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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

An Appalachian Moans On An Ohio Campus: Bland Midwest Stifles My Unique Accent

KENT, Ohio (TDB) -- Daily Kent Stater columnist Doug Hite writes that his "vivid" Appalachian accent bestowed by the mountains of southwestern Virginia has been sabotaged by living in Ohio. Hite says he now talks like a flatlander. He seems to think that spoken English in the Buckeye State is as bland as a pot of vegetables with all the vitamins steamed out.

The junior English major resents Ohio's emphasis on speaking standardly without a hint of twang or colorful expression. Without mentioning the dreaded H-word (hil-bil--), Hite says Ohioans see a drawl as a sign of being backwards, or poor, or culturally inept.

"I once has a beautiful Appalachian dialect filled with y'alls, fur pieces and a unique syntax much more vivid and expressive than any other form of English I have heard. But that is now as distant to me as the mountains I grew up in the shadows of.

"How did you kill it? Through every depiction of a Southern drawl your 'standard' English has portrayed. My accent, through years of stereotypes spread by humor and the media, has been equated with ignorance and primitivism. This has been done by speakers of 'standard' English in a vain and often subconscious attempt to assert their way of life, their dialect and their regional home as greater and more advanced than that of other areas."

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately Bill, Hite's right.

    Mine's soft, escaping only in certain phrasings and words and my wife is the only person who nags me on it.

    But I know of others, from parts of the country with stronger accents and more unique dialects, who've been skewered by Ohioans for how they speak.

    And when I moved here, I was conscious of killing it myself rather quickly.

    Short story: last Saturday I was at a school festival talking with a group of friends as the children ran circles crazed on sugar and the promise of winning prizes. A smart, educated, successful consultant type lady finished a harangue by asking, "Do they want to live in Appalachian?".

    Aside from mispronouncing it, her sarcasm and superiority were blatant. So I said:

    I do recall the Governor being from that way...