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WhovianGirl18's avatar

Do I really act like a Southerner?

Asked by WhovianGirl18 (80 points ) March 10th, 2014 from iPhone

I was born and raised in North Carolina but I don’t have a southern accent(I don’t know if it’s because I had speech therapy. People from New York say I act like a Southerner. I say things like y’all, somethin, nothin, doin, etc. When I was like I would call the shopping cart, a buggy. I grew up southern baptist. I love sweet tea and my grandma makes the best fried chicken and biscuits. I like grit with a buttery taste and I like cornbread. I love hush puppies. I say sorry when I accidentally hurt someone but people get annoyed at it and I hold the door open for people. I give directions by using buildings.

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27 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Is this a real question? You name a whole bunch of southern things and then you lose me by stating that people in NY have a problem with you holding doors and saying you’re sorry if you bump into someone. Are you holding the door when someone is still 50 feet away? My parents are from the Bronx and I am in Manhattan at least once a year and people say I am sorry when they bump into each other and hold the door for each other. Anyone who has spent any time in NYC gives directions with streets and cross streets, doesn’t matter where they are from. It’s one of the great things about being in a city that primarily uses street numbers places on a grid system.

WhovianGirl18's avatar

I meant to say that when I was little I would call shopping carts buggy.

WhovianGirl18's avatar

And yes this is a real question

JLeslie's avatar

Right, buggy is not used in NY. Either is ma’am or y’all or saying fixin’ when you are planning to do something. Why not speak the way the words are written? Doing, nothing, you obviously can read and write. Each region of the US has some dialect differences, and accent differences. It’s nice to retain some things from each region as you move around, but it also is good to do in Rome as the Romans do to some extent. If you want to be viewed as a southerner and feel proud of it, there is nothing wrong with that, but pick and choose what is smart to hold onto. When I am in Michigan I say pop and in NY I say soda. In TN I use y’all in NY I don’t.

GloPro's avatar

You named a bunch of things that make you stereotypically Southern. Until you give us a list of things you also do that aren’t, then yes, you act Southern.
I’m originally from NC as well. I have a soft accent, but I don’t act or speak like a stereotypical Southerner. I don’t do or like any of the things you listed.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...but I don’t have a southern accent”

No sexy for you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sounds southern to me. Everybody knows people in NY are grouches anyway, it’s not a crime to be nice. I’m sure you’ll gain the hard varnish eventually, and maybe that will be a good thing for you~!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You most likely DO have a southern accent. You just don’t realize it. I’m from Kansas, and I get a bit of good natured ribbing because of my “accent”....which I don’t hear at all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And yes, you act like a southerner. (This question was a bit confusing to me too.)

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Upbringing can run deep. I was raised in Indiana, and even though my kids have never seen Indiana, they are probably the only kids in Utah that call soda “pop”, know what Mrs. Grass soup is, use “dinner” and “supper” interchangeably, carry things in a “sack” and go the the library (not the libary).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Growing up we always used the word “fillisplick” (sp) for “dust pan”. It’s Dutch.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

And we still make homemade chicken and noodles with allspice- a Swedish thing from maybe 10 generations ago. And when I was little, my grandpa would say “good morgan” to me. I always thought he was just being silly, and I still tend to say it to my kids.

plethora's avatar

“I say things like y’all, somethin, nothin, doin, etc”

This is not southern. This is an inability to speak the English language.

cutiepi92's avatar

@plethora seriously, is the insulting necessary? It clearly is a dialect difference (and y’all technically is a legitimate contraction) and people are smart enough to not use it in a formal situation.

These words may sound bad in writing, but I guarantee if you talk to a regular southern person (and not a stereotype that non southern people seem to imagine) you’ll barely notice the pronunciation difference. Or at least not notice it to be bad enough to the point that you would consider them to be “unable to speak the English language”

GloPro's avatar

@cutiepi92 Are you Southern? If yes, which part? If no, which parts have you frequented?

cutiepi92's avatar

@GloPro Yep, from Atlanta.

JLeslie's avatar

@cutiepi92 People from outside of the south notice. When it is extreme enough it sounds like the person is not very intelligent. The same as someone from Jersey using “yous guys.” If the person is under the age of 20, well kids and teens use a lot of lazy language no matter where they live. Y’all I give exception to. That one is so commonly used, that if the rest of their speech is very good, that contraction is overlooked as “southern” but people don’t look at it as very negative.

