How to talk with Southern Accent

Jasper   Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:04 pm GMT
Caspian: "Is it possible to pronounce these two words differently?"

Yessiree; Wales is vocalized, while whales is not.

Despite living in the West for almost 30 years, I note that I am still Wales/whales unmerged.
Lostboy   Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:44 am GMT
<<K.T. is right, southern accents run the spectrum between dirt poor to almost aristocratic. >>

I guess...
Even High-Class Southern accents are unattractive to me (and soooo pretentious). Maybe I am overexposed.

Anyway, I like this commercial. Reminds me of Alicia Silverstone's character in Beauty Shop...ugh |:{
Uriel   Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:52 am GMT
Caspian, many southerners say the H in WH words -- think "hhhwales" and "hhhwich" and "hhhwat" and so forth. Often it the beginning H sound is quite pronounced and drawn-out. It's not subtle at all -- and if you piss them off, watch out! They can really turn it into almost a sharp hiss: "Hhhwat do you think you're doing?"
Kelly   Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:52 am GMT
You can see HW in this A. Franklin video, is she southern?
Uriel   Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:46 pm GMT
Aretha is from Memphis, Tennessee, so yes, she is southern.
Damian in Edinburgh   Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:46 pm GMT
During the summer just gone by I was in one of the prettiest of villages in Kent, the scenically lovely county of South East England which is often called the Garden of England because of its abundance of fruit and vegetable farms and orchards (supplying the great markets of nearby London) and also its many hopfields - hops of course going into the manufacture of beers and ales. The whole area is dotted with oast houses where the hops are stored and dried out. The pubs of Kent are some of the best I've ever been into, not only because they look so charming and are full of character, but also because you hear all the locals chatting together in the their Southern Accents.

For Kent, due to its location, is very much the base of a Southern Accent...English English style. Basically it's standard English English RP but away from the Medway towns of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham (the home area of the writer Charles Dickens, just for one) and the outer suburban areas close to South East London, places such as Dartford, Orpington, Bromley, Erith, Crayford and Bexleyheath there is not anything like so much of the Estuary influence in the speech of the younger people. I also noticed that many of the really older people had the more rhotic rural tinges to their accent, which I reckon is dyng out fast with the old ladies and gentlemen passing on to glory.

The village I am referring to is Goudhurst (the "Goud-" bit rhymes with "loud") which is to the south of Maidstone in the area of Kent called the Weald, which is simply gently undulating and extremely pleasant countryside with very chalky soil.

This chalky soil (seen it's all it splendour in the white cliffs of Dover and at Beachy Head and the famous Seven Sisters cliffs of Sussex and Kent).

It's this chalky soil (rich in calcium carbonate and magnesium) which makes the water supplies of London and much of southern and eastern England extremely hard. It's impossible to get a lather in these area no matter how much soap you use, all you get is sodium stearate scum floating on the surface, and it causes the furring up of kettles and pipes and washing machines, etc with white deposits unless you use various means to combat this problem. The use of such products as Calgon is essential if you wish to prevent your electrical devices becoming blocked up with this white chalky gunge.

Kent is also called the Gateway to England for obvious reasons.....just 22 miles of Englsh Channel separate it from Continental Europe. Most of the Continental registerd HGVs you see on the roads of the UK have entered this country through ports like Dover, one of the busiest such ports in the UK and a fascinating place it is, too. From the clifftop above Dover or nearby Folkestone you can clearly see the coast of France on 4 days out of every 5.

Here are a group of people (most of them young) practising the skill of campanology - the official word for bell ringing. It really is a skill and requires a great deal of training and practice. Every church tower in the UK has a peal of bells, and the guys you see here are in the tower of the parish church in the aforementioned Goudhurst. Each peal of bells is different and all of them have names.

Sunday mornings in the UK would not be Sunday mornings without the pealing of bells ringing out.

A mile or two outside of Goudhurst is Sissinghurst - the former home and country estate of the writer, poetess and renowned gardener Vita Sackville West and her MP (Member of Parliament) husband Harold Nicolson. It's an amazing place to visit, not only because of the beautiful ancient mansion and outbuildings but also because of the tall tower with a magnificent view out over the Wealden landscape and, of course, the beautifully laid out gardens.

During WW2 and especially during the invasion scares in the earlier part of the war, the ringing of church bells in Britain was banned under normal circumstances. A Government Order decreed that the ringing of church bells could only take place in the event of an actual invasion of British territory by the Nazi Germans. Thankfully the Order was never put into practice as no such invasion took place....wartime Britain heaved a sigh of relief.

In late 1944 church bells once again began to ring out loud and clear across the British countryside, for legitimate purposes.

The bell ringers of Goudhurst, Kent, England:
Jasper   Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:54 am GMT

It appears that the Wales/whales merger is recent in American history, and Southerners have retained a distinction, very much "against the wind of change."

