Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Euphrony and Elvis

Portland Head LightSeth demanded a blog, and so here it is. I'll be brief this time but, in the next day or two, will talk more about the Portland trip and other things. (The picture on the right is one I took of the Portland Head Light; it is the second oldest lighthouse in the United States of America, behind the Boston Light. It was commissioned by George Washington and built in 1791.)

I noticed something while in Portland about myself. I am a nice Southern boy, raised to have manners, say "please" and "thank you". I will sometimes even extend that to a "thank you very much". When I do that, I find that I tend to speak a little faster.

Cue the Elvis impersonation: "Thank you, thank you very much" (picture for yourself the curled lip).

Do I make all Southerners sound like a stereotypical Elvis? The funny thing is that, while in Portland, I was actually told that I do not have much of a Texas accent, so the whole Elvis thing seems to contradict that.

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Seth Ward said...

I don't think that Housonites sound very southern. It is sort of a melting pot of a city so the accents sort of get smothered. Venture too much outside of Houston and you might find an Elvis or two...

Dallas people are a little more consistent with the accent.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I've always found regional dialects interesting.

I'd say that over time, these have diminished a lot, especially in the last 40 years. With mass media, we in the U.S. hear people talking with a more standardized dialect in general, and we are also much more mobile than used to be commonplace.

Having said that, I notice that here in Tennessee, and even more so if you travel to the Deep South, there is still a pretty strong southern dialect that is quite commonplace among the people that you meet here.

When I lived in Houston, it was sort of hit-and-miss as far as people having a distinct dialect. When I enlisted in the Army, nobody could guess where I was from based on my speech patterns, but then again, I'm just not somebody who is susceptible to picking up the dialect of those around me. My wife has a friend who spent a year in Australia, and came back with a really weird dialect -- not at all Australian sounding, but definitely not the same as she spoke when she left the U.S. originally.

And dude, my wife still talks, like totally, like she's from California. But I predict that within five years she'll be talking a lot more "southern" than she does now. Y'all just wait an' see.

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