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Regional accents lost

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Regional accents lost

Postby screamer » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:39 pm

I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where a few old timers still had difficulty speaking English, even though they were 4th generation Americans. We joked and scoffed at those who were "Dutchified" even though we were ourselves. When I got to college, I developed a keen ear for regional mannerisms and pronunciations. Sometimes I could even tell what county a person was from and though seldom, even what part of the county. Thanks to radio, TV, going away to college and traveling, much of that regional dialect has disappeared, and sadly also in other places.

I recently spent a week in Chincoteague VA. I had worked there one summer when I was in College helping at an oceanographic institute. I loved that lower Eastern shore accent/dialect. They had a southern drawl, and a few other Elizabethan speech peculiarities, but spoke so fast that at first I couldn't understand anything my supervisor was saying. I caught on to Captain Tarr, a crusty old local waterman, pretty quick and it got so, I could mimic their speech pretty well. Well fast forward 45 years. That delightful accent is gone. Absent, vanished without a trace. Nearly everybody there is from another place. The waitress at the small seafood cafe was from the Ukraine. At a sandwich shop, the gal behind the counter was clearly from Philadelphia. (She said vurry instead of very, folks from Philly also say Murry Christmas instead of Merry Christmas) I met a few born and raised locals and it was gone. One guy about 30, remembered his grandparents speaking that way. Politically, the island has a strange history. They voted almost unanimously not to secede from the union. 90 men and boys from the island, (about 1/2 of all the adult male population) turned out to join Union forces at the obscure Battle of Cockle Creek fought within sight of their homes.. Most of my visit was bright and happy. The loss of that accent was the disappointment of the trip.
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Re: Regional accents lost

Postby Red Dave » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:31 am

I had a fire service instructor back in the '70's. He was very Dutchy.
Couldn't pronounce the "V" sound, it always came out as a "W".
You should have heard him try to say "Open the valve" at pump training.
Red Dave
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Re: Regional accents lost

Postby screamer » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:01 am

Years ago, I had a job at Hershey Choc. The security guard was extremely Dutchified and was on the phone trying to give a person information. The Person whose name he was trying to give was Victor and the caller just wasn't getting the name because the guard kept saying "Wictor" finally he tried to spell it," No, "Wictor" with a "we" "we" , i , c, t, o , r "Wictor"

My buddy and I were laughing so hard we had tears streaming down our cheeks.
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Re: Regional accents lost

Postby mowmud » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:20 am

I have worked with many diverse individuals in my roofing days. Have you ever heard a 'valley' called a 'walley'? If its a bit cold out... they don't wear a 'vest'... its a 'west'. Dialects aside, all folks I've heard talking with accents like that, were very good roofers. Once in awhile you get a slug though.

Southern accents though, there is a fine art to listening and understanding that. Me, being a yankee... have to slow my ears down. I'm used to listening to things fast. I find myself getting bored waiting for the sentence to be completed. There is an art to listening too.
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