GloPro's avatar

@cutiepi92 I asked first to tailor my response. Being from the South I am surprised to hear you link regional dialect to “barely being able to notice a difference.” I find some Georgia dialects to be quite strong, as I do with the Outer Banks of North Carolina, pretty much the entire state of Louisiana, and so on. Even being familiar with the phrases there are some regions of the south that I can barely understand, both in phrasing and accent.
I live in Northern California, and I promise you that not a day goes by that I am not asked about my accent. If I want to be taken seriously I do have to make sure that I speak proper English, avoid words like “ain’t” or “y’all,” and don’t chop off the “g” from the ends of action verbs. If you still live in Atlanta you may not be able to empathize with the OP wondering if she acts Southern because you are still surrounded by Southerners.
In contrast, I have also let my accent thicken intentionally to camouflage my smarts. People outside of the South do subconsciously feel that we are not as smart because of our dialects. (as was so eloquently proven by our friend @plethora) When I get pulled over, for example, I drawl more, smile more, and look confused. Works like a charm, fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be. So I definitely disagree that it is “barely noticeable.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

My dad was raised in Texas. When he was on the road to becoming a professional he worked to get rid of his Texas drawl because he understood that it made him sound less intelligent than he was. It slipped out every so often though, when he was mad about something! “Now, WHIII would you DO such a thang, Valre Lynn??”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@GloPro @Dutchess_III I turn my ‘accent’ off at will, as I’m sure ya’ll do (lol)

In a professional setting there are still opportunities to play with my drawl to likeminded individuals and we have a good time, and of course if Brad Pitt or anyone comes in, I speak professionally unless they use dialect first. Even rich and famous people have a sense of humor about it, in my experience.

It’s so funny you mention ‘Valerie Lynn’ because that’s how you know a true southern from a poser, do they use middle names when thing’s get serious or not…lol

Do you know anyone named Bubba, or Buck?
Do your good guy friends call you ‘sis’ as a sign of their respect?

GloPro's avatar

I do joke that it’s hard to take me seriously when I’m angry or tipsy.
I wish I could turn it off. I can tone it down, but I got a C in diction in college and knew I’d never be a broadcaster.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@GloPro I agree, I’m a happy drinker and ten foot tall bulletproof when mad..lol

Funny, English and journalism were my faves, I work in radio, too.

cutiepi92's avatar

@JLeslie @GloPro I say this because I have had many people from New York and other places up north tell me they could not tell I was from the south at all. That I “didn’t have an accent”. While I use certain words, my accent is not strong. While there are SOME people with extremely strong accents, here in the city I haven’t found it to be quite on the stereotypical level that people portray it as.

JLeslie's avatar

@cutiepi92 When I lived in Michigan I could know someone for a long time and then I would say a certain word and give away my northeast roots. If I said coffee, I mean cawfee, or my birthday Januaaary, the New York came out. LOL.

I never heard of or knew about sweet tea growing up in NY and MD. Sweet tea is definitely southern, although now that our country is full of national chain restaurants we see it popping up everywhere, because those restaurants free both. A few years ago I remember a 14 year old who had come along to the race track in Indiana with a friend of ours was pretty annoyed that there was no sweet tea offered in most restaurants.

Dropping the g just isn’t done in NY, not in Manhattan, except maybe for young people, and maybe some corners of the city that I am not around usually.

Good communication means using language that your audience understands. If people understand what you mean by buggy, then maybe you don’t need to change it, but switching over to cart isn’t that big of a deal is it if people don’t understand. There’s nothing wrong with people figuring out you are from the south. Is there?

Since you have lived in both places you have the advantage of knowing both cultures, both dialect, you can do well in both places. Your world is broader than many people who only have spent a lot of time in one part of the country.

You might like this old Q of mine that has a long list of answers of what people in different regions of the country call different things. It’s one of my favorite Q’s of all time.

GloPro's avatar

@JLeslie the OP wasn’t @cutiepi92. She still lives in Atlanta. The OP is @WhovianGirl18

JLeslie's avatar

Oops. Well, maybe the OP will come back and like the Q I linked.

Sorry for the mistake @cutiepi92. I agree that in Atlanta many people barely have a southern accent. People are from all over the US are in Atlanta.

plethora's avatar

@cutiepi92 I’ve spent my entire life in the South, SC, NC, LA, MS and now middle TN, and I’ve been around awhile. I had a thick southern accent growing up, but realized sometime in my early years that a thick southern accent made me sound like I had less sense than I actually had. So, over time, I changed that about myself without even realizing that I was doing it. Now people from other parts of the country, when they do not know where I am from, sometimes remark that I have a mild southern accent. But like @GloPro, I do not say or do any of the things that the OP indicates she does. I hear plenty of people in the South say and do those things, but they are, almost without exception, people who have no idea how to use the English language.

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