Is the "raining while the sun is out" a joke? I've never heard that term before!

I was told by someone born and raised in Jacksonville to pronounce it Flah-ri-duh.  Go figure.

Y'all is not singular.

Says you.  I used to live with a guy who uses y'all as the singular and you'uns as the plural.  Just goes to show, not everyone uses words the same.

As an aside, y'all is a very useful word in foreign language classes when conjugating verbs.  The tree goes some thing like I, you, he/she;; we, y'all, they.

It's duck duck grey duck. All the different colors would make no sense if you played something called duck duck goose; goose is just plain wrong.

Wait, what?  There are colors involved?  Hmmmmm.....  Just in case you didn't know, Minnesota is the only place that plays Duck Duck Grey Duck.  Everywhere else, including Canada, plays Duck Duck Goose.  Except in Iillinois, where they play nickels for beer.

I read it as Grey Goose... Some kinds of drinking game using Grey Goose Vodka?  That is the adult version
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jwolfer

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2013, 10:38:34 AM »

I've lived in Florida for over 30 years, and I usually pronounce it (Flah-ri-duh) like I'm from New Jersey. I guess you can't remove all your birthmarks.

Is the "raining while the sun is out" a joke? I've never heard that term before!

I was told by someone born and raised in Jacksonville to pronounce it Flah-ri-duh.  Go figure.

Y'all is not singular.

Says you.  I used to live with a guy who uses y'all as the singular and you'uns as the plural.  Just goes to show, not everyone uses words the same.

As an aside, y'all is a very useful word in foreign language classes when conjugating verbs.  The tree goes some thing like I, you, he/she;; we, y'all, they.

It's duck duck grey duck. All the different colors would make no sense if you played something called duck duck goose; goose is just plain wrong.

Wait, what?  There are colors involved?  Hmmmmm.....  Just in case you didn't know, Minnesota is the only place that plays Duck Duck Grey Duck.  Everywhere else, including Canada, plays Duck Duck Goose.  Except in Iillinois, where they play nickels for beer.

The only time I have hear someone use y'all as a singular is someone trying to fake a Southern accent or making fun of Southerners on TV shows like "Family Guy".  But I won't deny your life experience. 

It fun to listen to people talking.  You can pick up little things that give a clue where people are from, where their parents are from and even if English is a second language. My cousins Dad is from Wisconsin, he has lived in Jacksonville for 43 years and married into a Southern family.  His Mom and Dad had the Upper Midwest accent ( like on 'Fargo') but he has lost most of it, but my cousins say "fire" like someone from Wisconsin.


 People will try and loose their accents but something always comes thru.  My mom was with the San Francisco ballet when she was young, she lost here North Florida accent to 'fit in' better.( not too many hillbilly/redneck ballerinas)  But her pronunciation of UM-brella gave it away, also buggy for shopping cart, which came into my speech as well as my brother and sister.

On this subject.  Lots of actors try and fake accents and it comes out horribly.  A show or movie set in modern day Atlanta suburbs like Smyrna, GA, will have some actor with the "Scarlett O'Hara" accent. 

I have been really impressed with some foreigners who have nearly perfect American Accents.  Hugh Laurie on "House" sound perfect Central/Southern NJ.  I was taken aback when I heard him in an  interview with his British accent.  Another actor who really impresses me with her accent is Toni Collette.  she has played lots of Americans and I could not tell that she was Australian, almost perfect Philadelphia accent in " Sixth Sense." ( a lot of time people faking Philadelphia sound like New Yorkers.  I always have people tell me I don't sound like I'm from NJ, because I don't sound like Tony Soprano)

Another Aussie who is pretty good is Rachel Griffith.. Toni Collettes co-star in "Muriel's Wedding"  she does a pretty good job faking American on "Six Feet Under" and "Brothers and Sisters" but I hear some Australian come out sometimes.

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1995hoo

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2013, 10:47:22 AM »

I've frequently heard people down South use "y'all" even when addressing just one person, though probably 90% of the time it's in the context of "how y'all doin'," essentially using that phrase as just a standard greeting. In a sense maybe this is similar to how in French the word "toilettes" is almost always used in the plural even when there's only one toilet.

Regarding the term "buggy" for a shopping cart, I attended a deposition once as a summer associate at a law firm in Alabama where the witness (an elderly black lady who had slipped and fallen at the grocery store) not only referred to the cart as a "buggy," she referred to the hand baskets as "hand buggies." I remember I really had to struggle not to look perplexed when she said "I was going around past where they keep the hand buggies." I have never heard anyone before nor since use that term, though I've heard "buggy" for a wheeled shopping cart a very few times since then.
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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2013, 12:14:28 PM »

I'm also curious as to how other colors are involved in Duck Duck Gray Duck.  My best guess is that colors of duck other than gray are equivalent to simply "duck" and it's some kind of tactic to confuse or catch the goose / gray duck off guard.  Is that it?
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Look, over by the restrooms! It's a girl! It's a boy! No, it's Captain Enby!

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jwolfer

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Re: Mapping Variations in American English Dialect
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2013, 12:16:42 PM »

I've frequently heard people down South use "y'all" even when addressing just one person, though probably 90% of the time it's in the context of "how y'all doin'," essentially using that phrase as just a standard greeting. In a sense maybe this is similar to how in French the word "toilettes" is almost always used in the plural even when there's only one toilet.

Regarding the term "buggy" for a shopping cart, I attended a deposition once as a summer associate at a law firm in Alabama where the witness (an elderly black lady who had slipped and fallen at the grocery store) not only referred to the cart as a "buggy," she referred to the hand baskets as "hand buggies." I remember I really had to struggle not to look perplexed when she said "I was going around past where they keep the hand buggies." I have never heard anyone before nor since use that term, though I've heard "buggy" for a wheeled shopping cart a very few times since then.

when y'all is used for one person... that person represents a larger entity.   ie  asking the clerk at 7-11 "where is y'all's Bathroom?"  You are addressing one person but the clerk represents a larger organization.  "saying where is your bathroom" would imply the clerks personal bathroom. The speaker knows that it is one person, but acknowledging there are others that work there. Or if I said " how are you doing today?" to the clerk... I would be asking about that persons personal health etc. " how are y'all doing today" would mean how is business etc. 

But many southerners would not say "how are you doing?"  It would just be "hey"

 Over the past 20 years it seems to me that y'all usage is becoming more common outside the South.  With the migration of African-Americans the usage spread North and West and the mass migration to the Sunbelt  its becoming more common among non-Southern whites

« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 12:19:44 PM by jwolfer »
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