Talk:Southern American English

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Oh, wow.[edit]

Did the person who wrote the "Grammar" section just choose random examples out of Huckleberry Finn or something? Yes, we commonly say "y'all", but that's about it. I don't know about the other southern states, but at least in North Carolina, it's basically just some elderly people you'll ever hear using any of those other ridiculous examples coming from. Though I live in one of the metro areas, if that's of any relevance...

Y'all and Yackety-Yak[edit]

Hey, I'm from Maryland and we have that stereotypical "Huckleberry Finn" in parts, but also My Cousin Vinny types...just a melting pot really...anyway, there is southern dialect throughout the entire state of MD, not just "extreme southern parts" as mentioned in this article...but because we have large cities throughout the state, they overshadow that (though some of them are even southern-like)...we don't like being tied down to one region, North or South, just included in both! Now for the yackety-yack: MD is pretty much the only state that celebrates north & south. We have N & S accents, N & S bugs and trees, N & S holiday traditions, style, food, attitudes...way back in the day our state was both for slavery (South) and for the union (North), so we've towed the line between the two regions since the beginning...a NYer will always say we sound country while a NCer will say we're yankees...we can't win! So why do both regions either neglect to include us in these articles or are hesitant to include us? We have to fit in the way, I just looked at the "y'all map" and it surprises me. I use yall on a regular basis...where yall going...what yall wanna yall doing...seems pretty common. I thought everybody used that, but I guess not. It may depend on race because many black folk, no matter the region, use it. Done with my babble now. Good day. Chic3z (talk) 18:02, 12 August 2014 (UTC)


I can't believe there is nothing in this article about words like "be". In the South, this word seems to be realized as [bəi] (like in Cockney). This applies to other words with /iː/ as well. (talk) 20:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Under "phonology": "The nuclei of /i/ and /e/ relax and become less front." AJD (talk) 03:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

That wasn't very specific. I guess that's why I was confused. (talk) 21:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you recommend a reword to address the confusing prose? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

It's just my opinion. Maybe other people don't feel the same way. I just like to compare dialects. It helps me understand them better. (talk) 01:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, yes, maybe a reword might be in order. I'm not sure "relax" is a very clear description. Showing an example in IPA might be clearer. Wolfdog (talk) 04:31, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


Okay guys, I seriously don't know why everyone seems to think Southerners call ever soda they drink "coke", but we don't. Nobody I've ever talked to from Louisiana (my home state) nor any of my friends from Alabama, Arkansas, or Mississippi have ever and don't know anyone who has ever reffered to anything besides Coke as Coke. We all either say "soda" or "soft drink." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe people think it because there's scholarly evidence published by linguists showing it. Check the reference. (And I certainly heard "coke" used to refer to any soft drink in Texas. In Georgia you can't tell because they don't drink anything but Coke there anyway.) —Angr If you've written a quality article... 22:58, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

References don't mean much when you've been an eyewitness yourself. If I saw a cow floating through the streets I would certainly start question gravity, I couldn't care how many books you threw at me. I'll reiterate what I said; I nor no one I know has ever referred to any soft drink other than Coke as Coke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Please read WP:NOR. References trump personal experience at Wikipedia. If you saw a cow floating through the streets, you would still not be entitled to change our article on Gravity in accordance with your personal observations. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 20:03, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

You realize how vehemently retarded that is? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:42, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Not at all. It would be chaos if it were any other way. Your personal experience is that Southerners do not use "coke" as a genericized trademark for carbonated beverages in general; my personal experience is that we do. Someone else's personal experience might be that "coke" can be used for colas (Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Dr Pepper, etc.) but not for "clear" soft drinks like Sprite and 7-Up. So who's to say whose personal experience gets to be mentioned? We avoid the problem by not allowing personal experience to influence article content at all, but rather relying on published sources. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 06:56, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I have done so all of my life. "Coke" is merely a soft drink. You still need to specify which flavor you want afterwards. This is in Southern Maryland and Central Virginia. CsikosLo (talk) 18:04, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Ditto. Everything's a Coke. Any canned, non-alcoholic, sweet beverage is a Coke. "What kind of coke do you want?" "Pepsi, please." And you want to know something real amazing? I know some Filipinos who say it's the same in the Philippines. In my opinion, that case is probably a result of the American Military presence there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonlandrum (talkcontribs) 08:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Agree completely. While it is likely regional, such as only a few Southern states or whatever, I too call them all cokes. When we were dating, my Spokane, WA raised husband found me "adorably amusing," or so he said. One day we met for a picnic. I set a bag on the table and began taking the drinks out. "I brought some cokes," I said, "they're Pepsis." His laughter startled me until he explained that he thought the whole "coke" thing was a stereo-type, or an urban myth. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 17:06, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
"Babe, bring me a coke?" "What kin' you want?" "Dacta Peppah, please." "Right-o." - A conversation between my wife (TN) and myself (FL) this very morning. She uses 'coke' all the time. I prefer 'soda,' but that's just me. Anyhow, in my experience, the standard southerner in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Virginias, and the Republic of North Mexico, uses the following descriptors for a drink: coke, sprite, tea, koolaid, beer, and coffee. That's about it.  JAGUITAR  (Rawr) 18:20, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

In western North Carolina we used to call all soft drinks "co'cola"---I did it growing up--admittedly a long time ago-- as did everyone around me, I have heard that elsewhere in the the South since--maybe that's where the idea came from that we call all soft drinks "coke"---I have heard that too. (talk) 16:32, 4 April 2009 (UTC)Pastor R

My grandfather, from a small Georgia town called Plains, also called them a "co-cola." MagnoliaSouth (talk) 17:06, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

This is a dumb argument, the south is not monolithic! Some parts do call everything Coke, some call everything Soda. I've definitely seen research(though I can't site it at the moment) where people have graphed this for the entire US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Youzwan (talkcontribs) 21:46, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Both links supporting the statement are dead links, which I tagged. If new links aren't provided in week or two, I plan to remove the statements. My guess is that the sources are outdated, which is why we have the debate here. I would agree that in the past, "Coke" was a more generic word, but that's unlikely now. And I fully agree with Youzwan that the South is not monolothic. In fact, there is a HUGE diversity throughout the United States for terms describing beverages. Some of these specific terms are confined to very limited regional differences. For example, in the area where I grew up in western NC, the word "dope" was used frequently in the past to refer to soft drink. If you went over a few counties and used that term, people had no idea what you were talking about. I think this entire article needs to be re-examined for outdated sources, dead links, and sweeping generalizations about the South's use of language that may be limited to regional differences. I think much of the misinformation in this article arises from the stereotype of the ignorant Southerner who can barely speak understandable English. The South does not have a monopoly on odd phrases, strange pronunciation, and poor grammar. I've lived all over the United States and have heard examples everywhere. Cresix (talk) 18:59, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Split SAE[edit]

I think we should split the Southern American English article into an academic rendition and a more popular rendition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kirk.Hazen (talkcontribs) 11:59, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

For what purpose? Both would still be subject to Wikipedia's policies on Verifiability and No original research. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 12:51, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

For the purpose of collecting together topics which the general public would like to read about on to one page, and then collecting together topics more interesting to academics on another. Kirk.Hazen (talk) 19:54, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

See WP:FORK. What you're advocating sounds a lot like a POV fork to me. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:05, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
As far as I know, Wikipedia never splits articles into academic and popular subject matter (excluding articles like Pop culture references to X). Aleta (Sing) 23:24, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
We have a few articles on extremely specialist subjects like quantum physics where there's a general-audience introduction article and an article for people who actually understand physics, but this article is hardly dense enough to require something like that. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 05:06, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Southern R-Colored Vowel[edit]

Southerners seem to pronounce their r-colored vowel more "heavily". I know "heavily" is not a good way to describe it, but I can't think of any other way to put it. It sounds similar to how they pronounce it in Ireland and the West Country of England. In my opinion, this is one of the most salient features of the dialect. I'm sure someone else here knows what I mean. (talk) 02:14, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, most Southerners whose ancestors came to America from Ireland, came from Ulster where people still use the strong R.In fact it's a salient aspect of the Northern Irish accent.Also many people from Derry and Tyrone speak very slow (a salient feature in Southern American English such as is spoken in Texas).Indeed there are many similarities between SAE and Northern Irish speech.06:52, 7 April 2008 (UTC)jeanne (talk)
I think the subject you're alluding to with the "r-Coloured vowels" is Rhotic and non-rhotic accents. The article has maps of rhotic (voicing 'R's pronouncedly) & non-rhotic (softening 'R's) regions in England & the USA. Weasel Fetlocks (talk) 19:23, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I think you may be alluding to the difference between the General American's typical alveolar approximant and Southern American's more typical retroflex approximant. Wolfdog (talk) 14:44, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

The like Vowel[edit]

My ears tell me that the diphthong in words like like is often pronounced as [ɑɪ] in the South. (talk) 02:31, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

It is. Many speakers do not monophthongize it to [a:] when it is followed by a voiceless consonant, for example. AJD (talk) 04:01, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
"Many speakers"? No, most speakers. It is in fact widely monophthongized before voiceless consonants only in West Texas and "hillbilly" country. Elsewhere doing so is a powerful class marker, like a dropped "h" in England.

