The “Southern Accent”

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The “Southern Accent”

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 6, No. 4: Winter 2000

"People rated as having strong accents are reliably more 'southern' in everything from their religious beliefs to their dietary preferences."

Linguists insist that the speech of different parts of the South and different kinds of southerners differs from the generic speech of the Midwest in different ways. There are, in other words, many different southern accents, and most southerners are attuned at least to the differences between up-country and low-country and between black and white. But outsiders like the folks who make television programs tend to ignore these distinctions, as do many southerners, perhaps especially when they’re outside of the South. And it is possible to classify people as having strong or weak regional accents, even if their accents are different.