Saturday, May 29, 2021

Southern Dinner

Grim was inspired by Frost's accent in the last post and put up Lewis Grizzard about the older southern accents, not quite gone.  That reminded me of a piece by Roy Blount Jr from his book Save Room For Pie which I heard him recite on an NPR game show, likely "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" perhaps a decade ago. It took me a while to find it, but it starts at the 37-minute mark, which I hope I have successfully accomplished. All families talk about the food some at table on holidays, but I don't think either side of my family ever displayed this kind of single-mindedness. Farm families might do it more. Perhaps he exaggerates for effect.

Accents are fascinating things because they don't stay put. The boundaries slowly move, new people move into one side of it and different folks move into another, and pronunciations just seem to change on their own everywhere in the world, especially the vowels. I always thought that while my mother still had a slight coastal New England accent, saying idear, datter, and the like, that I had none.  A few years ago my cousin showed me a Thanksgiving video when I was 13 - his father was Rte 128 high-tech and had a house full of things like video cameras and his own weather station even in 1966 - and I showed out a clear NH accent on a few words.  I lost it somewhere, possibly by training in theater and/or going to school in Virginia.


stevo said...

Off topic, but I just want to let you know you are one of the few old school blogs I still follow. And I think you are my kind of guy.

Narr said...

Blount was one of the best things on Keillor's PHC. Both he and Grizzard (pinned by Grim) have the Deep South/Gulf version of Suthen, like Jimmy Carter. New Orleans has a distinctly New Yawk or Joisey maritime nasality to my ear, and Texans of course sound different from Tennesseans . . .

Shelby Foote had the Delta Drawl.

The Blount piece did take me back! My ma's Southern family lived that way, and my father's German side fit right in--only the accents were different.

Cousin Eddie

Grim said...

That’s well done. You can even tell what time of year the dinner took place, with minor adjustments depending upon in which part of the South it was held.

Texan99 said...

He's supposed to be speaking in an accent, but to my ear he's just talking regular.

james said...

A missionary I knew had gone upcountry to learn the local language by immersion. He was struggling. His young son picked it up swiftly, of course, as well as the Liberian-English creole, and switched instantly from language to language when he walked through the door.

Blount is "just talking regular." It isn't the same kind of "regular" as around here, but you can switch from regular to regular without effort.

OTOH some of those New England dialects aren't regular.

Narr said...

There's a lot of variation between East and West Tennessee; in the east they have Appalachian cadences and terms ("yunes" [i.e. you 'uns] for instance). The west is slower and flatter in delivery, a lot more influenced by African-Americans.

Early day tomorrow or I'd blather more.

Cousin Eddie