This article says the diphthong becomes [əɪ] before voiceless consonants. Maybe that is true for some speakers, but I here [ɑɪ] more often. (talk) 20:26, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. [əɪ] may be Canadian but it is not Southern.
What the article says is, in fact, that that happens for "some speakers". AJD (talk) 21:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I am well aware of that. However, the article doesn't say [ɑɪ] occurs before voiceless consonants for "some speakers", does it? (talk) 20:28, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh, you're right. I've added mention of that. AJD (talk) 19:57, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, Labov makes no mention of "Canadian-style raising." Jack(Lumber) 15:38, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Now I found a source for what I was talking about. On page 312 of A Handbook of Varieties of English by Bernd Kortmann and Edgar W. Schneider, it reads:

Glide weakening was traditionally absent on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, around the Pamlico Sound, and in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia. In the former two areas, backing of the nucleus occurred instead in all contexts. Forms such as [ɑːe] were usual, with [ɒːe] and [ɐɑe] occurring sporadically. Backing occurred for PRIZE in the Low Country. Such backing also occurs widely in the South before voiceless consonants (PRICE) where that that context remains diphthongal. Another variation reported from older speech in Tidewater and Piedmont Virginia and the South Carolina/Georgia Low Country for contexts before voiceless consonants is [ɐi], with a higher nucleus. Acoustic analyses indicate that only some speakers from the those areas showed [ɐi].

There you have it. I find the PRICE backing before voiceless consonants to be a salient feature of SAE. It seems to me that it's very common. Thegryseone (talk) 02:15, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

My experience is that in most areas east of the Appalachians all natives diphthongize "i" before unvoiced consonants, as in "white rice" [hwɑit rɑis] or [wɑit rɑis], and monophthongize it before vowels and voiced consonants, and at the end of syllables, as in "lion" [læ:ən], "wide rise" [wæ:d ræ:z], and "flyspeck" [flæ:spek]. On the Atlantic coast, as Kortman & Schneider observe, "i" may never be monophthongized, whence the nickname "Hoi-toider" from the local pronunciation of "high tide" [hɔi tɔid], which people just a few miles inland pronounce, [hæ: tæ:d]. A rule of thumb (for which I have encountered only one or two exceptions) is that nobody who drops his "r"s ever says [hwæ:t ræ:s].
Note to "": "Hillbilly" is a jocular-derogatory term, like "Coon", "Beaner", and "Hymie", and should be avoided in polite conversation. The country referred to is called "the mountains". --Jdcrutch (talk) 05:29, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand why you label the 't' and 'c' in your "white rice" example as unvoiced consonants whereas both letters appear to be voiced respectively as 't' and as 's' in your own phonetic rendition. In my understanding, the 'g' and 'h' at the end of high are unvoiced and the 't' in white in always voiced even if its sound is not colored/altered by a vowel. Am I not getting the correct meaning of unvoiced consonants? Amenel (talk) 17:55, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I use "voiced" to indicate the difference between, say, [t] (unvoiced) and [d] (voiced). That is, a voiced consonant is pronounced with the aid of the vocal cords, while an unvoiced one isn't. When I say, e.g., "gut", my larynx vibrates as I pronounce the first sound, [g]; but when I say "cut", my larynx vibrates only while I'm saying the vowel, [ə] (approximately--it's actually a bit of a diphthong when I say it, but I don't know how to write it in IPA). So, as I understand the term, "rice" with a voiced "c" would become "rise", and, in my dialect, the pronunciation of the "i" would change to a monophthong: [rɑis]-->[ræ:z]. The unvoiced and voiced consonant pairs in English are p-b, t-d, f-v, k-g, s-z, ch-j, sh-zh, and θ (as in "thin")-ð (as in "then"). Consonants that are always voiced (i.e., have no corresponding unvoiced form) are l, m, n, ng, r, w, and y. The only English phoneme I can think of that is never voiced is [h], which would become a vowel (really a sort of groan) if you voiced it. Here's the Wikipedia article on voice.

Jdcrutch (talk) 03:04, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

Intrusive T[edit]

One thing I have noticed that many SAE speakers I have listened to do is put a t in between the l and s in words like else. Thus else becomes /ɛlʦ/. I think this "intrusive t" (that's what I'll call it, anyway) occurs every time an orthographic l is followed by an orthographic s for some speakers. I don't know if ANAE mentions this or not. Then again, ANAE seems to concentrate on vowels mostly. (talk) 00:29, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure this feature is moderately widespread (though of course by no means universal) in North American English outside the South. I don't have any idea what its regional distribution is though. You're right that it's not addressed in ANAE. AJD (talk) 05:45, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I realize that it seems trivial, but who's to say which features of a dialect are important? I have observed, after spending much time in the South, that this feature seems more common there than elsewhere, but I'm sure it can be found in other areas of North America as well. (talk) 18:53, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

"but I'm sure it can be found in other areas of North America as well."

Such as Alaska. But I think you can get too nitpicky about what's SAE and what's not, because the "intrusive t" is probably just a lisp. I only know one person who does this. ~Jonathan (talk) 11:49, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

No, you're wrong. The "intrusive t" I'm referring to has nothing to do with lisping. A lisp is a speech impediment. As the lisp article states, "Stereotypically, people with a lisp are unable to pronounce sibilants (like the sound [s]), and replace them with interdentals (like the sound [θ]), though there are actually several kinds of lisp." The phenomenon I'm referring to is not a speech impediment. I really don't understand what you mean when you say I can get "too nitpicky". Labov et al. define SAE by the monophthongization of /aɪ/ to [aː] before obstruents. In some areas, there is glide deletion of /aɪ/ before voiceless consonants more than half the time. This happens in two areas: the Inland South in the Appalachian Region, and the Texas South in central and west Texas, says Labov. (talk) 21:39, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

FYI: spurious info by[edit]

User seems intent on changing a specific paragraph in the article to be incorrect. He/she was reverted twice by Ajd and me on 15 April 2008 and was previously reverted twice by Angr and Aeusoes1 on 28 December 2007. I have added a warning to the user's talk page (encouraging use of sources and discouraging OR). ++Arx Fortis (talk) 07:50, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Charleston Accent[edit]

There really doesn't seem to be much information on the Charleston accent on Wikipedia or anywhere on the internet for that matter. I would love to know more about it, but I just can't find anything. I realize it is fading away, but I just want to know what it used to sound like. Can anyone help me? (talk) 01:54, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I fixed the link for "Coastal Southern" but the article it links to doesn't have any sources. I recall seeing a comparison about Boston dialect with the Charleston dialect, but I don't recall where. ++Arx Fortis (talk) 16:02, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Kentucky and Oklahoma[edit]

Im just very curious the map for the southern dialect in my opinion and many of my friends we are quite puzzled why Kentucky or Oklahoma is not fully included. yes kentucky may have been a border state but most kentuckians like (myself) & most northerners will tell you the whole state deserves to be in their from paducah kentucky to ashland kentucky is very southern to the core.June 19 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Featherhawk 81 (talkcontribs) 23:13, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The source of data for the map is cited. Of course, there are no "hard boundaries" for things like dialects, but on Wikipedia, one must base assertions on cited, reliable sources. An individual editor's personal opinion (or that of his/her "friends") is considered original research and does not meet the criteria laid out in the Wikipedia guidelines for inclusion in an article. ++Arx Fortis (talk) 05:42, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Folks from Paducah or Ashland my sound very Southern, but a lot of folks in Covington don't — unsurprisingly, they sound more like they're from Cincinnati. If you're wondering about Oklahoma, folks from Tulsa and Oklahoma City speak with a West Midlands accent, not Southern. Listen carefully to an interview with Garth Brooks, born and raised in Tulsa. He doesn't turn long "i's" into single vowels, for instance. In fact, he's one of the few C&W singers who doesn't "Nashville" up his accent, like a lot of singers born in Texas. --Janko (talk) 11:19, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Kentucky's larger cities like Louisville and Lexington do not have a southern accent, people there have a midwestern accent (unless they are migrants from other parts of the state). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:4898:80E8:ED31:0:0:0:2 (talk) 21:09, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Southern Ohio, etc.[edit]

Why doesn't the map at the top of this article that shows the monophthongization of /aɪ/ to [aː] include southern Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ohio, much more of Missouri, much more of Oklahoma, and some of Kansas? I know linguists have studied these regions. Kurath and McDavid called these areas the South Midland. I just don't understand why they're not included. Thegryseone (talk) 21:04, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Because the Atlas of North American English, which the map is based on, doesn't show ay-monophthongization in those regions. —Angr 21:12, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

