R-lessness in the American South: RIP?

Southern Plantation

Tasso, a 19th C. Alabama plantation

Whatever happened to non-rhotic Southern accents?

For those of you joining us from the everyday world (one where “non-rhotic” isn’t a household word) a non-rhotic accent is one where the “r” is dropped at the end of words or syllables. So, compare General American car“cahrrr–with the more common British pronunciation, which would sound to an American a bit like “cah“. The former pronunciation is rhotic, the latter non-rhotic.

Non-rhoticity used to be a widespread feature of English in the American South.  In fact, as per linguist Erik R. Thomas in A Handbook of the Varieties of English, non-rhotic accents once covered a vast territory south of the Mason-Dixon line, stretching to parts of the country we would hardly think of as non-rhotic today, such as Texas, Arkansas, and Kentucky!

Anybody who’s research Southern accents knows that non-rhoticity has met a rather grim fate. By the mid-20th-Century (at the latest), this feature was confined to the Atlantic South (North Carolina, Coastal Virginia, etc.) and the deep south (Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana). Over the next few decades it would recede rapidly in those areas as well: looking at Rick Aschmann’s dialect map (which also includes data from William Labov), contemporary non-rhoticity is confined to a modest band of territory in the Gulf states and a few small patches on the Atlantic coast.  Even in many of those areas, I’m betting non-rhoticity is mostly prevalent in older speakers.

To illustrate just how much this feature receded in a few decades, I’ve included clips of three people from a specific region (Southwest Georgia) of different generations.

First listen to this clip of former president Jimmy Carter, born in 1924. His speech is obviously quite non-rhotic (despite some rhotic pronunciations).

Next, listen to the speech of Food Network personality Paula Deen, who grew up 35 miles down the road from Carter, and was born in 1947. Deen has some non-rhotic pronunciations sprinkled throughout her speech, but unlike Carter, she’s rhotic the large majority of the time. She seems to be in a kind of “semi-rhotic” transitional state.

Then, for good measure, listen to Deen’s son, Bobby, born in 1970, who grew up in the same town she did. The younger Deen has one or two moments where his rhoticity sounds a bit “weaker,” but he’s clearly almost 100% “r-ful.”

So what happened to r-lessness?

Well, I have purposefully neglected an important factor in this discussion: African Americans. While rhoticity has spread like wildfire among white Southerners, the English of Black Southerners appears to have remained fairly non-rhotic. There is a clear divide between the two ethnolects in this regard.

One of the more common (and probably controversial) theories regarding why white Southerners have become increasingly rhotic is that there was a semi-conscious attempt to disassociate from African American Vernacular English.  I have not done enough research to state whether I agree with this point or not. But the way Thomas (once again) describes it is intriguing:

Another event that may have influenced Southern dialectical patterns, particularly desegregation, which was accompanied by turmoil in the South from the 1950s through the 1970s. The civil rights struggle seems to have caused both African Americans and southern Whites to stigmatize linguistic variables associated with the other group.

He then goes on to suggest this as a possible explanation for increased rhoticity. This notion evokes a lot of painful history, though, so I’m a hesitant about being on board with it without seeing some very clear evidence (if you know of any, let me know!).

If there are any Southerners out there, I’d love to hear what they have to say about this. I find that abstract theories about this region tend to differ a lot from “the facts on the ground.” Just how rhotic (or non-rhotic) is the American South today? And why has non-rhoticity receded?

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About Ben

Ben Trawick-Smith launched his dialect fascination while working in theatre. He has worked as an actor, playwright, director, critic and dialect coach. Other passions include linguistics, urban development, philosophy and film.
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50 Responses to R-lessness in the American South: RIP?

  1. Andrej Bjelaković says:

    I have nothing relevant to add but to mention my favourite non-rhotic Southerner, the late Shelby Foote, whom you link to in your American Accents section.

    • trawicks says:

      I almost included him, actually! I love his accent. And to add another piece of evidence that non-rhoticity is fading in the south, he mostly grew up in Greenville, MS, which is quite outside the contemporary boundary for non-rhoticity mapped out by both Labov and Aschmann.

