01 June 2016

Raleigh (NC) Accent Fades ... an evolving southern community

Many in Raleigh (NC) Don’t Sound Like Their Ancestors

With increased mobility when combined with economic necessity or preference, many move away from where they were born and often from where their ancestors spent generations.

Of course, then you have people like me of “emigrant mutt” ancestry, who grew up in New England and now lives in a southern state, North Carolina, in the mentioned city of Raleigh.

Ignoring my particular data point, Dick Eastman in a blog post last year, Do You Speak Like Your Ancestors? If You are from Raleigh, the Answer is “Probably Not.”, talks about the town where I live and it’s ever evolving linguistic nature.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) has a long reputation of doing excellent research into linguistics. Some of you may have heard of Walt Wolfram, who has done unparalleled research into sociolinguistics.

The post by Dick Eastman refers to the research done, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant where it was discovered that As a Southern community changes, an accent fades.

I know that my children, when attending school, had almost no Raleigh-born children in their classes, never mind those born in North Carolina.  Or, if they were born in North Carolina, their parents had been born and lived elsewhere.  None of their friends ever had a southern drawl or anything close.

Just another reminder that what we “see” or “hear” now may be quite different from what our ancestors experienced in the same locale.

Has your community experienced something similar?  A change in the once local accent?

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