But that certainly doesn't mean that the monophthongization of /aɪ/ doesn't take place in those regions, correct? It merely means that Labov et al. didn't study those regions, which is understandable, because there aren't any major cities in that area. Thegryseone (talk) 21:15, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

No major cities in southern Ohio??? Indeed southern Illinois wasn't examined, but Evansville, Terre Haute, Dayton, Hamilton and Cincy all were. —Angr 22:09, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I was overgeneralizing. Excuse me. Cincinnati would be the only one. I'm just saying that I don't think that map is completely accurate. Thegryseone (talk) 23:07, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

you know im from southern ohio & I speak with as southern dialectDayton,Ohio,and Middletown Ohio and I lived hear my whole life & most people I know have some type of southern dialect you know most of the people that live around here came from eastern ky &tn as early as world war 1 for work we only live like 30 minutes from the mason-dixon line —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

If anyone has ever been to Portsmouth,Ironton,Hillsboro,Jackson,Greenfield,Wilmington or Washington Courthouse.You can deff tell that this part of Ohio has a very comparable almost exact culture to eastern kentucky,& the lower part of west virginia.During the American civil war this part of Ohio was actually torn against brother against like most of Southern Appalachia due to the fact most of the original settlers in the early 1800s came from Virginia,Kentucky & Tennessee to this area.Now southwestern Ohio like Dayton,Middletown,Hamilton is also heavily influenced with a Southern Midland accent due to the extremely large amount of Southern Appalachain people that have completely changed the southwestern Ohio accent since the begining of world war 1 & 2 absorbing the appalachain dialect with the local midland dialect & intermarrying with the local people from way back then till now transforming the area with a hybrid type of speech that is very different then that of central or northern Ohio & more comparable to a southern midland dialect especially in your rural areas of this part of the state. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 31 August 2010 (UTC) Why isn't southern ohio on the southern dialect map?Obviously you didn't spent alot time researching the area. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:54, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Formant Plot[edit]

Can someone find a formant plot for SAE? Thanks. Thegryseone (talk) 22:40, 27 June 2008 (UTC)The southern portion of ohio is southern appalchain in culture in all forms.

Constricted R[edit]

I read here about something called a constricted r. Can someone explain to me what that is? Thegryseone (talk) 03:50, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it just means the "r" is pronounced (like all consonants, [ɹ] is produced by making a constriction in the oral tract). —Angr 06:41, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Appalachian and Elizabethan English[edit]

This section states:

I'm not contesting the statement, but these citations are atrocious. Does anyone have any better resources on the matter? Halogenated (talk) 17:37, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Changes made[edit]

Well hello y'all. I've tidied up the grammar section & removed the "word use" section. These examples of dialect words belong in the regional vocabularies article, which is more of a glossary of words, whereas SAA should focus on Southern grammar & pronunciation. I have moved to the regional vocab article any examples from this article there which were not there already. I did not move the citations since the other words on that page do not have citatons, but if anybody wants to retrieve the references, they can be found from the history. I have also added a link to the regional vocab article in the SAA article & vice-versa.

I've rearranged the grammar into a slightly more logical order, keeping similar points (e.g. past tense forms) close together. Also merged a few points on the list that were basically the same, & split a few which were saying different things. Weasel Fetlocks (talk) 16:43, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


I disagree with the reference that "y'all" is not used often in Newrer SAE. I can not speak for the rest of the peoplefrom other southern states, but I will say in Texas that we use the contraction quite often. I even use in my emails at work. If anyone from other southern states have the smae opinion as I do, please share them.Bigt2448 (talk) 15:11, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Y'all is used very often in SAE. I thought that was pretty obvious. In fact, even Northern transplants pick up y'all pretty easily. I think you misread that paragraph. What it said was, "Its uncombined form — you all — is used less frequently." This just means that rarely does anyone in the South ever say you all; it's almost always y'all. Thegryseone (talk) 20:32, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
"You-all" is formal, and who's ever formal these days?--Jdcrutch (talk) 05:33, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm from Birmingham, Al., and it seems that "you all" is used to provide emphasis on addressing an entire group, whereas "y'all" is meant to be less specific.Papabill45 (talk) 01:28, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma and I'm wondering if this is mostly used in the southern portion of the state. I rarely hear of this and when I hear someone say it, chances are they're from Texas, or the extreme southern areas in Oklahoma. Most of us up hear either say "you" or "you guys". Michelle1228 (talk)

It has been my observation as a southerner that we nearly always use "y'all" as the plural of "you", and "you all" only in situations where any speaker of English might use it, to emphasize that all in the group addressed are included, just as one might say "we all". (talk) 04:03, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Wadn't that supposed to be "wadn't"?[edit]

When I read "turning wasn't into won't," I wondered if the writer meant "wadn't" (where the d is a like glottal stop followed by a nasal n).

And are the pronunciations (here represented by my redneck spelling) "dudn't" for "doesn't" and "idn't" for "isn't" generally used in Southern American English? If so, please add to the article. DBlomgren (talk) 05:23, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is used. I use it when I slip back into the accent, and my grandfather and father in law both use it frequently.  JAGUITAR  (Rawr) 18:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the wasn't to won't is a grammatical comment rather than the issue of pronunciation DBlomgren raises. Aleta Sing 21:47, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I think "wasn't"-->"won't" is both grammatical and phonological. I think it represents a phonological modification of "weren't", which, in the singular number, is a grammatical variant from "wasn't", common in many BE dialects. It could simply be an easing of "wadn't", but that wouldn't explain the modification of the vowel from [ə] in [wədn] to [o] in [wont], or the restitution of the final stop. I think [wont] had to develop from a pronunciation that involved an r of some kind. In Tidewater Virginia, where I grew up, at least in the cities, [wont] is (or was) used almost exclusively by black people, in both the singular and plural numbers, whereas white people say (or said) [wədn] in the singular number, and often (depending on class and education) in the plural, though some variant of [wəɹnt] (IPA doesn't have a symbol for the vowel most of us use, which is lower than [ə]), with or without the [ɹ], is more common.

Jdcrutch (talk) 03:33, 13 August 2011 (UTC)


I have noticed that a lot of speakers in the South use whenever where speakers in other dialect regions would use when. For example, one time I heard a guy say, "Whenever I was twelve years old, we would play baseball a lot." Even educated Southerners seem to do this, which tells me that it is probably just part of the dialect. Sometimes I am so tempted to say, "What do you mean whenever you were twelve years old? You were twelve years old when you were twelve years old." However, I haven't said that yet, because I don't want to be an asshole. Thegryseone (talk) 17:42, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I've noticed that too, being used by people from East Texas and Louisiana. I've read that the construction is also used in Ulster English, so (like many other features of the Southern accent) it may well have originated with the Scotch-Irish. —Angr 09:05, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It is indeed a Norn Ironism, also found in parts of Australia & New Zealand, if I recall correctly. Jack(Lumber) 00:58, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

New Mexico Southern Accent[edit]

In the areas around Hobbs, Roswell, and Clovis New Mexico there is a strong southern-Texas influenced-accent.

Mike S, Albuquerque Mikemmlj (talk) 02:38, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Tangier Island Accent[edit]

It should also be noted that the residents of Tangier Island in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay have a unique accent that is very old and appears to be completely unrelated to the traditional Southern accent. Although the accent on Tangier Island appears to be fading as younger residents have grown up with access to mass media and numerous mainland tourists.

