Reasons to Love Memphis No. 49: Our Accents
The Memphis accent is a beautiful thing.
This may come as a surprise to those of you who don’t live in the South, but all Southern accents don’t sound alike. The thick, honeyed drawl that one you’ve probably heard in movies or on TV is more closely associated with rural areas and the Deep South.
The Memphis accent is more delicate. It’s in the way we pronounce our vowels and slightly slur our consonants. It’s not a drawl so much as a lilt.
It’s one of the things that bothers me most when movies and shows are set in Memphis. Most of the time, the actors way overshoot the accent, catapulting it from the Mid-South to somewhere between a bad stereotype and rural Alabama. (One notable exception is Craig Brewer’s “Hustle and Flow” – it’s pretty dead on.)
I was thinking about this today because fellow Memphis blogger Kalisa posted her “accent vlog“. The accent vlog has been circulating for the last few days, and it’s a pretty cool way to see how other people talk. Basically, you read a list of standard words and then answer a handful of questions in your normal voice so that others can hear how you pronounce them.
I’ll show you mine if you show me yours:
As a sidenote, the list didn’t include a lot of the words that regularly fall victim to my accent. I’ve been told that “bacon” and “baking” sound the same coming out of my mouth, as do “pen” and “pin”.
So, what’s your accent like? What do you think a Memphis accent is, exactly?