Saturday, November 26, 2005

What is "Southern"?

I came across this interesting article a few days ago, "Definition of South, Southern Is Changing." I question the authenticity of the polls, because the polling sample would have to be pretty large to give a trustworthy projection. Pointing out a difference of seven percentage points is meaningless when a poll of typical size (several hundred people) can have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 or 4 percent.

May I put this to my readers for discussion: how do you all ("youse all"? "y'all"?) in the South feel about all us Yankees moving down? Ironically, it's often to escape all the oppressive taxation we've brought upon ourselves, because we keep re-electing the same tax-and-spenders (Democrats and Republicans alike). I say "us" and "we" because, though I did live for my first seven years in the Philippines and then 17 years in the western U.S., my father was always a Yankee, and I was raised one. "New Yorker" is not appropriate, because I'm not of the city and likely never will be. Nightfall in Manhattan is a wondrous thing, but it's so nice to come home to the quiet of Westchester.

I myself wonder what "New Yorker" means today when so many young women, born and raised in the city, talk just like the stereotypical Valley Girl. TV and movies have certainly done much to blur distinctions between regional accents, though there are always exceptions. One of my best friends is as Bronx-sounding as they come, and she'll still "axe" me something, for example. Conversely, one thing that's rubbed off on me is a too-infrequent tendency to say "How are ya?" (emphasis on "are") instead of what I used to say, "How are you?" (emphasis on "you").

3 Comments:

Blogger TKC said...

I always thought 'how are ya' was middle America. 'Howdy' is southren, which I use a lot.

Y'all is singular or plural. All y'alls is plural. It kinda depends on who you are talking to.

Beer is also pronounced with an 'h'. Like bee-ah.
Maryland is not exactly the south (depending, again, on who you talk to) but I have a tendency to have a slight southern accent. More so if I've been drinking.

Also, from my days at the Univ of MD, there were a lot girls from Jersey who also attended. Besides the 'axe you a question' thing we got a big kick out of how they described where they were from by their exit number on the NJ Turnpike. We'd laugh and say, "Don't these places have names?"

Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Standard Mischief said...

Carpet Bagger! (kidding)
Actually, I'm working on a post about Maryland and how it's kinda in limbo. You see, Maryland is below the Mason-Dixon line, but was forced to stay in the union during the War between the States. If you want to get an idea of the politics around that time, check out the lyrics to our state song. Among other things, Lincoln placed a ring of cannons around the port of Baltimore, facing in.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

"How are ya" I seemed to have gotten from a few Italian-Americans who said that. Oh yes, there's also "How ya doin'?" Interestingly, I just realized my friend from the Bronx, Italian-American,

Maybe it's not just a Jersey thing to use exit numbers. Westchester is filled with many small towns and hamlets that few Manhattanites have ever heard of. When I tell someone where I live, should the person be familiar with the Saw Mill Parkway or I-684, I can give an exit's number or the name of the town.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:18:00 AM  

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