Americanisms (was RE: Sorcery and Cecilia and Desert Island books)

deborah deborah.dwj at
Wed Jan 19 09:24:49 EST 2005

On Tue, 18 Jan 2005, Margaret Ball wrote:
|Ah, another DDP (dialectically displaced person). My mother loathed her
|family background so much (think Okies who didn't have the gumption to
|move west when the Dust Bowl happened, but drifted south into East Texas
|instead) that she trained herself to speak like a radio announcer. At
|least that's what I think she did. She won't talk about it.

Yes, both my parents got accent training.  My mum couldn't get a job
with the London City Council at age 16 until she learned to speak
proper, and my dad had a high school English teacher who wouldn't let
them leave her class until they didn't sound so Lynn.  (You know the
Boston accent?  Not the JFK / Mayor Quimby one, but the one you've all
heard parodied as "pahk the cah in havahd squayuh"?  Lynn is like that,
only more working class.  Imagine Boston with a touch of Down East
Yankee, only more nasal.  I've like it, but it's a real class marker of
an accent.)

|I get SO tired of people saying, "You were born here? (Austin, Texas)
|But you don't talk like a Texan!"
|I'm not about to bore them and myself with family history, so I usually
|mumble something like, "well, my family moved around a lot when I was a
|Do you meet this problem, and if so, what do you do about it?

I usually shrug and mutter, "dunno.  Tv, maybe?"  I have a pretty
neutral American television accent, so it's not so bad, but I wish more
people knew I was local.  It gets weird when I suddenly do slip into
Lynn, though, calling my sister "Linder" or some such.  Then people look
at me funny.

Pet Peeve: Tourists or new residents, when they discover a friendly
local who doesn't sound like a native, saying, "Everyone's just so
*rude* up here!" to me.  Excuse me, do I go around your neighborhood
reiterating unkind and untrue conventional wisdoms about your home?  Do I
wander around Nashville saying, "Everyone's just so *racist* here?"  No,
I think not.  Let's have a think about who's the rude one.

ObDWJ: Now I think about poor evacuated DWJ wandering around Wales
listening to everyone babble on in language she was expected to know and

Sir! I protest! I am _not_ a merry man!
		--lt. worf

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