This post is part of our ongoing exploration of the 64 Arts.
Our place of origin, where we spent our formative years, has a profound effect on us. Those lessons stick with us like glue, no matter where else we go and how much we learn out in the world. Or how much we try to forget. It’s how we learn to live. And it’s also how we learn to speak.
Now, I spent a lot of time and concentrated effort to eliminate the Southern drawl from my voice. Sure, it still comes out now and again, and sometime I pull it out for effect, but for the most part I did my best back in school to adapt a less-place-based talk, one that sounded more professional. And it worked quite well.
I was chatting with a gentleman at the farmer’s market a while back and he asked where I was from.
“Louisiana,” I answered.
“Oh, then, but you went to school,” he said, “because you don’tÂ sound like you’re from Louisiana.”
Even though I’ve lost the accent (for the most part), there are still things I say that pinpoint where I’m from. Back in December the NY Times even put up a quiz that will pinpoint the cities you most talk like. Where did I end up?
Baton Rouge, LA; Irving, TX; and Jackson, MS–not all that far off, really.
There are several such “tests” and tools out there, plus a video challenge that went around earlier this year that had you reciting certain words and answering certain questions to demonstrate your accent.
Why don’t you check out the quiz (linked above) and share your results in the comments?