      • David Lints says:

        Shelby Foote actually explained it on his “In Depth with Shelby Foote” C-Span two hour long interview. It was the last question, not from a caller but from the interviewer, most likely because it was the most anticipated to be asked, and he answered “…it all comes out of having had what we call colored nurses when we were growing up. We get this from the blacks, thats where it all comes from. Practically everything we got, some point in my life, by the age I was 21 years old I realized that every morsel of food I have ever eaten, every piece of fabric I have ever had on my back, every hour of education came from black labor…I was raised in a black society really. They weren’t running it but they were doing it.”

  2. Greg says:

    I have one friend from Valdosta, GA whose speech is strikingly similar to British English. He was born there but relocated to Washington 10 years ago. His speech is very soft and posh. He does pronounce his Rs but in a very soft way that it’s sometimes hard to distinct them. It;s very confusing but I would say his almost non-rhotic

    • Greg says:

      btw great post. I am really interested in the development of rhoticity in the US in the socio-geographic context. Keep doing good work 🙂

  3. Greg R says:

    Sorry to nitpick here, but I just wanted to mention that that linguist’s name is Erik R. Thomas. Nitpicking over. Moving on now.

    I live in South Carolina and I have met some older women who, like Paula Dean, are in that “semi-rhotic transitional state”. They occasionally might delete an unstressed “r” in a word like mother (why is that always the example linguists use?:)). That seems to be the one that takes the longest to be restored in non-rhotic accents (cf. the New York City accent), if you understand what I mean. What seems to be unique to the South is that they even delete the “r” in the sentence my mother is beautiful, i.e., they don’t have a “linking r”. The word forget in particular seems to be quite commonly missing its “r” for women like the ones I’m talking about.

    I’m glad you mentioned Paula Deen. I’ve noticed her variable rhoticity too. She also lacks a linking r occasionally too if you listen closely. Plus I really like her. Who doesn’t? Al-Qaeda maybe? 😛

    • trawicks says:

      Thanks for point that out! (And for the kind words). I am strangely dyslexic when it comes to middle initials.

      Deen is interesting in that she seems to maintain non-rhoticity in very specific words (like “butter”, which is her favorite ingredient). Just as Labov found a kind of logic to variable rhoticity in NYC, I’d be interested to see what factors make someone like Deen drop an r (or maintain it).

    • Erik Singer says:

      “Sorry to nitpick here, but I just wanted to mention that that linguist’s name is Erik R. Thomas. Nitpicking over. Moving on now.”

      Yes, and the ‘k’ is, arguably, even more important than the ‘R.’!

    • boynamedsue says:

      Greg, the “r” in “forget” is very weak because it is in the non-stressed syllable of the word. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard unambiguously-rhotic midwesterners say “f’get” on occasion, and I’ve certainly heard rhotic Scots say it.

      The unstressed syllable is usually the last place rhoticism appears and first it disappears, which is why we often hear the “mother” as an example.

      In the disappearing rhoticism of Bolton in Lancashire you hear things like ” ‘teache’ paRked (h)e’ caR” from younger people, where their grandparents say ” ‘teacheR paRked (h)eR caR”. (the first ” ‘ ” represents a stop standing for “the”)

      • Greg R says:

        “Greg, the “r” in “forget” is very weak because it is in the non-stressed syllable of the word. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard unambiguously-rhotic midwesterners say “f’get” on occasion, and I’ve certainly heard rhotic Scots say it.”

        I’m actually from the Midwest originally and I’ve never heard that. It’s very common in the word surprise (maybe that’s what you’re thinking of), but I never heard it in the word forget. If it were common in the Midwest, then I wouldn’t notice it when people used that pronunciation, but I do notice it because it isn’t common there.

        “The unstressed syllable is usually the last place rhoticism appears and first it disappears, which is why we often hear the “mother” as an example.”

        Yes, yes I know. I meant why do linguists always seem to use the word mother as an example. There are probably hundreds (maybe thousands) of other words they could use, but they always seem to choose mother. It was a joke you would only get if you’ve read a lot of linguistic literature. When they’re talking about glottal stops it’s always water (or maybe better or butter). But never skater.

        • trawicks says:

          I have to say, if I were to use a word for unstressed “-er” I would probably go with something like “blubber.” The reason being that with “mother” the preceding consonant is subject to a large amount of dialectical variation. Given that there are accents (most notably in Northern Ireland) where the “th” is dropped completely, I agree that it’s an odd choice.

