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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.


Comment from bds
Time: March 8, 2023, 9:19 pm

In broad strokes, she’s close-ish, but she totally leaves out the Scottish and Scots/Irish influence in the backwoods areas, which make them sound quite a bit different from the Virginia (old plantation) type accent which probably is more straight British derived.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 8, 2023, 9:36 pm

Stoaty? Do you ever listen to American radio stations on the internet? Which ever accent you need to refresh your own, there’s bound to be a radio station you can reach on the internet that will transport you. 🙂 Oh the on-air folks mostly all sound the same, but they do interviews and do live broadcasts, and that’s what will put a smile on your face.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: March 9, 2023, 1:14 am

Here in the Metroplex (New York on the Trinity and Fort Worth) I hear”you guys” as often as I hear “Y’all”.

Sad loss really.

Comment from Oldfert
Time: March 9, 2023, 1:47 am

I’ve been hearing waaaay too much “y’all” on TV and Radio. From people I’d wager have never been south of Philadelphia, Penna.

Comment from Surly Ermine
Time: March 9, 2023, 1:51 am

Damn, I love a good accent.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: March 9, 2023, 2:50 am

@Oldfert – one ad I can think of, for some weight loss program has a woman exhorting “y’all” to get it.

It sounds so forced.

East Texas has such a nice accent, Mrs D and I have been doing early morning breakfasts with the local bib overall wearing farm community types. It’s the Texas I fell in love with 45 years ago. The kind of place where everyone says “How are ewe” and offers to pour you coffee from the pot their getting their coffee from even though they don’t know you from Adam.

Comment from technochitlin
Time: March 9, 2023, 2:56 pm

There is nothing more musical than a deep-south ladies’ drawl, except possibly the French. And I don’t care much for the French, so…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 9, 2023, 3:02 pm

The wokies have picked up y’all, because it’s more gender neutral than you guys. You see it a lot on social media, along with folx, for some reason (I shit you not).

There’s a Nashville station I listen to sometimes, Deborah. You’re right the announcers mostly sound the same everywhere, but the ads crack me up.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 9, 2023, 5:38 pm

I have a fascination with accents going back to the time someone in Texas pegged me within 20 miles of my hometown (in Pennsylvania) by my accent and I don’t even HAVE an accent!

Later we lived in Williamsburg Virginia, and we used to to the Gloucester Watermen’s seafood festival across the water from us and I learned about the Guineaman’s accent.

Apparently until the late 20th century the community was isolated enough that they retained their original English accents. I was there in the 90’s and it was very cool to me.

Here’s a video clip where you can hear a little of it


Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 9, 2023, 5:49 pm

And here’s a link to the seafood festival – I’m pleased to see it still going on.


I can’t speak to it now, but in the 90’s it was quite the party. It was in a very large chain-link fenced enclosed area ,and as you walked in the door they handed you a whiskey and some fried oysters (or shrimp, or scallops if you preferred) and once inside you never paid for anything. There were two bands, and lots of dancing and drinking and eating. The year I attended there was an article in the tiny little local paper afterward claiming that some women were going around dancing topless. They asked the local Sheriff about it and he said, “well I was there but I don’t remember it”. Funny thing I was there and well…it was hard to remember anything except it was a great party that I hope to attend again some day! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Comment from Armybrat
Time: March 9, 2023, 9:18 pm

See, I can’t play the accent game. My parents are from Pittsburgh and my mama still has that accent. As a brat, I grew up thru Texas, the Deep South and Europe. I lived most of the last 25 years north of the Mason-Dixon Line in NY and Boston. I get my drinking water from a bubbler and say “Hey y’all!” to my neighbors when I sit on the front stoop. I drink coke whether it’s coke or Dr. Pepper and where a Johnnie when I’ve been in an hospital with my hair pulled into a pony using gummies. My language and accent are all over the place.

Comment from Jeff Weimer
Time: March 10, 2023, 8:14 pm

NOLA accent sounds *very* much like Brooklyn to an outsider (Seattelite) like me. I made that mistake many years ago with an acquaintance. If you listen carefully, you *can* make out a distinction.

I was told by a Canadian I didn’t sound very different at all.

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