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Southern English has contributed and continues to contribute to General English a variety of highly colorful idioms: Mad as a rooster in an empty henhouse, Don't get crosslegged Don't get mad.

A Guide to the Brummie Accent and Slang

What is the origin of certain features of Southern English that cannot be traced back to dialectal differences among the original immigrants from the British Isles? The upper class southern dialects and the dialects of the coastal southern areas where few native Americans remained were influenced by the English spoken by West Africans. Most linguists today believe these features derive from the influence of the speech patterns of the Africans brought to the 13 colonies as slaves between and , when the slave trade was prohibited.

This would include the southern drawl. Let's take a look at the ethnic dialect that has come to be known as Black English. Black English developed in the Southern states when speakers of dozens of West African languages were abruptly forced to abandon their native tongues and learn English. Slaves from different tribes couldn't communicate with one another--in fact, masters deliberately tried to separate slaves who could speak the same language. Since the Africans had to communicate with one another, as well as with the whites, a kind of compromise language evolved on the basis of English and a mixture of the original West African languages.

Such a makeshift, compromize language, used as a second language by adults, is known as a pidgin. When a pidgin becomes the native language of the next generation, it becomes a creole --a full-fledged language. Black English, in turn, gradually influenced the speech of southern whites--especially the children of the aristocratic slave owners.

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Given the social prejudices of the Old South, this seems paradoxical. However, remember that throughout all the slave owning areas, black nannies helped raise white children, and the children of blacks and whites played freely together before the Civil War. Since language features acquired in early childhood tend to be kept throughout life, Southern English naturally became mixed with Black English.

Whenever a group of adults is forced to learn a second language, the language learned retains many features of the original native language. Thus, the English of black slaves retained many features that were African and not present in English at all.

The children of the slaves learned this form of English as their native language. Thus, on the basis of language mixing, a new dialect, called a creole, was born. This process--at least in some small degree-- characterizes the English of all Americans whose parents spoke English as a second language.

But in the case of African Americans, due to the social separation they lived under from the very start, the differences were stronger and more lasting.

British Accents and Dialects: A Rough Guide

He be workin'. This is found in many West African languages.


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Bantu from Arabic jazib one who allures , banjo mbanza? Also, the phrases: sweet talking , every which way; to bad-mouth, high-five are from Black English--seem to be either American innovations or loan translations from West African languages. The speech of African Americans gradually became more like the speech of their southern white neighbors--a process called decreolization.

And the speech of the whites became slightly more like that of the blacks. However, in a few areas, the original African English creole was preserved more fully. There is one dialect of Black English still spoken on the Georgia coast, called Gullah , which is still spoken there by about 20, people; it is thought to represents the closest thing to the original creole. After the Civil War, Black English continued to evolve and change, especially in the creation of new vocabulary. After the 's millions of blacks migrated to northern cities, where various varieties of Black English continue to develop.

There is one other notable southern English dialect. The Cajun French in Louisiana also adopted English with noticeable traces of their former language. From the Quakers, or Society of Friends, migrated from the north midlands of England and Wales to the Delaware valley. Their speechways--mixed with those of later German and Swedish immigrants--gave rise to the distinctive band of dialects spoken in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Contributions to American English: great number of euphemisms. Speakers tried to avoid saying male or female names for animals that might have sexual connotations bull, cock , etc. These people are called the " Scots-Irish. The true Scottish and Irish people were Celts who spoke Scots-Gaelic or its close relative Irish-Gaelic and most did not adopt English until the 18th or 19th century. Good luck! It came about as the dialect of the London working classes, especially in the poorer East End of the city.

The Cockney dialect also gave us Rhyming Slang , and you can still hear plenty of market traders round the East End shouting out in Cockney from their stalls. Yorkshire is a big county in England, and lots of people speak with a variation of the Yorkshire dialect as a result. The Northern Irish accent is quite a beautiful one, and a strong one too. Here are some great tips.

Types of British Accents

The Scottish dialect varies hugely from city to city, town to town, and becomes increasingly like the Irish accent in the Western Isles, and increasingly like Nordic languages in the islands to the far north. The more remote the area, the stronger the accent seems to become, so people from the Shetland Islands can be hard to understand at first.

And Glaswegian can be tricky too — even for Scots themselves! Something beyond rhythm; something like style. Whatever this quality may be, it operates as well on Sunday morning as it does on Saturday night.

Accent Discrimination: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

Consider the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. His rich, swooping Baptist cadences, almost musical in tone, have become part of the American soundscape. His rhetoric was a breakthrough by way of synthesis.

He had an unmistakably black sound, a sound that had been forged over centuries in the privacy of segregated worship, but he fitted it, often, over flawless Standard English syntax that straddled in its rhythms the Constitution and the Bible. They remind us: black talk has—at high cost, to often beautiful effect—become a moral language, too.

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British Accents: MANCHESTER / MANCUNIAN