        • Ellen K. says:

          I’m surprised anyone’s asking the question why the word “mother” is used. Because of the meaning, of course. Because the mother/child relationship is the most basic human relationship. Thus, it’s a word that’s very likely to come to mind and be used, without giving it much thought.

        • trawicks says:

          My only beef with ‘mother’ is if it’s used to compare different accents’ pronunciation of final “-er:” I would prefer this to be adjacent to a consonant with a bit less variation. Because different consonants can impact the pronunciation of nearby vowels, I’d probably go with a word with a preceding consonant more stable across different accents.

        • Ellen K. says:

          Trawicks, I wasn’t commenting on your view that “mother” is not a good word to use. I was responsing to those wondering why “mother” is always used as an example.

  4. Greg R says:

    What I meant when I wrote “cf. New York City accent” is that there are New Yorkers who never drop an “r” except occasionally when the “r” is unstressed in words like mother or butter. I think Kevin James is a good example. You didn’t ask me to clarify, but I wanted to explain what I meant anyway just in case in anyone reading it didn’t know what I was talking about. Thanks for responding.

  5. Amy Stoller says:

    There is research that suggests the prestige of non-rhoticity in the US ended, and the prestige of rhoticity began to grow, around WWII. If I weren’t so immersed in Hiberno-English at the moment (research for an upcoming production of an Irish play), I might remember some places you could look for it! Sorry about that. In any case, the theory I’m most familiar with is that the change from non-rhoticity to rhoticity as a prestige form has most to do with a nation (the US) beginning to look forward and celebrate its own linguistic identity, rather than looking back at England for approval, so to speak.

    I think you might enjoy the article “A Study in the Rhoticity of American Film Actors,” by Nancy Elliott, in Standard Speech (Voice and Speech Review 1), available through http://www.vasta.org, the website of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. VSR is published every two years, and I think you would find the series a worthwhile addition to your bookshelf. I know I’m glad I have it on mine. (Full disclosure: a couple of additions include articles I wrote.)

    I’m not qualified to comment with authority on differences between “black” and “white” American English, but I’ll offer some food for thought, and hope that any cultural insensitivity on my part will be forgiven, as my intention is not to offend.

    I think “black” American English may operate on a sort of continuum, from AAVE – which is a related but separate language (or dialect, if you prefer) from “standard” American English – to the “standard” form (dialect). Many speakers of one variety code-switch easily to the other. Some American speakers of African (slave) descent speak only one variety – and it’s important to remember that the variety is not necessarily AAVE. Some speakers – and I would not be surprised if this were the majority, but I remind you that I don’t know, I’m merely ruminating on possibilities – speak in varieties at various points along the continuum, with more or less influence from AAVE.

    If this is the case, you might expect to hear less rhoticity where AAVE has more influence; even if this is the case, since AAVE is not monolithic, but has regional variety, you might expect to find some regional variation in rhoticity.

    One factor left out here is the rise in hip-hop culture and its effect on language around the world, not least in the US among younger white Americans.

    I hope all reading this will understand that I put “standard” in quotation marks because I do not believe that there is really any one standard form of English, or even of American English – although I do accept that there is a sort of underlying cultural understanding that a “standard” form will conform more closely to a somewhat older, more formal, written form of a language than forms in contemporary daily conversational use. And I never consider non-standard to be sub-standard. Different is different – it is not better or worse.

    Last but not least, since my theorizing about a continuum between AAVE and “standard” American English is based on not nearly enough hard knowledge, I welcome better information.

    • trawicks says:

      Thanks for the link! That looks like a fascinating study.

      I think of AAVE as two separate but related things: an accent and a dialect. Many African Americans speak with an accent that lies within the AAVE spectrum, even if their grammar is that of standard English. (A good, and relavent, example is Bill Cosby, who has often taken tremendous issue with AAVE the dialect, even if his accent has some AAVE features).

      One thing I find fascinating about discussions of AAVE is that while people are fairly comfortable talking about AAVE as a dialect of English, they seem somewhat less so talking about it as an accent. This discomfort may derive from a long history of racist literary transcriptions and the most horrifying types of linguistic pseudoscience (Bill Bryson mentions a 19th-Century “linguistics” text that tries to explain African American non-rhoticity via facial features), so that talking about how AAVE speakers actually pronounce things seems to be participating in a very icky tradition. Which is sad, because I think there is a lot in AAVE phonology to tell us about the origins and evolution of American Southern English in general.

