On a recent trip to the Deep South to take care of some unpleasant business, I began to notice a few incidences of the famous Southern accent evolving into something akin to a foreign language. Not everyone speaks it, but here and there, a few people have swallowed a mouthful of slurry verbiage.
I grew up near the Gulf Coast. I had a Southern accent. I know a drawl when I hear one. I can tell the difference between a Birmingham and Lower Alabama. I hear the peculiars of the accents north of Atlanta and those in southern Georgia. I know what Mississippi sounds like 100 yards away. Nashville too. Louisiana has it’s own flavor as well. But this new thing coming out of Southerner’s mouths is difficult to peel from the English language.
Besides the typical Southern syllable stretching, this new version combines short, choppy odd sounds that may not be words at all. It sounds like lazy words mixed with hiccupping and burping and mumbling. Sometimes the speaker’s mouth doesn’t even move. These people would be amazing ventriloquists, but no one would ever understand their dummy. It it like Larry the Cable Guy drunk on cheap hooch. I was not sure whether to nod in agreement, laugh or just knock the hell out of the person for insulting me.
An angry woman castigated me on the phone for some perceived injustice and I was not sure whether she was choking or trying to start a malfunctioning Weedeater. Hitting someone in the tongue with a hammer might produce such an accent. Even some of my deeply Southern friends were confused by it.
I know one of these people will read this blog and write me a nasty comment. It will read like follows:
“Hardar yu riiiiit summmmensumeeeaaaann anhuurrrrtless abut yerpeppeplle hic, click, swallow, glup, burp mutheerrfarker ulll kiiiiiiicyerasss nextumiseeyeee.”
And I will respond: “Suriuhrothayyyytabutthaeeeuwayyysumpepltawk.”
Seems like I have picked up the accent now. Daaaaaaaamn.