To bolster this point, I quote from The Manual of Phonography by Benn Pitmann, Cincinnati, 1899, page 30:

WH. The student may find some difficulty at first with such words as those at the end of line 5 until he as learned that all words beginning with "wh" in the ordinary spelling really begin with the sounds "hw"—that "why" would be much more properly spelled "hwy"...

Interesting stuff, huh?
Robin Michael   Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:25 am GMT
I was a witness to the Wales / Whales merger. I used to go to a Folk Club in Bristol in which they told the 'floor singers' that next week the them would be Wales. The next week, one woman got up and sang a song about Whales.

I is nice to see that a defiled Damian is back!

There is a very common saying which I am sure that Damian is aware of:

"Don't let the bastards get you down".
Robin   Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:29 am GMT
Damian, I think that Southern accent in this instance, means Southern USA.
R. M.   Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:36 am GMT
I watched the DVD that came free with one of the newspapers. 'Where Angels fear to tread' based on a novel by E. M. Forster. In the film one of the characters is asked whether she like Italian Opera.

"frightfully awfully!"

I think that this is what the American conductor of the last night of the Proms meant when he said that he learnt to use adverbs in the UK.

Uriel would probably describe these words as 'enchancers'.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:20 am GMT
Robin Michael: It is impossible to keep a Scotsman down! It isn't me that's been "defiled" by the wierdos from hell - it's Antimoon.

Furthermore I am now back on my own home territory, and much as I truly adore London (only middle aged and older people who can't stand the Big City pace think otherwise......Samuel Johnson was spot on the button - NO - not the Jensen one!!)...... it's good to be back in Scotland again.

I can't exactly say that everybody here in Edinburgh speaks in the same accent as that would be one almighty porky pie - they just don't - it is very much an international, cosmopolitan city, but my office base is pretty much Scots orientated accent wise more or less - there are a few English English Sassenach type accents walking around the whole building but we native Scots have learned to live with them....and they are quite pleasant really...

Robin - whoever YOU are - erm...dear heart - listen up here - I WAS aware of that! You really ought to brush up your skills in the comprehension of the British mindset.

Having just left the Southlands of England I thought it would be a good idea to do a spash on their brand of the Southern Accent, and in this regard Kent is about the most appropriate area to focus on. Go any further south than that and you get a mouthful of English Channel.

I really like the Kentish accent if it is not too tainted with Estuaryspeak, like it is in those areas I mentioned before.

R.M: It IS what that American conductor at the LNOTP at the Royal Albert Hall meant - he did indeed say that he found out all about the use of adverbs when he first came to the UK to study music at the age of eighteen - from California (he was careful to stress that and not the USA!) - but of course it was all very tongue in cheek. The applause he got by way of response from the overwhelmingly British audience was purely incidental! ;-)

Anybody in the UK today who uses expressions like "frightfully" or "awfully" - as in: "what a frightfully disgusting mess there is in here!" or even the very basic: "thanks awfully!" would be immediatey classified as some kind of dinosaur from the dim and distant....fine in E M Forster's day (he died in 1960!) but not in these far more socially egalitarian days.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:35 pm GMT
From the Southern Accent (England style) to the Northern Accent (Scotland style) here is a guy from Glasgow by the name of Gray O'Brien who plays the part of Tony Gordon in the world's longest running TV soap opera "Coronation Street" commonly caled "Corrie" here in the UK.

Actually, the character Tony Gordon sings his swan song, metaphorically speaking, in the program tonight - Monday 19/10/09 - he literally "snuffs the candle" on the cobbles of Coronation Street - a coronary on Coronation Street you might say. Gray O'Brien has come to the end of his contract so Weatherfield will no longer be hearing his rich, dark brown Glaswegian tones, but what is the mythical Manchester suburb of Weatherfield's loss will be the gain of the London West End theatre stage.
Andy in Kent   Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:52 pm GMT
Damian you've been in my neck of the woods. Did you visit Maidstone?. I don't think so. No strangers escape the Maidstone one-way system.
Robin Michael   Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:16 pm GMT
Robin, R.M. and Robin Michael are all the same person of course. My grandmother used to cycle out of London to Kent to pick hops. I have just been hearing about their parrot her father brought back from India. "Twenty guineas for pretty Polly", etc. It is funny to think that a previous generation or two had a sense of humour.

(I spend a lot of my time trying to adapt and live with Scottish people. Every now and then, I rebel. I believe that this is a common experience of immigrants. That they try to adapt but know in their hearts that they will never fit in.)
Guest   Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:05 pm GMT
Damian and Robin Michael are the Bouvard and Pecuchet of Antimoon.

Were all other fora on the planet to disappear overnight, one might still reconstruct the Dictionary of Cliches & Received Ideas from their postings here.