      Regarding the spread of rhoticity in America, I’m undecided as to whether its Northern spread and Southern spread are related or not. Although we often think of the South being a bit more impervious to outside influences than other parts of the US, I doubt the region was impervious to the diaspora of American families occurring elsewhere in the country after WWII (in fact, my father’s family was one such family–they moved from Iowa to Wisconsin, then to Alabama!)

  6. Amy Stoller says:

    That was supposed to be “a couple of editions,” not “additions“! Type in haste, repent at leisure.

  7. AL says:

    I love this blog! I have no background in linguistics or dialectology (I’m a former engineer, now in library science) but I am simply fascinated by dialects and accents. Your posts have just the right amount of information to be readable and interesting.

    This entry makes me think of Blanche from the Golden Girls.

    • trawicks says:

      Thanks, AL! Blanche Deveraux is an excellent example of a kind of stereotypical non-rhotic Southerner. Although Rue McClanahan was from Oklahoma, so her accent on GG was maaayyybe a bit of an exaggeration 😉

      • David says:

        Well, Rue McClanahan’s “Golden Girls” character Blanche Devereaux, no matter how exaggerated her non-rhotic Southern accent was from Atlanta, GA, a historically non-rhotic area of the South, and obviously grew up when R-dropping there was even more the norm than now (or when the show was on network prime-time TV). So the non-rhoticity, no matter how exaggerated, was probably justifiable.

  8. LMc says:

    My grandmother, born 1928 in Savannah, GA pronounces (as does everyone else there) her name, “Martha” as “MOTH-uh” — nobody outside of that area ever knows what we’re saying.
    My Savannah family also always told me I “talk like a yankee.” I grew up in south Florida and I have no discernible southern accent. (Unless of course, I WANT to — flirting comes to mind!) I always tried to sound intelligent, so I never picked up the southern accent. I think that may be why it’s dying out. People have moved on, moved up, gotten educated/seen more of the world than our little corner of the US.

    • trawicks says:

      I love old accents in Savannah and Charleston. They are dying out, sadly, because it’s magical when you hear older speakers from that region.

      A lot of Florida is actually not classified as Southern. The Northern part of the state is fairly Southern, but the central region is only very mildly so, and the metropolitan areas in the southern part of the state are pretty much General American country.

      • David says:

        The near-lack in Central Florida and nearly to totally complete lack in South Florida of Southern accent–and Southern culture–in the state can be explained in one word: transplants. (Since Disney World opened in the ’70’s, as far as the Orlando area of Central Florida is concerned.)

  9. Amy Stoller says:

    I think of AAVE as two separate but related things: an accent and a dialect. Many African Americans speak with an accent that lies within the AAVE spectrum, even if their grammar is that of standard English.

    Well, it’s your blog; you can, like Humpty-Dumpty, use words to mean whatever you want them to mean. But I think you are comparing apples and oranges. AAVE is a language (dialect); it does have a variety of accent features typically associated with it, but it is not itself an accent.

    I’m sure you would agree that one can speak “standard” English in any accent; my point is that though it is less likely to hear a non-standard variety of English without the accent or accents usually associated with it, it is certainly possible.

    I don’t think you would make ever make the same statement about English English; i.e., that it is both a dialect and an accent. Nor would you about Irish English, Scottish English, Australian English, etc. Incidentally, just as AAVE is not monolithic, neither is the accent in which it is spoken. There are regional differences in both language and accent.

    My two cents; your mileage may vary.

    • trawicks says:

      A tad confused here, because I believe I DO make this distinction with those types of English! When I talk about a “Scottish accent,” I mean something different from what I mean by a “Scottish dialect.”

      For what it’s worth, though, I don’t believe I’m stating anything new here. “AAVE accent” seem a fairly acceptable term among linguists (there are examples of this phrase being used in studies here andhere). It’s true that the accent associated with AAVE varies wildly, but this is true of many “accents.”. You’re very right, though, in saying that people could speak a dialect without the accompanying accent (though I can’t think of any notable examples).

      Anyway, didn’t mean to cause offense with that earlier comment! I know this can be a rather delicate issue.

  10. Amy Stoller says:

    I don’t think either of the studies you’ve linked to are definitive examples of usage among linguists. But I do have a brand-new, barely-cracked copy of African-American English: Structure, history, and use which would surely shed light on the matter if only I had time to delve into deeply right now. (My to-be-read pile is threatening to topple over.)

