web analytics

I gave him my best Festus squint

Uncle B sent me a link to this video with a note that read: “… his accent has me in stitches. Extremely cool toy, mind you!”

People, that’s East Tennessee. That’s my native accent. It’s not even a particularly strong East Tennessee accent.

Mind you, Uncle B has never heard me speak my native tongue. I dropped it somewhere between Providence and London. I have to be very drunk or very angry or on the phone to family before it comes roaring back.

He’s in Pigeon Forge, by the way. Home of Dollywood. And, I’m astonished to see, a Museum of the Titanic built in the shape of…the Titanic. Nobody does tacky like Tennessee *beams*.

Of course when I was a kid, Pigeon Forge was just a little town you drove through to get to Gatlinburg. That’s where the real magic happened. And by magic, I mean tacky.

Oh. Video’s worth a look. He’s demoing a Kelly Kettle, one of those camping devices that puts out incredible heat from a handful of twigs. Pay attention; we may need us one of them before this year is over.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 19, 2021, 9:58 pm

Oh, yeah! I know that accent well. My mother’s family hail from Norton, VA, about 20 miles NW of Bristol on the VA/TN line. Norton, which nobody is likely to have ever heard of, is sort of midway between Wise and Big Stone Gap. You’ve never heard of them, either.

My mom (who passed away a few years ago just shy of her 99th birthday) despised the sound. When she left home for college (Virginia Intermont and then Madison) she worked with a speech therapist, paying her own money, to acquire a “neutral” speaking voice. It worked: she was a fine spoken lady, intelligent and educated.

We put more value and importance than we should in regional accents. One of the sharpest and best-informed guys I’ve ever known (and I’m 72) sounded pretty much like the fellow in the video above. And when I was a platoon guide in the Army, one of my privates was from New England, with the posh WASP accent, and I had to retie his boot laces for him two or three times a day. When he did it himself, they’d always come untied. Oh, yeah, and he had a masters degree from MIT.

Comment from Mitch
Time: October 19, 2021, 10:33 pm

I was born in Texas and lived in Florida before we moved to Maryland when I was 7. I had a fairly flavorful southern accent. Folks at the elementary school didn’t much like it and put me in speech therapy and took it away.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 19, 2021, 10:52 pm

@Mitch — Interesting! You’ll find quite a number of very distinct regional accents in Maryland (I was born in Annapolis and spent many years in that now benighted state). From Frostburg to Potomac to Baltimore (“Bawlamer”) to Pocomoke City to Salisbury to Tilghman Island you’ve got a horizontal Tower of Babel!

p.s. edit: I’ve lived in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Caroline counties, so I’ve lived amongst several sounds.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: October 19, 2021, 11:00 pm

Nobody does tacky like Tennessee *beams*.

Kentucky says, “Hold my moonshine!” *moonbeams*


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: October 19, 2021, 11:12 pm

@Uncle Al

Even though we are talking accents here, you must have run across the venerable Norton varietal in your travels across the Virginia Piedmont.

Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg makes a specialty of it.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 19, 2021, 11:25 pm

@ExpressoBold — No, never heard of it, but I may have to get a bottle for my sister who was born in Norton (and despised the place).

Note that the vineyard is in Middleburg, Loudon County. As a DC Elite bedroom community, that’s a long, long, LONG way from Norton in more ways than just distance.

Comment from Mitch
Time: October 19, 2021, 11:27 pm

Uncle Al, we were in Prince George’s County – Dad was in the USAF and stationed at Andrews AFB. Parents were very busy at that time and we didn’t really explore the state / region much. My brother and sister lost their accent too. When we went back to Texas to visit with relatives: “Y’all talk like Yankees now!!!”

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: October 20, 2021, 12:59 am

A variation of that accent can be heard hereabouts in various parts of uncitified Texas.

Tell uncle B one of my favorites is “fyer” as in ” I feel like I’m on ‘fyer’ ” heard in Avinger TX a scant three weeks ago from a lady bartender serving Durnedsons #2 & #3 beer and BBQ.

I personally find it charming, whereas I find my posh Boston accent annoying and worthy of avoiding. Occasionally it slips through however if I’m craving “peetzer” and “be-ah”.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 20, 2021, 3:28 am

One of my dearest and oldest friends is from Cartersville, Georgia, NNW of Atlanta. She and her husband both graduated Georgia Tech, and have lived in Texas for more than 45 years. Her voice is the most wonderful sound you ever heard, and if you wanted, you could hire her to her to read you to sleep. Think of sweetened cream poured over of roasted peaches.

Comment from lauraw
Time: October 20, 2021, 1:59 pm

I’m a Connecticut yankee, but as southern accents go, I think the most lovely one is the Missouri accent. Quite pleasant to the ears and puts you in an agreeable mood. Georgia is pretty great too, but only the one the very oldest folks speak. The ones who call it “Georgie.”

Anything said in all NY and Jersey accents make me skeptical and bristly and I clutch my wallet just in case.

Weirdest accent is a peculiar Rhode Island one. Hamburger. They pronounce it ‘hamboogeh.’Why?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 20, 2021, 2:00 pm

That was downright poetic, Deborah.

I haven’t heard of Norton, Uncle Al, but I’ve sure heard of Wise and Big Stone Gap. An ancestor of mine was mayor of Bristol. In those days, Main Street was the state line between Virginia and Tennessee.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 20, 2021, 2:04 pm

We must’ve hit “submit” simultaneously, lauraw (oh, and how the heck are you?).

Rhode Island is indeed one of the weirdest accents. You’d think such a small place surrounded by neighbors wouldn’t have kept a local flavor, but there are all kinds of vocabulary and pronunciations that are Rhody-specific.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: October 20, 2021, 11:11 pm

Pshaaaa! Y’all ain’t heared nothin’ yet!.. I am an army brat. Before I married my husband when I was 21, I moved 20 times with my parents. My parents were western PA. I am fluent in old Pittsburgh, white trash southern, Midwestern blue collar, south Texas spainglish, euro trash English as well as the English uncle badger grew up with and haughty New England english. I’ll throw in some Bavarian German (actually my first language), Castilian Spanish, proper French and tejano. My “accent” (and I deny I have an accent) confuses the best of linguists. My husband just rolls his eyes and translates as needed.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: October 21, 2021, 11:16 am

May I just add that I really like the ‘Southern accent’ (I realise there are many)? It’s not worth making Her Stoatliness angry just to hear it – but it is worth getting her drunk…

Comment from Pupster
Time: October 21, 2021, 10:39 pm

Y’alls the ones talk funny.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny