I have an embarrassing tendancy to pick up people's accents. I love to hear English spoken in a southern drawl. I love the Aussie way of ending sentences so they sound like a question (with an upward intonation on the last word) or how they pronounce words ending in 'ay' with an 'ie' sound (To-die was a good die!)
And I frequently find myself answering someone using their same way of talking.
I once met a speaker I very much admired at a leadership conference in Colorado. She was from Tennessee or Alabama or somewhere down there and had the most engaging accent. She asked me where I was from and I told her that I was living in California but that I was originally from Oregon. Except I said all that in my best Nashville accent.
It sounded absolutely ridiculous.
She smiled, a puzzled, frozen sort of look on her face, and turned to greet someone else. I hit myself on the forehead and crumbled in a heap. (Not really but I could have.)
I read enough blogs written by women in the south and pretty soon I'm typing "y'all" and "I love me some chocolate" before I realize it. I have a serious problem.
In doing research for this blog post, I came across this wonderful website - Y'Allbonics. Here I learned a few southern slang terms that I can creatively weave into my everyday conversations:
BOB WAR - (noun) - A sharp, twisted cable.
Usage: "Boy, stay away from that bob war fence."
BARD - (verb) - Past tense of the infinitive "to borrow."
Usage: "My brother bard my pickup truck an I hope he gits it an all change."
Sorry about that. I know that since I'm not from the south, I have no right to poke fun at southern slang. I should be poking fun at my own self and the things I say that sound ridiculous to others.
Like saying "pop" instead of soda.
Although I did come across this interesting piece of information while doing my research for this post:
The Pacific Northwest English accent is considered to be "very neutral" to most Americans. It does, however, possess the low back vowel merger, or the Cot-caught merger. Pacific Northwest English is one of the closest living accents to conservative General American English. It lacks the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, and does not participate as strongly in the California Vowel Shift or the Canadian raising as do other regional accents.
So if you're from California and we're having a conversation and I suddenly slip into my California Vowel Shift or the Cot-caught merger, please excuse me. I mean absolutely no disrespect. I just love y'alls accent!
PS: I found this blog title while reading another blog - when I saw the word, I just had to use it!