Southern Accents outside the South
I have heard some accounts of of Southern-like accents being spoken in areas not traditionally associated with the South, like Southern Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, PA, Kansas, Bakersfield, CA, and Alaska.
Can anyone confirm this?
From my own experience I have heard some accents in southern Illinois and Missouri which were southern-like, Also KY, WV, OK, and FL, which to me are not a part of the South, sound Southern (only Northern FL, though).
Much of what you refer to are probably actually Midland dialects and not Southern dialects proper. However, said Midland dialects may often have Southern influences despite not being Southern proper, hence their sounding "Southern" to people from without the South (such as myself). (And yes, I myself do perceive Midland accents as subjectively "Southern", even ones in areas like, say, parts of northern Illlinois, being from Wisconsin.)
Thanks, Travis, although I am from the South (New Orleans), we speak nothing like the stereotypical "country" accent although I am very familiar with it because I live so close to Mississippi, so it is not like I am not without daily exposure to the accent...
Well, total Midwest expert that I am, :) I've read that the southern parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio have cultural links with the South, and I'd imagine parts of Kansas do too. (In my experience, Kentucky and Florida are usually included in definitions of the South, and Oklahoma and West Virginia are often included too.)
I guess if you want a broad gauge of who sounds Southern, you could look at the pen-pin merger, which I think is the most diffuse Southern feature. Here's Labov's map: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/phono_atlas/maps/Map3.GIF
Well, good portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio do have significant cultural links with the South alright, but I would disagree with classifying the whole of Florida as Southern. Only northern Florida is actually culturally Southern, as the peninsula is primarily inhabited by emigres from the North and by immigrants from places like Cuba, neither of whom would be classed as Southern per se.
As for the pin-pen merger, well, I have to say that that alone would make me probably perceive someone as at least vaguely Southern; if they also have general breaking of lax vowels (aside from the sporadic breaking of just /I/ that occurs here in some individuals' speech), then I would definitely perceive them as being Southern. (However, if someone has a very clearly Upper Midwestern accent subjectively, and then such a feature such as pin-pen merger leaks in, it just seems very, very strange to me...)
Thanks for all of the info! Do any of y'all have any personal experience with
hearing any of these quasi-Southern accents? I am also interested in learning more about the Bakersfield, CA, dialect, which is apparently very much like Southern, largely due to the fact that Bakersfield was settled by Southerners. If you have ever heard this accent then please tell me! I have heard people from Bakersfield on T.V. and they did not sound Southern.
I've been to Bakersfield a few times but I don't remember how they sounded. I did little more than eat at a restaurant each time though.
I also knew a kid that had recently moved from Bakersfield whose accent definitely wasn't the typical California accent. It sounded sort of Southern to me, but I'm not that familiar with Southern accents so I can't say what variety it may have been closest to.
I think I've heard some Pennsylvanians who've had Southern-influenced accents.
Central California English has Southern features: 1. Bakersfield CA has a South-influenced accent (with PIN PEN merger); 2. Sacramento CA resists the WHALES WALES merger. See prof. Labov's atlas for more details.
What about the GET GIT (WET WIT) merger? It sounds Southern too.
>> I have heard some accounts of of Southern-like accents being spoken in areas not traditionally associated with the South, like Southern Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, PA, Kansas, Bakersfield, CA, and Alaska.
Can anyone confirm this? <<
You're not the only one, David.
I've heard Southern-like accent in Indiana and Pennsylvania.
I have heard quite a few of these hybrid accents on Judge Judy.
The hybrids, as you have correctly noted, are in areas that border Southern states.
It seems that language changes gradually over an area, i.e. accents aren't Southern in one state, and General American right across the border; Southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc. all speak some hybrid version of American English.
North Florida here. I pronounce get as git but I don't think I've heard wet pronounced as wit.
It seems that such quasi-Southern dialects together with actual Southern ones are actually spoken over a very wide area of the US. If one uses, say, the pin-pen merger to define the isogloss defining Southern and quasi-Southern dialects, they incorporate most of the Midland dialect area and extend quite far north.
In places such as the southern Midwest, this seems to practically extend to the point where truly Northern dialects end, with little distance existing between the transition from Northern to North Midland dialects and the transition from being pin-pen unmerged to being pin-pen merged. Of course, this really cuts the Midwest in half on a north-south basis and coincides with underlying cultural divisions between the northern and southern Midwest (which really are quite different despite both being called the "Midwest").
“Of course, this really cuts the Midwest in half on a north-south basis and coincides with underlying cultural divisions between the northern and southern Midwest (which really are quite different despite both being called the "Midwest").”
You are winding the right sent here and if you keep going you’ll get on the trail of some real interesting game.
I believe the phenomenon y’all are dancing all around in this thread is indeed a cultural one and had little or nothing to do with latitude. All of the places mentioned in this thread have been heavily influenced by a culture and a people that has pretty much been ignored, maligned, marginalized and mis-identified by “mainstream” America both north and South. Read “Born Fighting” by James Webb
Here is an adaptation that will give you the gist.