Mike S, Albuquerque Mikemmlj (talk) 02:43, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Shared Features[edit]

I live in the South, and unless you go into an extremely rural area, you will never hear any of that if you live in a town with more than 1000 people (minus replacing got with have). Thats more of a redneck accent than a southern accent, and their are differences. Its like comparing the average northern accent to the Boston accent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:14, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

You will never hear any of what? What are these differences? Can you explain them? Thegryseone (talk) 18:57, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

southern rural ohio,illinois & indianna have a southern culture as well your map im sorry but your map super waaaaaay off I live in jackson ohio & we have a southern culture here

Who told you it was my map? Thegryseone (talk) 21:18, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
The map doesn't show "Southern culture", it shows where linguistic research has indicated that the local dialect has a monophthongal [a:] for the "long I" sound before obstruents. —Angr 21:28, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I think that the dialect in southern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio (especially the rural parts) does sound quite Southern, and so does the dialect in rural central Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, pretty much all of rural Missouri, and much of Kansas (which is mostly rural anyway). Also the Kansas City area seems to have quite a bit of Southern influence in its dialect. However, I don't know for sure if people in these areas monophthongize /аɪ/ before obstruents. But they very well might. When I hear people from these places, they do strike me as sounding Southern, though I can't explain exactly why. This is coming from someone who has the pin-pen merger, so that must not be what it is. I've read that a lot of this has to do with settlement patterns in the Midland region. The Northerners tended to settle in the cities and towns there, while the Southerners tended to settle in the rural areas and farm. As someone who is from this region, these differences do seem to survive to this day, even if people don't understand why. For example, there was this guy that went to high school with me, and the city-dwellers, including me, would always make fun of the way he talked. He lived in the outskirts, in the countryside, and we always thought he sounded Southern. We never understood why though. Settlement patterns are the same reason that Sarah Palin sounds like she's from Minnesota. I think that in these cases, the accent must get passed down from parents to their children at some point. There's no other way this could happen. But remember, that this isn't my map. I would research this stuff if I could and make an improved version. Thegryseone (talk) 10:50, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that "your" was intended as a singular referring to you specifically, Thegryseone, but rather as a plural referring to Wikipedians in general. —Angr 11:00, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Whoops :) Still, though, I definitely think the map could be improved, so I guess I agree with in that respect, although I'm not sure exactly what he means. Thegryseone (talk) 17:15, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, do you have any concrete suggestions for the map? I based it on the Atlas of North American English. Maybe I could dig up some other isoglosses besides the /aI/-monophthongization line. —Angr 18:49, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
The real situation is too complicated to show on a map. Thegryseone (talk) 20:35, 31 October 2008 (UTC)


Of course the dialect of Southern American English owes it origins to African American Vernacular English. Ya'll realize that of course. (talk) 10:57, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

The influence worked in both directions. —Angr 13:30, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Certainly back and forth. However the origins of the "Southern slur," were from the African slaves, attempting to speak a forced language. The white southerners, especially the children, picked up this slang dialect which quickly spread throughout the south with the migrations of the mainly uneducated southern population, the wealthy plantation families among those picking up the vernacular and calling it their own. (talk) 09:09, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

This is an interesting discussion. The information you mention can not be added to the article, though unless we can give a reference for it. Do you have such a reference? Aleta Sing 18:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Self evidence. (talk) 09:23, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Alright, I can do better. Everything has an origin. SAE had it's origin precisely in the southern colonies. It was spoken nowhere else. A huge influx of African slaves were present in the southern colonies at the time of SAE origin. Nowhere else was this particular influx present. This specific addition into the original English dialect, which was a combination of somewhat similar Scot-English, Irish-English, and Anglo-Saxon English, was being spoken in the northern colonies without that particular addition. The result? A completely different dialect in the north than SAE. The remaining question? What was the only addition missing from the sum of Northern American English? There lies your answer. Simple evident logic would be the 'reference' point. (talk) 10:01, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Maybe you should learn something about linguistics and American history before pontificating about things you know nothing about. And you should definitely read WP:V and WP:NOR before adding content to Wikipedia articles. —Angr 16:48, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

This is merely a talk page you moron. I added nothing to any article. I also do not expect my mere opinion, correct as it is, to be accepted as such by the likes of you. A southern white cracker, accepting the fact that he is actually speaking a negro form of speech?! Furthermore, I am an expert on linguistics, boob. So stay 'angr y'... (talk) 04:22, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The idea that white SAE is a direct result of African influence is, to be honest, a poor one. Though all modern dialects of English maintain some older features of earlier forms of English, the speech of the American South is one of the most (if not THE most) conservative dialects of English in the world. It is one of the few places in America where some speakers still maintain the distinction between 'for' and 'four'. It is one of the few places in the world where some speakers still maintain the distinction between 'wail' and 'whale'. I know from personal experience that more than one Southern dialect makes active use of 'yonder' (pronounced as 'yunder' or 'yonda'). Though there was certainly some influence from the speech of Africans, I think that the desire to equate Southern dialectal differences with African speech is more a function of a person's stance toward African contributions and less a statement of fact. None of the phonological changes in SAE can be plausibly shown to be the direct result of African languages. The raising of /E/ (as in 'pet') to /I/ (as in 'pit') before nasals is an extremely old process in in Indo-European. There is no evidence that this is the result of African influence. The monophthongization of /ai/ before voiced consonants or a word boundary is also not particularly surprising when the history of English is considered: vowels in English cycle through stages of monophthongization and diphthongization (i.e. [i:] --> [ij] --> [aj] -- [a:]). There is no evidence that this change is the result of African influence ([ai] diphthongs do not appear to be rare in Africa). In regards to African vocabulary in SAE, the number of words is vanishingly small and rarely shared across the region (Okra and Gumbo for Okra, maybe Cooter, Bucker (obsolete), Banjo, and a few dozen words).

Too often, I feel, would-be scholars manifest a desperate need to prove that this or that feature of American culture or speech (whether in the South or elsewhere) can be attributed to specific outside influences. In many cases this is not wrong, but there is no reason to dismiss the obvious possibility that many features of American speech, particularly in a region where English has been spoken continuously for FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, are either archaic retentions of ENGLISH (not Scots, not Irish) or native innovations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:10, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

I think that the relationship between "Southern American English" and "African American Vernacular English" is a very important one and one that it's very important for the public to be informed about if 21st century Americans are going to have any understanding at all of the linguistic and cultural situation in America. The fact is that "SAE" and "AAVE" are so identical in so many of their key features that for there to be so little public awareness of this can only breed severe cultural confusion, particularly for younger Americans. It is a shame that it seems to be such a taboo subject that so few intellectuals are willing to discuss or even consider. If there were more general awareness on the part of the public of these fundamental linguistic and cultural similarities, it would really pose a challenge to commonly held assumptions about race and identity in America.

I think that the question of whether "SAE" is a product of "white" or "black" culture is a moot and destructive one. To say that it is either one or the other is to leave either Southern Whites or African Americans totally culturally disenfranchised. Certainly both ethnic groups have been in very close contact in the South for a few centuries and thus each have had an immense impact on the other in ways that it would be impossible for even the most assiduous linguists and sociologists to untangle and quantify.

Maybe cultural identity is something we can learn to share in America instead of having to vie for "ethnic copyright" in order to feel that we have the right to be who we are and speak the way that we do.

Dr. Iggly (talk) 04:24, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Please note that talk pages are not forums for discussing a topic, but for discussing the content article itself, and improvements to it. If you have reliable sources to add to the article that address this question, then good, but if not, discussing "cultural identity" and "'ethnic copyright'" is beyond the scope of this talk page . - BilCat (talk) 16:56, 3 November 2010 (UTC)


I am puzzled that the section on phonology is restricted to phonemes whereas some of the most striking features of Southern American English have to do with prosody. -S.Camus (talk) 07:18, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

What are those features? Do you have a reference for them? AJD (talk) 15:27, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

my teacher[edit]

my teacher miss murray is from alabama and a third grader kiri makes fun of her accent!! miss murray's southern accent!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing that with us. You're right, Southern accents do indeed exist and some people have them. Thegryseone (talk) 03:10, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Phonetic Detail[edit]

I want to do some edits in the phonology section. I just want to add some phonetic detail from A Handbook of Varieties of English (Bernd Kortmann, Edgar W. Schneider). I like the way they transcribe the vowels for the various dialects. If anyone has any objections, say so here. Thegryseone (talk) 15:34, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Changing final o sound to a schwa[edit]

I'd like to add to the phonology section that it's common for Southern speakers to change the final o sound to a schwa, e.g., Rio Americano becomes "Ria Americana" and piano becomes "piana", etc. Is this still true for today's Southern speakers? I know it was true for North Carolinians and Texans. DBlomgren (talk) 04:49, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't hold true for the Mobile, Alabama (I'm a native). I can't speak for the natives of North Carolonia or Texas, of course. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
While I'm a native Georgian, I presently live in Mobile and a lot of my native Moh-bill (Mobile) patients (home health nurse here) have "pianas in there." I personally haven't ever used it, but I've heard folks here and in Georgia do it. Not sure where it descends from. MagnoliaSouth (talk)

I CAN speak as a 9th generation North Carolinian, and it's true, we DO say "PianA" not "PianO" (talk) 15:55, 12 May 2009 (UTC)Pastor R

Also from North Carolina. I definitely say "pianA," "thurra" instead of "thorough," "pillA" (rather than "pillOW") is the one my yankee friends point out to me. So it's there if you can find some non-original research. Jieagles (talk) 22:02, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Second Labov/Ash map not quite right[edit]

I was puzzled by the second map in pinkish color which purports to be a map of Southern dialect. It puzzles me because it is quoted as being from the work of Labov & Ash, but the map on the Labov site itself is a bit different, as you can see here Dubyavee (talk) 00:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

The map shows only the areas that undergo /aI/-monophthongization, which isn't the same as the area shown on the map you link to. +Angr 05:57, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, it seems the two maps we have on the article page do not really define southern speech generally, which should be the main map since the two shown here are sub-dialect specific. There should be a third map, the one I linked, which shows what the Labov/Ash study considers Southern dialect. The map I linked is from the Univ. of PA and the Telsur Project and Prof. Labov.Dubyavee (talk) 06:41, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

General Offensive Bias[edit]

Some of the examples given for Southern dialect are pretty ridiculous. "I seen her first" really harkens back to some bs cousin lovin episode of the simpsons. People in the South can talk about things other than dogs and trucks and its fairly offensive that so many of these examples fit perfectly into stereotypes of southerners. Jasper (talk) 21:52, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

LOL at the Simpsons cousin lovin' episode! I agree with you... to a point. There are people who grammatically speak that way but you will rarely find them in jobs which require higher educations and they are fewer and far between than most of us who don't. I'm not saying that southerners are uneducated (another stereotype), because I am a 100% born and bred southerner and I would not ever describe myself as uneducated, but they do exist. Being a home health nurse in the south, I have frequent contact with people like that. I would say that it is more common in the elderly, where they use older dialects than the those in use now, and they tend to be in outlying areas where they are more isolated. Mind you I have nothing to cite that as official, just personal experience. However isolated areas are mentioned in the article, briefly, but not at all in that particular section. I think probably the best thing to do is find out who actually uses the grammar, as it is used, and explain so there. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 17:28, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

No source or citation to Yat reference to NYC dialect[edit]

In and around New Orleans, you can hear an accent similar to that of New York City.

There's no source or citation to this quote. It also doesn't seem to be logical. While it does share some of the same structure (non-rhotic), the overall rings and sound to the accent is not similar to that of the New York dialect. The New York dialect was heavily influenced by the Dutch, English and Ashkenazi Jews, all groups that have little to no impact on Yat. Until there's a source for this statement though, it's not appropriate for here. It also gives a vibe off that Yat isn't apart of southern American English which isn't true. TomNyj0127 (talk)

Serious problems with "y'all" map[edit]

The y'all map in the Newer SAE Grammar section is ridiculous and should be either removed (my preference) or radically modified, on at least two counts:

Occurrence of the contraction y'all and uncombined you all throughout the United States.ref here
  • The boundaries of the various you/y'all/you-all/etc usage areas follow state lines exactly, so that, according to this map, only in the state of Rhode Island does anybody say simply "you," while the vast majority of Americans say "you guys," all of which is absurd.

But even more importantly:

  • The map does not at all reflect the referenced data from which it purports to be derived. That source, which appears to be reputable, shows a total of nine individual maps plus one composite map, all of which show widely scattered and intermixed variations in usage.

I'm not prepared to say that this map is vandalism or intentionally fraudulent, but it is at best incompetent and grossly inaccurate when compared to its own stated source. It may be an honest attempt to simplify and dramatize the rather complex and undramatic data on which it claims to be based, but if so it has gone much too far. I think the article would be very much better without this map.--Jim10701 (talk) 07:50, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree. This map deviates so far from its source material that it's basically unsourced information that's misattributed. We should fix it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 18:27, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I say remove rather than fix, because the source material is also highly questionable - it's based on self-reporting in response to an Internet survey and indicates where speakers lived at the time of taking the survey rather than where they grew up. +Angr 18:30, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
No, it indicates where speakers grew up (or at least, that's what respondents were asked to indicate). I'll admit that the web site with the maps doesn't make this clear; I only know it because I was Prof. Vaux's research assistant for a year around the time when this survey was being conducted. Anyhow, the data isn't totally reliable because it's based on self-report, but it's not completely worthless, either. The map under discussion seems to be merely a map of what "you" form received the plurality of survey responses in each state—so it's somewhat misleading in that it's not labeled accurately, but not an incorrect summary of the data it's actually summarizing. AJD (talk) 00:20, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

And they forgot to note that in Pittsburgh they say "y'ens" or something like that. Dicklyon (talk) 19:10, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

"That there's wrong."[edit]

In the article Grammar > Shared Features there is one example phrase, "This here's mine and that there is yours." "There" is another form of "here." If "here's" is used then definitely "there's" would be used as well and there is no way "is" would be used at all. The correct sentence should (naturally in my opinion) be, "This here's mine and that there's yours." Believe me, I hear it every single day. ;) Anyone wish to fix that? MagnoliaSouth (talk) 17:15, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Comes from laziness?[edit]

Does a southern draw come from laziness? Is a southern drawl just a lazy scottish accent? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

No. No. We don't really have anything describing origins in this article, do we? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 22:34, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, and of course the influence of inbreeding. All us Southerners are lazy and retarded. We talk this way cuz we jest don't know no better. Christ! Jdcrutch (talk) 03:43, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

This simply proves that most bias is regional, not racial... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Papabill45 (talkcontribs) 01:58, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

"The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to [aː]" ... NOT![edit]

I usually try hard to have what I want to write figured out, researched, supported and perfectly articulated before I contribute to discussions, but this time I'm not going to do that. This is an issue that matters too much to me personally to keep putting it off. I'm going to write about it now, not only in spite of the fact that I don't have the answers but because I don't have them. I'm actually asking for help figuring this out.

This may well be an issue that has already been wrestled with in earlier discussions here or on the talk pages of other articles, but if it has, the results have not made it into this article yet, and they should have. Here's the problem:

The exceedingly popular assertion that

The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to [aː]

by speakers of Southern American English is a lie. I'm not saying that nobody in the South does that, but not everybody does, and I'm pretty sure not even a majority do.

I grew up and learned to talk right in the middle of the colored areas on the maps, and neither I nor anybody I ever met pronounces I like Ah ([aː]). I assume that there are Southerners who do, who pronounce I just like Ah, because the stereotype must have some basis in reality, but the stereotype does not fit me or anybody I ever knew.

The problem is that I don't know what IPA symbol could be put at the end of the disputed assertion to indicate accurately how the phoneme is pronounced by Southerners like me. I know it's not [aː]—because that is how I pronounce the word Ah—but I don't know what it is. The actual monophthong is easy to describe, because it's in the middle between the two vowels in /aɪ/, the diphthong it replaces: it's midway between [a] and [ɪ].

So, my question is: Does anybody know what IPA symbol indicates a vowel midway between [a] and [ɪ]? It's a vowel sound that as far as I know is not used anywhere else in English, which is what makes it so hard to find when examples of IPA sounds are given using English words.

I'm going to risk looking foolish by changing something I just wrote. I said before that the sound is midway between [a] and [ɪ], which is nice for relating it to the diphthong used in the "normal" pronunciation, but it doesn't really help anybody who doesn't naturally make the sound understand what it is.

A better way to describe the sound, and one which may be more useful to the true IPA experts (which I clearly am not) who I hope will read this and come to my aid, is that it is the vowel midway between [a] and [æ]. When I watch my mouth as I pronounce the three vowels, my tongue is lower for [a], higher for [æ], and midway between the two for the vowel I use in the words I, high, buy, etc. Nothing else in my mouth or throat or anywhere else I'm aware of (see how scientific I am?) changes between those three vowels except for the height of my tongue; its position doesn't change otherwise.

Maybe what I'm asking for is impossible, which would explain why I've had so much trouble finding it. Maybe it is not within the capacity of the IPA to document distinctions like this, to indicate a sound that may not be used in any other human dialect.

But this is a phonemically significant issue that ought to be addressed. If Southern American English is noteworthy enough to merit a WP article, then the pronunciation of this vowel—probably the single most distinctive characteristic of the dialect, and certainly the most frequently parodied—should be properly documented.

If this vowel is transcribed as [a] or even as [ɑ] or [ɒ], then no distinction is made between how we pronounce the words guide and god, side and sod, etc., and there definitely is a difference. Besides, every time I read the assertion that I pronounce I like Ah, it drives me crazy. It is very frustrating.


--Jim10701 (talk) 12:33, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

I was initially puzzled by the same thing, because /a/ doesn't occur in general American English. It turns out that the "ah" sound is /ɑ/, so that the time/Tom distinction is taːm/tɑːm, and yes, they do sound different. I have since learned that in Dutch, /a/ and /ɑ/ are different sounds (they are consistently distinguished in speech). In standard Spanish pronunciation, "a" is /a/, so that "white" is /blanko/, not /blɑnko/. If you pronounce Spanish "a"s like the "i" in time, you'll sound more Spanish than if you pronounce them like the "o" in Tom.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:02, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
But we don't pronounce time with the Spanish [a] vowel. That's what I'm trying to say. The vowel in time (as I and every Southerner I know pronounces it) is not [a] and it's not [ɑ]. It's a different vowel sound that falls between those vowels and [æ].