    A quick dip shows me that Chapter 4 discusses the “phonology of AAVE,” and uses the term “AAVE phonology” – just as you do, above. The specific phrase that bothered me in your post above was “AAVE as an accent.” [Emphasis mine.] It seems to me clear that while AAVE can have an accent, it isn’t an accent. Whether this is an important distinction or idiosyncratic nit-picking on my part is an open question, of course, but that was the point I was trying to get at. And I probably wouldn’t have made such a fuss over it if only I weren’t trying to avoid the intricacies of Hiberno-English word order and sentence structure right now. Anything but my real work …

  11. Amy Stoller says:

    Delve into it. Not delve into. I’m covering myself in glory today.

    You didn’t cause me personal offense, but it is a tricky issue, not without reason.

    • trawicks says:

      No problem. I have about eight levels of work I should be doing as well, so I understand!

      I think we’re probably more on the same page with this than not. Although I used the odd phrase “AAVE accent” earlier, it’s not really a term I use myself, as I usually go with something along the lines of “AAVE-influenced accent.”

      I generally think of an accent as being part of a dialect. So in that light, I can see what you’re saying about my original statement: it might be read as similar to “I think of a house as both a building and a bathroom.” What still confuses me is the correct terminology for the accent(s) associated with AAVE. Since the dialect is non-regional, there isn’t as clear an adjective as “Scottish,” “Irish” or “Canadian” (and vaguely offensive terms like “African-American Accent” or “Black Accent” would be problematic).

      PS On a note of very unrelated (and unsolicited) praise, I didn’t realize you were the dialect coach for the Mint. I’ve always been really impressed by the dialect work there (particularly the DH Lawrence play from a few years back).

  12. Tom says:

    Isn’t this part of the larger distinction between a tidewater accent (Elizabethan English) vs. a highland accent (Scots-Irish)?

  13. MaximusNYC says:

    I suspect LMc is right: The decline of the non-rhotic Southern accent has to do with a general perception that it is backward and provincial.

    American English has been dramatically transformed over the last 100 years by recorded and broadcast media. As radio, movies and television established an “authoritative” American voice that had a certain type of midwestern accent, other accents increasingly seemed to be from the backwoods.

    Having lived in the south, and having experience with a few generations of southern relatives, my perception is that white southerners’ accents haven’t been gravitating away from African American accents, but rather gravitating toward “broadcast standard” English.

    • trawicks says:

      That’s true, Maximus, but I see that as more of an urban/metropolitan/college town phenomenon than a rural one. The General Americanization of cities like Dallas, Atlanta and Richmond is pretty obvious these days (particularly Dallas–I’ve known many people from there, and the majority have only the slightest of Southernisms). What’s curious are towns in the rural coastal/deep South that still sound very Southern, but have adopted rhoticity.

  14. Mark Paris says:

    I am from northwest Georgia. My father grew up there. My mother was born in southwest Georgia, not far from the coast, but grew up in Ohio at the start of the Depression. I have always been rhotic, and never noticed many in my area of Georgia with a nonrhotic accent. In fact, I used to think actors trying to speak in a Southern accent sounded ridiculous when they dropped their r’s. But when I worked in Augusta (east central Ga), and sometimes spoke to people south of there towards Savannah, I started started noticing far more dropped r’s. I don’t know why my area in NW Georgia would tend towards rhoticity, but I am pretty sure it does and, as far as I know, has for some time. That extends into northern Alabama, where I work now.

    My high school Latin teacher, a proper, elderly, local lady, pronounced the letter “r” as something like “are-uh”. I’m also pretty sure she dropped her r’s, but that was a long time ago and that memory is fading.

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  17. Scot Colford says:

    Well, this was a delightful find. I’m rehearsing the role of Gov. Slaton a production of Parade currently and have been having discussions with the actor playing Dorsey about the “proper” dialect to affect for our roles.

    Of course we’ve both been taught that, typically, American Southern dialects of the deep south are non-rhotic, but neither of us could turn up more than a few recordings of white, Atlanta-born speakers with such a dialect. Those we did find tended to be older recordings, or, as mentioned, older speakers. I suspected it was a historical difference, but like many commenters would hypothesize more that the advent of mass media is likely the most significant contributor to the phenomenon.

