Saturday, April 16, 2005

everyone is doing it...

In an effort to distract myself from illness reports from home (alluded to in the last post), I've done my linguistic profile, like her and her. Here's what I got:

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

30% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

30% Yankee? Lemme 'splain!!

I can think of two reasons for this. First, my Mom is a full-blooded Yankee. My family moved south more than 25 years ago, and she still sounds like she never left Long Island, God bless 'er. The only time I really "sound" like a Yankee, is when I'm on the phone with her or talking in her presence. My college roommate always knew when I was on the phone with my mom, because it's the only time my Yankee accent comes out.

The other thing is, I grew up in Central Florida. Florida is generally considered a southern state, but if you ask me, only the top third of the state can really be considered southern. Once you get down to around St. Augustine or Daytona Beach (I was a Space Coast girl myself) you start to find yourself back in northern territory. This is because there are a great number of retirees in Central Florida, and also because of the influx of Yankees who worked in the Aerospace industry (which is how we ended up there). Among my group of friends, only one or two were actually born in Florida. Southern accents were to be mocked. Certainly there were hotspots of natives (good old Bithlo comes to mind) but the vast majority seemed to be from out of town. Generally, we had standard American accents, with northern colloquiallisms ("hey you guys" instead of "hey y'all," etc.) .

Things started to change when I went away to college in North Carolina. I didn't realize how much I'd changed until I arrived home after one semester, and found that my friends had come to surprise me at my house. "I'm so happy to see y'all!" I exclaimed. My friends looked at me as if I had just landed from another planet. "Y'ALL?!" The transformation had begun.

So, after four (and a half) years of college and seven years living in South Carolina, I have defininately picked up a southern drawl. But thanks to a good ear and training in the Dramatic Arts, I am able to turn it off and on at will. This has also helped with my French accent, though it does little for actually picking up vocabulary.

Well, there you have my explaination of why I sound the way I do. If you don't believe me, next time you see me, ask me to talk like my mom. You'll think I'd lived my whole life on Long Island too.

Oh, and as for the 5% Upper Midwestern accent: I have absolutely no idea, especially considering I've never even been there!

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