A chart at the top of the same section shows this vowel as a red dot roughly between [ɑ] and [æ], which is approximately what I was describing above (although I wouldn't have placed it so close to [ɑ]), but a red dot is not an IPA letter. What I'm looking for is an IPA letter corresponding to that red dot. Since [ɑ] and [æ] also are meaningful phonemes in this dialect, using either of them is not accurate. There may not be an IPA letter for that vowel, but there should be. --Jim10701 (talk) 13:30, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so your contention is with the assertion that the actual vowel is not necessarily [a], not that Southern American English monophthongize that vowel. If that's the case, then this is really more of a minor phonetic issue. The vowel of pat [æ] and the vowel of pot [ɑ] are extreme points, so that any other low vowels come between them. The article itself states that the vowel backness of the vowel in hide is the same as the vowel of strut and hood, making it a central vowel. Thus, [ä] would be more accurate, though because it varies I wouldn't change the article accordingly. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 17:36, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
You're right: I'm not objecting at all to the monophthongization; that definitely occurs. I'm objecting to the specific vowel that is being specified as the result, and it's a minor issue only if it's not your own speech that is being seriously mischaracterized. The distinction may seem trivial to a non-Southerner, who genuinely may not be able to hear the difference, but it is at least as significant to a Southerner as the distinction between [a] and [ɑ] is in Dutch. And it's a distinction in height rather than in backness, so [ä] is no more accurate than [a] is, if that diacritic modifies backness rather than height.
Maybe what the article should say is something like this:

The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to a vowel between [æː] and [ɑː] that varies with speaker and region

That's essentially what the chart with the red dot is indicating, so it connects the chart to the text in a way that is lacking now. Would you have any objection to that change?--Jim10701 (talk) 12:59, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
The distinction between a central [ä] and whatever it is you're looking for is not the same as the distinction between [a] and [ɑ] in Dutch. It's a distinction that no language makes AFAIK.
Because the symbol [a] has a bit of variation in what it can indicate, I see no problem (given the chart in the article) in using it. We could, for clarity's sake, say "The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to [aː], a vowel between that of pat and that of pot." Though I'm not sure if those are the best example words. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 17:50, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the problem is that we SAE speakers are among the few in North America who even use /a/ in speech; despite the familiarity of the character, the sound is unusual (a similar case is /r/, which is the trilled "r", not the /ɹ/ of English). I think Ƶ§œš¹'s point is that there isn't a phonemic distinction between the vowel in "time" and /a/, because /a/ doesn't otherwise occur in American English. Certainly I've heard enough variation among authentic speakers of SAE to make a red smear on the chart, not a red dot, and /a/ is in that smear (although, as you point out, not at its center).--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:35, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

I give up. This isn't worth the trouble. Why should this article be any more accurate than any other in Wikipedia? Clearly nobody cares but me, and I'm tired of trying to explain it.--Jim10701 (talk) 06:03, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'm tired of trying to explain it, too, so I guess we agree on that.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:20, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry my last posting was so curt. I found out later that it seriously offended the other participant in this discussion, which I didn't mean to do at all. I was just very frustrated at my inability to say what I was trying to say, and I discovered that I was taking this whole issue much too seriously and very, very much too personally. I was angry at my own foolishness, and in my haste to detach from it I ended up offending people. I regret that very much. --Jim10701 (talk) 13:04, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
In my experience, most Southerners who haven't adopted (or had from childhood) a Northern accent use a vowel closer to [æ:] than to [aː]. I've heard [aː] in Southern Louisiana, where "time", which an Ohioan might say as [taɪm], and I say as [tæ:m], is pronounced [ta:m]. Jdcrutch (talk) 03:53, 13 August 2011 (UTC)


I wanted to document and share a few other dialectal differences I've encountered in my experience growing-up in the South. This is entirely anecdotal, and does not necessarily merit inclusion in the article. I do not have any references to support my observations.

Several years ago, I decided to remove my accent and address the issue of my dialect. This was entirely for personal reasons. Overall, I do feel this experience has provided me with an insight into the subject of Southern American English. I should note that this is based upon life in Tennessee; so I'm not sure how accurately these details can be applied to other regions of the South. Here we go:

  1. "our" becomes homophonic with "are"
  2. "aunt" becomes homophonic with "ant"
  3. "can't" is pronounced as if it included the diphthong "ai" ("cain't;" possibly influenced by the widespread use of "ain't" having an effect on phonology)
  4. frequent use of "ain't" as a contraction for "are not," "is not," etc.
  5. phrasal affixation of "sure" before verbs ("I sure cain't!")
  6. spelling and pronunciation using archaic conventions; such as: learnt, burnt, amongst, amidst, dreamt, dialogue, epilogue, analogue, whilst, etc.
  7. use of "got" in place of "have" ("He ain't got no sense.")
  8. use of "drunk" as an adjective, in place of "drunken" ("I'm drunk.")
  9. misuse of "drank" verb tense ("Ya wan' sum'in' ta drank?")
  10. many instances of "T" becoming "D" ("water" > "wader")
  11. unique mispronunciation of several, specific words: Spring > "Sprang, "Wash > "Warsh," Hollow > "Holler," Follow > "Foller" ("He was follerin' me around!")
  12. general misunderstanding of specific word meanings (for example: "toboggan" is believed to describe a beanie or toque)
  13. nonsensical phrases; such as: "dadgummit" = damn it
  14. frequent use of archaic words for everyday things (toilet > "commode")
  15. suffixing "T" or "ST" to many words: Once > "Oncest," Twice > "Twiest" (possibly a confusion incurred by the presence of so many archaic forms in other words)
  16. most people believe that the short forms of several words are either proper form, or are separate words entirely ('til, 'cause, 'round, etc.)
  17. most people believe that specific, archaic forms of words have unique usage rules in conjunction with modern forms, or they will use them interchangeably depending on what phrasal usage they've observed from varying sources (for example: "We fought amongst ourselves" and "You're among friends")
  18. frequent use of "that" instead of "who" as a pronoun when the subject is a person ("The person that opened the door")

I realize this portrays Southern American English in a negative light, but that is not my intention. This is entirely common, colloquial usage of words of phrases which I have documented. Many of my own family members regularly speak in this manner, as well as people within professional work environments. The dialect is just so common that no one cares. (talk) 00:50, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

I can supply anecdotal confirmation for most of these, which suggests there should be a reference somewhere
  1. Sure enough.
  2. For some of my relatives it was homophonic with "ain't"
  3. I can't argue with that.
  4. I think the article already mentions this.
  5. This is unusual how? (I've heard this in other dialects as well, and it has never seemed "southern" to me.)
  6. Definitely, but some forms such as "spelt" don't seem as common.
  7. You got that right.
  8. To me this is standard American. Nobody says "drunken driving".
  9. I've not heard this.
  10. I think the article might mention this.
  11. Yes.
  12. I think this might be more complex. I've heard that in some areas gophers are called "salamanders", as a hypercorrection of "sandy mounder".
  13. "Dadgummit" is a rearrangement of "God damn it"; there's a specific term for that type of formation that I can't remember, but it's common in many dialects.
  14. I'm not sure "commode" is any more archaic that "water closet" or "loo" (sp?), both used in other dialects.
  15. I seem to remember either this article or another mentioning this.
  16. I've seen this in other dialects as well, with "until" being commonly spelled "till".
  17. I wonder if that doesn't preserve a precise archaic usage.
  18. Yes.
I don't think it's negative at all. It's common for regional dialects of any language to be disrespected by speakers of more widespread or higher-register dialects, but SAE is what it is. My mother's family (east Texas) all spoke SAE, and although my youth and young adulthood led me to speak closer to GAE, I still pronounce "isn't it" as /ˈɪdnɨt/, I have to pronounce carefully to distinguish pin/pen, and I still distinguish wear/where.--Curtis Clark (talk) 05:22, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I concur with Curtis' thoughts on dialects often being disrespected. It's important to remeber that dialects, as opposed to slang/jargon/etc., are as legitimate a variant of a language as the standard variants. While it is very important for all speakers of a variant's languages to be able to write and speak the standard variant, we don't have to feel ashamed that we can also speak a regional or cultural variant, or be ashamed of those who only speak that variant. SAE is spreading fast in the US, and in 100 years it may well be the de facto standard spoken variant in the US. Heck, there are still people in England who won't accept American English as a legitimate standard variant of English, and the even is a user box som WPians use that claims that No amount of spelling errors can make American English a legitimate variant of English! That's just downright ignorance and bigotry typical of some Brits, and similar attitudes exist towards SAE from other Americans. We don't have to accept such garbage, but can be proud of our heritage as Southerners. I'm actually a first-generation Southerner, as my parents are from the specific Northwest, so even though my personal dialect is quite mixed-up, I'm still proud of where I'm from. - BilCat (talk) 05:19, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

"Poetic" phrasing[edit]

One thing I was a bit surprised not to see discussed is use of what I call poetic phrasing in the South. For example, my late maternal grandmother from rural southern Alabama, slightly inland from the Gulf Coast would say, in reference to assessing the safety of eating or drinking something:

"Smell of it first."

