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Thread: Southern Accent

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave MaggieMae's Avatar
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    Southern Accent

    I don't know what just made me think of this but then I decided I would ask.

    I never would say anything offensive on purpose. However I met some people once who were from the south. When we were talking I said something about how I was shocked because I expected them to have more of an accent. I mean I've met people who live a LOT closer to me who have a southern accent.

    So anyway, I said that and suddenly they were REALLY offended by what I said. I told them I was sorry and I didn't mean it as offensive. Everyone has an accent. I have an accent. I am not 100% sure what you would call it though. I wasn't trying to say that as a negative thing but more of a curious thing. Kind of like small talk I guess. I don't know.

    So my question is, what did I say that was wrong? Do people not like it when you ask things like that?

    Maybe that is common sense and the dumbest question ever, I don't know, but I guess I don't get it so I need to know.

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    Cavy Slave fresian.m's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    I've been made fun of for the way I say some things because I live in the South but I came from Minnesota so I say "again" weird and stuff like that. Or soda vs pop. But I've never been offended by it.

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    Cavy Slave MaggieMae's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by fresian.m View Post
    I've been made fun of for the way I say some things because I live in the South but I came from Minnesota so I say "again" weird and stuff like that. Or soda vs pop. But I've never been offended by it.
    See I get the Soda VS Pop VS Coke thing all the time. I don't think you can win that one if you ever run into someone who thinks their way is right.

    But yeah I wasn't being specific about anything. I didn't say anything stereotypical or quote any "southern" sayings and ask why they didn't use them because I could see why that would be offensive.

    Maybe they were just overly sensitive?

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    Cavy Slave guineapigluver1's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMae View Post
    Maybe they were just overly sensitive?
    They were being overly sensitive. I certainly wouldn't have been offended in the least. I have a slight southern accent. Some friends who live in New England and I compare how we say things differently and call some things a different names all the time (such as soda and pop). We all have a good laugh over it.

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    Cavy Slave fresian.m's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    They were being over sensitive. My friends giggle almost every time I say again or anything that sounds Minnesotan, and I couldn't care less. Accents isn't something to get offended about.

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    Cavy Star Cogni's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMae View Post
    When we were talking I said something about how I was shocked because I expected them to have more of an accent.
    It depends partly on how you said it, but they took your 'shock' as an expression of negativity, and that is because of widespread negativity in the U.S. towards southern American speech--either they thought you took them as dumb hicks who 'surprisingly' spoke better than you thought they would, being from the south; or they thought that calling attention to the way southerners typically speak denigrates southerners, even though you noted that they don't speak that way.

    As a child and budding linguist, I had a long and painful learning curve about how and when to notice out loud aspects of people's speech. So often people take it as negative reflection on their speech or on the speech of the people from their region. I've learned not to say anything about people's speech until I know them a little better. It's not quite as bad as making a remark about people's religion or politics, but it's getting there. It is a personal comment about something that is essentially a part of them. And if that something is a characteristic that people have negative associations with, it is even more tricky to mention it as small talk.
    If you only meet a person once, just stay silent about the way they talk. Believe me your life will be more pleasant!

  7. #7
    Cavy Slave MaggieMae's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogni View Post
    It depends partly on how you said it, but they took your 'shock' as an expression of negativity, and that is because of widespread negativity in the U.S. towards southern American speech--either they thought you took them as dumb hicks who 'surprisingly' spoke better than you thought they would, being from the south; or they thought that calling attention to the way southerners typically speak denigrates southerners, even though you noted that they don't speak that way.

    As a child and budding linguist, I had a long and painful learning curve about how and when to notice out loud aspects of people's speech. So often people take it as negative reflection on their speech or on the speech of the people from their region. I've learned not to say anything about people's speech until I know them a little better. It's not quite as bad as making a remark about people's religion or politics, but it's getting there. It is a personal comment about something that is essentially a part of them. And if that something is a characteristic that people have negative associations with, it is even more tricky to mention it as small talk.
    If you only meet a person once, just stay silent about the way they talk. Believe me your life will be more pleasant!
    It was a weird situation. It was from a game on the internet so I had talked to them almost daily for a few months but had never "spoken" to them before then. It was completely casual. I wouldn't have ever said that had I not felt they "knew" me well enough to get what I meant but I guess they didn't. At one point in the game you had to talk via microphone so that is where it all sprouted from. And yes I am a game nerd sometimes.

    I think it went something like "Where are you guys from again?" and then "Oh, I thought you would have had a more southern accent." and then it was all "What is THAT supposed to mean?" and then I just kind of didn't know what to say. Somehow I managed to turn it into a joke asking them if I do or don't sound like someone from Fargo since I live more north and then it all settled out but I didn't mean a thing by it. It was just small talk since we were all hearing what we sounded like for the first time.

    But I see what you are saying. They probably thought I thought of them as some stereotyped person with a southern accent because for some reason the media likes to make poor dumb people talk like they are from the south for comedic value which is dumb in itself. I know plenty of poor dumb people who speak just like me. Joke... Sorry this topic is getting uncomfortable now.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Southern Accent

    I agree with Cogni -- they probably misinterpreted your comment as criticism. It's something southerners outside the south run into a lot, and the comments are not always meant as benignly as you meant yours.

    There's a cliche about "speaking while southern," sort of like "driving while black." Just as many black people have been stopped by law enforcement officers for no other reason than being black, many southerners have been thought to be ignorant and uneducated just because they speak with southern accents. I don't mean, in any way, to be comparing the seriousness of the two examples, or to be suggesting that being looked down upon because of your accent is in any way as damaging as racial prejudice. I'm just pointing out that both groups have been the recipient of prejudicial statements and behavior by others who know nothing about them, and may therefore be sensitive to any slight.

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