Friday, August 31, 2007




Monday I heard a perfect Southern man's voice. Sitting in the pew at the regional grouping of churches discussing churches who wish to depart our fellowship, a speaker's voice caught my ear. I turned around to see a tall man in a seersucker suit speaking passionately about his congregation. I don't know him. Can't recall where he's from or what he said. His voice! That educated dulcet toned Southern male voice was enough.

Accents? I love listening to regional and national speech.

Listening to the Canadian news on the 'net last night, I tried to hear the difference in the newscaster's accent. It was the "ou" sound as in "about". Very different from mine.

We don't know what our voices sound like, do we? I hear my recorded voice played back to me and cringe. Every. Single. Time.

I called LLS this week and heard in her voice mail message our Mother's voice. Lovely to my ears!

I listened to the voices at the Mission yesterday and heard speech bereft of any public education or education in English at all. The woman is a native English speaker but her use of words showed that her speech was private, that is, not used for commerce or the larger public.

The volunteers who come to help us laugh at the use of "y'all" then begin to use it. "Y'all" is a useful word and somehow sweeter than "you guys".

LD changes her accent to fit her audience moving effortlessly from high school speech to talking with parents to navigating the larger world. Some of her tones have an NC quality from her months with LLS.

We'll have dinner Saturday night with one of my favorite voices: a native Mississippian with a cultured accent who commands a room with a beautiful sound.

Our Songbird says that her Southern accent comes out when she talks with me. She sounds familiar to me, so this must be true.

I come from the South and our voices are distinctive.

Listening,

St. Casserole

12 comments:

Teri said...

hmm, I have found that I pick up accents quickly. Someone told me once that this was like yawning when someone else yawns--it has to do with empathy or something. That's nicer than the way I always thought of it--as me having a sort of porous, changeable "identity," the kind that comes from moving around a lot.

Anyway, my southern accent came out the first day we were in New Orleans. I grew up near Seattle...but my seminary years apparently created a southern accent for me. When I lived in Scotland I picked up a hint of an accent and it lingered when I came home. For months after I returned, people would ask where I was from. They did not want to hear "Seattle." They wanted to hear someplace exotic. I started saying "Seattle, but I just returned from living in Scotland" to explain my lilt.

Now I live in the midwest and I have not picked up the accent at all, thank goodness. nasal vowels I can live without. I think, however, that your accent is lovely. You made me want to speak like a Southern Lady. :-)

This is the longest comment ever. I'm going back to bed now.
love!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Oh yes, our voices are *different* aren't they?

SpookyRach said...

I love to listen, too.

Songbird said...

Wish I could hear that voice! Love hearing yours, whenever I can.

zorra said...

The Scientist and I make a conscious effort to keep our accents, and here it's not always easy. The 'burbs are so yankeefied that even kids who were born here address everyone as "you guys".

Sue said...

In one of the room at the Poe Museum in Richmond VA, there is a voice of a Southern man reciting "The Raven." I could have stayed there all afternoon, his voice was so delicious.

Cathy said...

You know, if you think about it, y'all is an inclusive term - you guys is excludes you gals ;)

Just sayin....

I am feeling a blog posting coming out of your posting.

I love dialects and accents - unfortunately we are losing some of these through the influence of the media and the desire to homogenize spoken speech.

Cathy said...

I knew it was a bloggable moment. So I had to continue your topic at my place.

Alex said...

I love listening to my dear hubby talking on the phone to relatives in Arkansas. His Southern accent becomes so pronounced and he is so cute!

Quotidian Grace said...

I'll testify that zorra and the scientist have kept their accents! In fact, I was struck by how much St. Casserole sounds like zorra when I met her this summer in Atlanta.

Nothing makes El Jefe happier than using his best West Texas accent with New York bankers and lawyers.

revabi said...

I love this post. I know that accent. I have heard it in Columbus, GA and Bham, AL. I love it.

I enjoyed reading this, it reminded me, that I hate hearing my voice too in a recording.

I have such a mix of Southern, midwestern. We'll have to compare our accents at the next get together.

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