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Mr. Henry’s article hit the spot, or as Diane Smith says, “Spot on.” We Texans are not to be lonely in the accent game Mr. Henry speaks of. Having grown up in Lyndon Johnson’s Hometown of Johnson City, Texas, we spoke both cowboy and German. Around the Texas hill country there are many ranchers whose families migrated (legally) over a hundred years ago. Their accent depends on the location the grandparents came from. I discovered this after living in Germany for four years and working hard to learn the language. The highest compliment ever paid me was when my teacher told me she was sorry but that I had developed a Bavarian accent. I asked her why that was a problem and she answered, “Well, that is Southern accent and when you travel up north they won’t understand you.” I told her I had the same problem back home in the United States.
The one thing I know is that you and know two Texans anywhere you travel in the world. They are the first to find and greet each other with one particular phrase…”How much rain did ya get!” This happened to me in Germany, Washington, D.C., Kansas, Kentucky, and Arizona…all places we were stationed. Why receiving rain in another place was important to either Texan always made me laugh. Then I reasoned that rain and receiving it is always a part of the Texas mentality for here it is always a feast of rain or a famine/drought.p>Happy Thanksgiving…. br> — Beverly Gunn br> East Texas Rancher /p>
Another entertaining article from Mr. Henry; one of my interests is in regional accents and how it shapes opinions of others.
One of the most fascinating political ramifications of accents was from a PBS or Discovery Channel special I’d seen many moons ago. It focused on how the connotations of accents change over the years. For example, in the 1960’s, an upper-crusty New England accent (imagine JFK saying “Harvard Yard”) was supposedly a net positive to a presidential candidate, while a more “common man” accent like LBJ’s Texas twang was a net negative.
Over time, the JFK accent has changed so that it’s now perceived as a negative — certainly John Kerry always seemed to me to be “talking to the help” when on the stump. By contrast, a Southern accent is more comfortable and down-home, which gives candidates like Dubya — and Bill Clinton! — an edge with the (IMO) most critical swing voters. By that I don’t mean those who vacillate between parties — I mean the 10% of the electorate which is ideologically innocent, only looking at the candidates a week or two before Nov. 7, and thinks, “Hmm, who looks and sounds most trustworthy?”
I do have to take two minor issues with Mr. Henry’s close:
“My son Bud has noticed that his classmates’ accents are less pronounced than their parents’. Absent some temporary fad, like slurry or Valley Girl, that is the established trend.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?