On extremely rare occasions, I have heard "Taste of it" as well. I am curious about the origins of this type of phrasing and how often others have encountered it. My mother, a retired English teacher, still uses that phrasing, although it has evolved into "Smell've it first."

I call it poetic phrasing because it seems to echo an old, romantic way of expressing oneself, that one cannot literally smell something; one can only sample the essence of the object in question. I find it interesting to note that if one were to translate the phrase:

"I smelled the milk."

into French, the result is:

"J'ai senti l'odeur du lait." (literally: "I sensed the odor of the milk." or "I felt the odor of the milk."

One theory I have is that it was introduced into the dialect by the poetry of religious hymns that many rural people sang on a regular basis.

I don't hear this type of phrasing anywhere anymore. Does anybody else? If so, could you give an example? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brianmacian (talkcontribs) 19:43, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

"Et" versus "Ate"[edit]

The same late Southern grandmother I referenced in my section on "poetic" phrasing would say "et" instead of "ate." Has anyone else heard people use that term?

It was once very common, and is still sometimes heard, in upper-class British English, where it is spelled "eat". Jdcrutch (talk) 04:02, 13 August 2011 (UTC)


Why is part of California shaded on the map? ~DC We Can Work It Out 06:01, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

It says in the caption. ¦ Reisio (talk) 06:36, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Right, it mentioned in the book (which I don't have). But California isn't mentioned elsewhere in the article. Would File:Southern_American_English.svg work better as the first image. ~DC We Can Work It Out 06:40, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Native American and African Influence on Formation of Southern American Accent[edit]

I have read that the Cherokee language for example has many of the sounds that are now essential to the Southern American Accent, as do cousins of the Cherokee from the other Five Civilized Tribes. Remember that during the early times of European settlement in the American South that Native American tribes were equal or superior in influence to European settlers (with lots of intermarriage) and thus may have helped to shape early Southern American dialect and pronunciation.

Later on the massive influx of West African slaves may had added another layer of influence to various Southern American accents especially since "house slaves" (as opposed to slaves who worked in the fields) played a major role in raising white children. This may have also allowed West African languages to influence Southern American pronunciation and even the use of some words and grammar.

This is not to discount the European influences on the formation of various Southern American dialects, but neither should these non-European influences be left out. (talk) 23:11, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

African influences on South American English is well documented - I've never heard of Native American influences, and frankly I don't see how that would have happened.·Maunus·ƛ· 23:16, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

You have to look at the early stages of European settlement when the Native American population was larger than the European--

Also (especially in the South) there was a great deal of intermarriage between early Scottish settlers and Native Americans that went on for generations.

Before Europeans began to outnumber Native Americans, the relations between Whites and Native peoples were completely different, and although sometimes hostile were usually actually very close relationships.

Later when Whites began to outnumber Indians is when the sustained trouble began.

But by then the Southern American accent had become established (with Native American influences) and new European settlers would assimilate into it. (talk) 23:25, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

WP can only include info from reliable published sources, ans such information must be verifiable to other readers. You need to be more specific than "I have read that", otherwise it can't be included in the article. - BilCat (talk) 23:48, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Also, new sections go at the bottom of talk pages, not the top. Cresix (talk) 23:52, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

I know that citations are needed. But you have to mention the issue before citations can be hunted down (I don't have time to do it all myself).

Sorry about posting on the top of the talk page, I forgot about that rule.

Best, (talk) 20:08, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

P.P.S. I'll do some of the search for citations too, but the "Five Civilized Tribes" (all originally Southeastern Native American tribes, since forcibly relocated to Oklahoma) are the tribes thought to be early influenceers of the Southern American accent.

These tribes are all related to each other and include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek (also called Muskogee), Chikisaw and Seminole. (talk) 20:13, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Here is a quote from one source (again keep in mind that [for about three generations] there was a lot of mixing between Scotts-Irish settlers in the American South and Southern Native Americans, and it was only later that the most serious troubles began once whites started to outnumber Native Americans, but by then the local English accent had been influenced):

"The "Scots-Irish" dialect of southern English mingled with Cherokee and other Native American languages in a band running from western North Carolina to Oklahoma and East Texas, giving rise to the so-called backwoods, or highlands, southern dialect, which is faster and [more] high-pitched than tidewater southern and more nasal than Appalachian English. Some of the phonological features of the backwoods southern dialects undoubtedly come from Cherokee and other Native American languages. The south was the only area in the East where Native Americans mixed significantly with the whites. This occurred mostly with the poorer whites on the frontier. Substrate features include: nasality, tensing of vowels [e] instead of [E] rather than diphthongization as in Tidewater Southern English."

Here is the source (it's from a college course on linguistics, ) obviously not usable for Wikipedia by itself, but it shows that there is University-level linguistics research behind this view. (talk) 20:32, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. It's a start, but, as you suggested, it's generally weak by itself; that's especially true since the page is written by someone whose area of expertise is Slavic Linguistics, and the page does not refer to any outside sources. The source may be full of speculation by the writer. The above quote appears to be the sum total of the source's information about Native American influence on Southern English, and it's quite skimpy. I do find the information interesting, especially since I grew up in the region referred to in the source. But my opinion at this point is that the info provided above is interesting and suggests that there may be some validity to the arguments, but better sourcing is needed before placing any related comments in the article. Cresix (talk) 20:34, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

You're welcome! I agree that it's not enough for a citation, though. That's why I haven't posted in the main article. There is enough there though, to encourage folks to keep an eye out for more definitive sources, which may eventually turn up. (talk) 05:50, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Over Yonder[edit]

One thing I would like added in is the phrase "ov'ar" or "over thar" for "over there". Not all Southerners use "over yonder". Shadowmane (talk) 19:37, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Do you have a reliable source for that? Also, please place new sections at the bottom of the talk page, not the top. Cresix (talk) 21:54, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a reliable resource, unless its to go drive about 20 miles into the country and have a conversation. I live in North Carolina. Here, "over yonder" is never used. Its always "ov'ar" or "over thar". And the "ov'ar" sounds actually more like "o vair". And in the mountains here, they also use "youn's" instead of "ya'll". Shadowmane (talk) 17:32, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Modal stacking[edit]

Use of double modals (might could, might should, might would, used to could, etc.--also called "modal stacking") and sometimes even triple modals that involve oughta or a double modal (like might should oughta, or used to could.)
‘Used to could’ is double stacking and double stacking only, no? (talk) 06:29, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

"Where y'at?"[edit]

I think it needs to be said that in New Orleans, the phrase "Where y'at?" actually means "How are you?"

-Kristen — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 26 June 2011 (UTC)


Is circumfix a- . . . -in' still used in newer SAE? Freedom Fighter 1988 (talk) 23:23, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

"I like to had"[edit]

The section "Older SAE" refers to

   The use of the simple past infinitive vs present perfect infinitive.
       I like to had. vs I lacked to have had.

Is there a source from this interpretation? I always thought that "I like to had" simply meant "I almost had" ("liked to" = "almost"). Or to use a rather contrived interpretation that retains the word "to": "I came close to a situation in which I had", in which "to" is a preposition. Anyone know what the sources say? Duoduoduo (talk) 01:39, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

The introduction of "lacked" is fanciful. In the South, "to lack" is pronounced in any tense with the same vowel sound, though perhaps with a glide, as in GAE. "We liked one more to make a dozen" has nothing to do with the word "lack", but everything to do with your "almost."
The American Heritage Dictionarymakes the interesting point that there are two constructions:
She liked to have drowned.
He liked to have died laughing.
He liketa drowned.
She liketa died laughing.
In the later two sentences, the whole idiom reduces to an adverb meaning "almost." --Janko (talk) 14:08, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

"I done told you before"[edit]

The section "Shared features" refers to

  Use of done as a redundant modal verb between the subject and verb in past simple sentences.
       I done told you before.

Is there a source for this interpretation? I always thought that in this usage "done" is not a modal auxiliary, but rather an aspectual auxiliary -- specifying the perfective aspect. Anyone know about this? Duoduoduo (talk) 01:44, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

It's ceryainly not redundant, and I've also only heard it described as aspectual, although being a perfective I guess it also has a partly modal meaning.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 02:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Perfectiveness is purely aspectual, with no implied modal meaning. Modality refers to desire, obligation, permission, doubt, and degree of likelihood, none of which is involved here.
My only hesitation is this: could one say "I done told you again and again"? If so, then that is not perfective but rather habitual, so "done" could indicate either perfective or habitual aspect, just as the unmarked past "told" can. If so, then "done" is indeed redundant. But do people say "I done told you again and again"? Duoduoduo (talk) 14:19, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
"I done told you" is perfective and/or emphatic.
"I done told you time and time again" is emphatic. --Janko (talk) 14:21, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

"of" equals "every" and dropping "g"; "morning" vs. "mourning"[edit]

"I enjoy my coffee in the morning" is "I enjoy my coffee of the morning [or "mornin' or "mawnin"]. "I like to walk every evening" is "I like to walk of the evening [or "eav'nin" or "eav'nin time"].

