web analytics

Corn pone accent

This video is making the rounds (sorry to link to Twitter, but it’s natively TikTok and I don’t even have that). It’s a woman doing a variety of Southern accents by way of explaining the Southern accent.

I’m not sure I agree with her thesis that a Southern accent is a English accent slowed down (also, she does a bad English accent). Though I have always been told the Appalachian mountain accent is an Elizabethan accent frozen in aspic. It’s strange and contains a lot of very old-fashioned sounding linguistic constructions.

She does a pretty good job shifting the accent westward. My stepmother’s accent was near the beginning – old Nashville. She sounds like Scarlet O’Hara. Hey, she called me the other day. Eighty-seven and still driving herself to the liquor store to buy wine.

Somewhere toward the end, I heard my original accent, which I have lost (to Uncle B’s disgust). I would describe my current accent as American neutral with a Southern vocabulary and a hint of Rhode Island. The Southern comes back when I am drunk, angry or talking to my cousin on the phone.

She’s absolutely right about Louisiana weirdnesses. My grandfather from Baton Rouge apparently had a Cajun accent (he wasn’t Cajun, but he had the accent). And my mother, who went to boarding school in New Orleans, said they sounded like Brooklyn. We can blame the Mississippi River for that.

I can think dozens of Southern accent variants, but thinking about it…that must be true for all accents everywhere. There’s certainly a difference between New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. And between Suffolk, Sussex and Yokshire. Though the old accents are all vanishing now, thanks to TV.

The illustration is what happens when you feed AI the start phrase “corn pone accent” – I suspect we have ourselves a corn pony here. I tried “Southern accent” at first and all it gave me was a picture of a porch. I was oddly offended.

March 8, 2023 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 12