    It’s great to have validation that the dialect has changed over time instead of worrying that there may be other factors involved. Since the show is set from 1913-1915, I’m glad we can just Foghorn Leghorn the crap out of it. 😉

  18. David says:

    NASCAR driver Elliot Sadler (from Emporia, VA (somewhere between Richmond and the state’s Tidewater (aka Hampton Roads) area, if I have my geography correct) is yet another example of a younger Southerner who exhibits non-rhoticity at least occasionally. Even Alana Thompson (from Georgia), the “Honey Boo Boo” of the reality show’s title “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”, drops her final R’s once in a while. And they’re BOTH younger than Bobby Deen, more so in the case of Honey Boo Boo.

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  20. Travis says:

    I googled rhoticity in Southern dialects and came across this page. Great discussion!

    I live in the piedmont of North Carolina, an area largely settled by Scots-Irish and Germans (who learned to speak English from the Scots-Irish). Of course, before either of those groups arrived in the mid-1700s, there were English, Welsh, and Scottish pioneers who had come decades earlier.

    My grandmother, who is around 70 years old, was born and raised here in Salisbury, and speaks with dropped R’s throughout much of her speech, for example “pretend” is “puhtend,” Norma is “Nohma,” North Carolina is “Nohth Keh-lyna” etc. If I had to compare it to anyone, it’s like a mixture of the dialects of Charlie Rose and Shelby Foote.

    The one major difference between her and the majority of people here is, she is of very early colonial English descent, and some early Highland Scottish on her mothers side.

    On the other hand, my step-grandfather who was also from here was born in the 1910s, and was of pre-revolutionary war German descent. He spoke with a rhotic, Scots-Irish influenced accent.

    One theory I tossed around was that before the Civil War, the system in the South was unquestionably dominated by English descent planters. Sure, there were Scots-Irish planters as well, but when you think of the larger centers of wealth (Charleston SC, Savannah GA, coastal VA, Natchez MS, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, etc) these places had a great Anglo-Southern presence in the social elite, (and French influenced dialects in Louisiana, which of course are also non-Rhotic) so I believe speaking with those dropped R’s was a way to sound classy, and was probably the natural manner of speaking for people of English descent.

    Now, speaking of modern times, I once read a quote that said, more or less, that after the Civil War, the South lost it’s classy, gentry ruled culture, and became taken over by more “white-trash” type people who hadn’t had power before (which could have been opportunistic, poor, rural Scots-Irish types. That’s one idea other than the division of dialects based on race that this article suggests.

    Another could simply be the mainstream media and a great deal of Northern teachers put into classrooms here who teach “standard” American English, which is rhotic.

    I do take a pride in my Foghorn Leghorn-like accent that slips out after a few cold ones :p haha

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  24. Logan says:

    Maybe its cheating, but i’m trying to train myself to develop a non-rhotic accent. I can’t help but love it. My favorite non-rhotic speaker is Strom Thurmond. What’s so interesting about his accent is the way he prnounces words like hurt and Percy .

  25. Shawne says:

    Just stumbled upon this blog while researching what official name the non-rhotic Southern accent goes by. I got on this after thoroughly enjoying watching an old film of Billy Graham preaching at one of his crusades from the 1970’s, and how much power the combination of both his voice AND his accent had. Love this blog post. I would think Graham is an excellent and familiar example of what is discussed here.

  26. C says:

    I grew up in southern Mississippi and can remember my grandparents pronouncing words like wash as warsh, actually adding an r. I wish I knew more about my family history. From reading around it looks like that’s more of an Appalachian feature than gulf or delta. The racial explanation for becoming more rhotic makes sense. I only briefly was enrolled in a public school but it was apparent we were desegregated in name only. I soon learned my lesson for associating with the blacks. They weren’t very accepting except for one who I played with only outside of school. It was interesting the way she talked. In particular I remember her str sounding more like scr. I can’t recall any instances of pronunciation being corrected because it sounded black, but my little brother once used the word be in the black way among other things and was told to stop talking black. I found it funny, but will admit I disapprove of such talking. It’s odd though because the two dialects do share many features. I’d like to speak more true to my roots. When I was younger I tried to adopt a more standard American accent. I still spoke southern I got comments when on voice chat or Web camming, but I find it mild compared to many other people around me. While the southern accents may be stigmatized outside of the region, it’s a social handicap if you don’t have one here.

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