Stephen Hyder98.86.43.83 (talk) 13:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I realize I'm quite tardy to the party here, but in what part of the South do you hail that that's true? I have never in 22 years heard those being interchanged like that. My grandmother is 85 (so you can imagine the difference in accent!), and even she doesn't use those in that way. It's been my complete experience that "I enjoy my coffee in the morning" (which I do) means "I love to drink my coffee between the hours of 6AM and 12PM", and that "I like to walk every evening" means "I prefer to stroll between the hours of 6PM to 9PM [or whenever it gets dark] each day of the week". "I like to walk of the evening" makes no sense. I know my lengthened examples come off snobby, but I was trying to be definite, and I'd like to see a source of the phenomonon you describe [personal or otherwise, because I'd like to know where this is happening for my own interest]. (Since everyone else is doing it, I'm from Spartanburg, SC.)

SmallCheez (talk) 10:19, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I know nothing about "of" for "in", but as an irrelevant aside, in northern Florida, "evening" was the time after dinner, which was eaten in the middle of the day, until night. "Southern" dialect is not monolithic; it does vary across the South. That said, everything in WP needs to be verifiable, so whoever wants to add the above tidbit to the article will have to identify a reliable source. -- Donald Albury 12:15, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
The genitive "of an evening" — not "of the evening" — is rather archaic, but was not limited to the South. It implies repeated or habitual action at that particular time of day. Theodore Dreiser's 1911 novel Jennie Gerhardt: "There was a place out in one corner of the veranda where he liked to sit of a spring or summer evening." Modern English renders this with "evenings." How you get from the indefinite to the definite article is anyone's guess. --Janko (talk) 11:59, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


I'm surprised that the section on dialects says "The following dialects were influenced by African languages" and then includes Gullah as a dialect of English. My impression is that Gullah is viewed by linguists as a creole language (as indeed is admitted in the first sentence of the Gullah sub-section here) and not as a dialect of English. I would think that this sub-section should be removed. Comments? Duoduoduo (talk) 16:20, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

"pen"/"pin" in Austin and Miami[edit]

I reverted an edit that added Austin, Texas to the list of cities where the merger of ɛ and ɪ before nasal consonants does not occur. That does need a reliable source. I know that Savannah and New Orleans have distinct varieties of Southern American English, but I don't think Miami does. I am confident that speakers of Southern American English in Miami (and there are still some) do merge ɛ and ɪ before nasal consonants (as a native of Miami, I was 20 years old before I could even hear the distinction, and I still do not make it in speaking without a strong conscious effort). So then, can someone provide a reliable source that states that Miami has/had the same exception to the merger that is found in Savannah and New Orleans? -- Donald Albury 13:58, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Dropping the ING in a word[edit]

I scanned this article quickly and I noticed that I did not see a section on people dropping the ING from a word. For example, I am goING to the store, is usually said I am goin' to the store. or I was runnING is said I am runnin' in the South, at least in Tennessee. I have heard the same complaint from people in Texas as well. I don't have a source for this and don't know where to even find one but about half of people in the South do tend to drop the ING on a word. Can this be added to the article? This bothers me so much that when I visit California I probably sound like a robot when I speak because I am so self conscience about my Southern accent and try to correct it as much as possible. In fact when I visited California the first time I was in a Von's grocery store and (I had said something,I don't remember what) that the clerk, a man in his sixties asked me if I lived in Tennessee. I was shocked and said, yes, I live in Nashville. I asked him how he knew and he told me he was stationed at Ft. Campbell and could remember clearly how people in that area spoke. I made sure to check my accent after that!-- (talk) 20:26, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

According to the page [3] at Wiktionary, about 60% of English speakers change -ing to -in in participles. So the guy in California picked up on something else in your speech, not that. Anyway, we're beyond the days when anyone needed to hide their Southern accent -- embrace it, it's a nice accent! And there's certainly nothing about it that needs to be corrected. Duoduoduo (talk) 21:16, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Please note Austin, Texas an an exclusion on the purple map[edit]

Okay I have been to Austin, Texas several times, and NO ONE there prounounces pin and pen the same, or say "y'all" (in contrast to the rest of the state, even in the diverse urban areas of Houston and Dallas). In fact Austin is the only city in TX where you will be hard pressed to find a SAE speaker. People there talk like a combination of Californians, New Yorkers, or perhaps General American speakers from the Midwest. Austin is a different city than the other cities in TX and even in accents it shows. So please put a white circle in Austin on that map. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

French vs. dialect[edit]

The wording in the section on Louisiana is confusing varieties of French with dialects of English. Cajun French and Louisiana Creole are NOT dialects of English, and shouldn't be discussed in this article at all. A Cajun English dialect does exist, and could be discussed; the same may be true for speakers of Creole but I don't know much about that subject. Here are some sources for Cajun English:

Cheramie, D. M. (1998). “Glad you axed”: A teacher’s guide to Cajun English. Cox, J. (1992). A study of the linguistic features of Cajun English. (talk) 01:43, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Cajun French and Creole are not dialects of English, but the Cajun and Creole peoples may also speak distinct dialects of English, strongly influenced by their French dialects.
By the way, "ax" for "ask" is not specifically Cajun. It's widespread in Black American Vernacular English, and is quite common in the speech of (non-Cajun, non-Creole) Southern Louisiana, as well as on Long Island, New York, including the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Chaucer used it, too.

Jdcrutch (talk) 06:52, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Pronunciation of all[edit]

According to this site, all can be pronounced with an unrounded vowel (the vowel of pOlitics): [ɑːɫ] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Linda Martens (talkcontribs) 19:13, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Is that disputed? The pronunciation Ms. Martens quotes from the article, [ɑːɫ] (long, open, low, back vowel+pharyngealized /l/), doesn't reflect any that I'm aware of, Southern or otherwise; but I believe many Southerners, e.g., in Alabama and Mississippi, say [ɐ:w].
Note that the first vowel in "politics" can vary quite widely in American speech. Ms. Martens seems to give it the sound [ɑ], which it might have in New England or on the Northwest Coast. When I say it, on the other hand, it usually has the sound [a], which might give an outsider (who was careless enough to mistake [a] for [æ]) the impression that I was saying something about a pilot or a pile of ticks.

Jdcrutch (talk) 06:46, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Improper Inclusion of Houston as Cajun[edit]

Being a native of Houston and having known and worked with Cajuns my whole life, I can, without reservation, state that the categorization of Houston's dialect as Cajun is wholly inaccurate. Even the inclusion of Houston in the Southern American English category is questionable as evidenced by the absense of the monophthongization of /ay/ and /oy/, which are characteristic of SAE [1]. As stated by Thomas, this absense of certain markers may be due to the large immigrant population.

authored by LordOfTribbles (talk) on 01:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Whether they're Cajun or not, I don't know, but there is, or has been, a significant, native, French-speaking population in and around Houston. There is bound to be some scholarly writing about them, which could provide a basis for altering or supplementing the article. "I've lived there all my life," is sufficient basis for taking LordOfTribbles seriously (though his nickname works against that, I must say); but it's not a sufficient basis for changing the article. For that, we need authoritative scholarship.
Monophthonguization of /ɑɪ/ is not universal across the South. Many coastal communities on the Atlantic seaboard, most notably Charleston, S.C., and the Outer Banks of N.C., retain the diphthong as /aɪ/, /oɪ/, or even /ɔɪ/; the old Virginian patrician accent (now nearly extinct, I believe) had /aɪ/ as well. Here is a link to a brief example:

Jdcrutch (talk) 06:19, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Citations, Please![edit]

In general, Wikipedia's linguistic articles are well-written and solidly supported with citations to scholarly authority. For some reason, the article on Southern American English is an exception. Even statements that seem to have been written by persons familiar with linguistic terms and methods frequently lack any reference to authority. More often, and particularly in the descriptive sections, the article lacks even the appearance of authority, and seems to consist mainly of assertions from personal experience, lacking even the merit of original research, viz., research.

Can we please get a linguist, or at least a serious student of American dialects, to rewrite this article, adding citations to support whatever can be supported by authority, and removing what can't?

Jdcrutch (talk) 05:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

This here article ain't got no double negatives![edit]

I find it hard to believe that double negatives aren't covered. Anyone care to tune it up? (talk) 19:50, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Thomas, Erik R. (1997). "A Rural/Metropolitan Split in the Speech of Texas Anglos.". Language Variation and Change (in English) 9 (3): 309–332. ISSN 0954-3945.