Thursday, August 16, 2007

Selective Southern accent

Today, I have been visiting my family to celebrate my sister's birthday, and my mother and I went shopping. As we were pulling into the Costco parking lot, a call came in from a Beaumont reporter concerning the extent to which the eight percent savings associated with a three day sales tax "holiday" could motive increased purchases. In the course of this discussion, I made reference several times to a similar "back to school" sales tax break in Maryland. After completing the conversation, my mother remarked that I seemed to slip into a Southern accent each time I started referring to the Maryland deal. I hadn't noticed this. Maryland is technically in the South, and you do not have to get too far away from D.C. into the Maryland countryside before an accent starts to appear, but in College Park where I lived, that really did not happen. Still, maybe there is some unconscious association. Although I only hung out in rural Virginia once while waiting for my car to be repaired, the Southern accent does seem to "kick in" rather quickly as you move south.

By the way, if I really did slip into a Southern accent, it's a bit of a shame that I never took the opportunity to refer to "y'all." Having lived the first third of my life in a country whose language distinguishes between the second person in the singular and plural, using the uniform reference in Northern English tends to feel a bit ambiguous.

1 comment:

Alice said...

Yeah, my southern accent comes and goes (without my permission) depending on who I'm talking too.

And yes, "Ya'll" is a wonderful word!