Friday, February 09, 2007

A She-Devil?? Peach Armadillo

Ok. Miss Pink Drama decided me. I was going to throw up this depressing thing about prejudice but instead I'll throw up a lighthearted thing about prejudice and regional accents. 'K? 'K!!

The thing that clinched it was an 'Are you a Yankee' test I took over at someones place last week. (Was It yours? Do come forward and accept your Rice a Roni!)
Judged by my speech patterns, I am not. Although I live almost as far north as it is humanly possible to live and still be in the contiguous U.S. I am a damn mushmouth.

Now let's do that as if I were to speak aloud.

So like th thingit clinchtit wuh zis 'Are youwwa Yankee' tesdai tuk overda summons place lass week. (Wuzzitchores? Do cm ford n ukseptcher Rysa Roni!)
Judge by my speech patrns, like, nuparntlee umnodda yankee. Ulthowai live almoziz far fuckin north azitz humunlee possible n stull be in th c'ntijis U.S. I'm a fuckin mushmouth. Uh mean, Dude.

Now Miss Pink makes the assertion that Yankees still portray folks with a Southern accent as a bunch of tards. Truth be told, she's right. For example, on television lately the only positively portrayed character with a distinguishable southern accent is that blonde weapons expert lady on CSI Miami. Otherwise, if they're women, they're fat, slutty and stupid. If they're men, they're stupid inbred thugs who run around assraping people. I bet everyone south of the Mason Dixon line still wants to wring the neck of the guy who wrote 'Deliverance'.

But where did I learn to speak lke a cracker? Well, from my father, for one. In fact he twanged. This was a man who spoke Finnish until he was in second grade! And remember, he was born and raised in Oregon. So where did he learn? I figure it had to be from all the little cracker children he grew up with.

Think about it. During the Civil war, there was a huge influx of southerners who wanted no part of that mess and came out to homestead (up until 1972, in fact, there was still lots of free land in Oregon yours for the homesteading. All you had to do was prove up $200.00 and they gave you 2 years to do it.)Another huge wave came West around the time of the late 20's and early 30's, when corporate logging and shipbuilding were booming in Oregon.

Now, I think what proves my case here is that a few companies from further north up here in Washington did the same thing. To this day there is a pocket of twangin fools up in around Alger, five miles away from Bellingham. Also Clear Lake, Big Rock, Newhalem and so on. Different timber companies would go out, buy a giant chunk of land, build a town in the middle of it and then sen recruiters south with busses. But unlike Oregon, which was already crossed by crude roadways and being logged off pretty intensively, these communities stayed isolated. The woods in Washington were another thing all over again. There were dinosaurs and pterodactyls still running around lost in these woods from back in the stone age, practically. It was still virgin rainforest here.* Even the bracken grew six feet tall. You dump a bunch of poor people into the middle of primeval fucking forest like that, almost inpenetrable and largely trackless (parts still are) , and you get small communities in the middle of north Yankeeland where everyone still sounds like Minnie Pearl and Jethro Clampett. In fact, the NA up around Alger run around 'y'allin' too. That's how pervasive that syrup southern accent is.

Another peculiarity of the Oregon-West Coast accent is that everything sounds like a question. Bike builder Jesse James is a perfect example of that. There is no such thing as a statement in his conversation; his tone of voice lilts up and down the 'duh' range from clueless to kinda uncertain. He sounds like everyone I ever got baked with back in high school.

Pure blue-collar Oregonspeak is also lousy with the word 'like' used as a thought pause and general way to make yourself sound like a dumbshit. Like, people will, you know, like, say it every fuckin other word, like all the time, so, like you can barely just even understand them, dude.

And that's the word of doom right there. Dude. If you hear a grown person running around saying 'dude' a whole bunch, then that person is from Oregon. Dude! Like, they say it all the fuckin time, dude; it's crazy! Like you know, they're walking along and they're like 'Dude! how's it going!' like.

I still do this, and it never fails to crack my husband up. Then I have to listen to him saying 'Dude! Like, doooooooood!' for another half-hour. Which doesn't help any.

Basically, I am doomed. It's a wonder anyone can understand my spoken conversation now. By the time they pull out all my teeth it's gonna be really ugly.

And EVERYONE from the West Coast is going to deny this and say I'm totally insane, now. Watch and see.

*There were Douglas Fir and redcedar here as big around as my garage, and that's a fact. Hell; there still are, but back then MOST of them were like that. I can walk you up to the stumps of them; they're still out there. The marks remain where the guys had to chop steps into them and set planks into the notches to stand on, all to get up to a place on the trunk that their saws would reach across to cut. Deal with having to saw a monster like that down, twelve feet up off the forest floor, BY HAND with a crosscut saw, a beer bottle full of kerosene to grease the blade and that's it. My granddad did it.


  1. hendrix11:33 AM

    "...they're like 'Dude! how's it going!' like" - substitute the word man for the word dude (but keep the questioning lilt)and you have the perfect Geordie sentence there. The north-east of England also has a Bellingham and a Washington...starting to get scary...

  2. NoShitSherlock1:43 PM

    Oscar Wilde and his ilke came up with dude, as a mixture of 'duds' and 'attitude' apparently. According to this pantiliner wrapping anyway.
    You know what's funny? If you say it now, you're a moron.
    Dude, what's up with that?

  3. Anonymous5:21 PM

    We know it watching USA TV, white Southerners are stupid crims, northerners and African americans are always right! Makes solving detective shows easy - the fat white southerner did it!

  4. nah, dude. It's all, like, the west coast that has that like, lilt, y'know? except here in WA we do it faster and less like drunken tards, man. We Warshitonians talk all like fast and stuff....some Canadian told me that once, eh?

  5. OK, here's a 10c observation from a language-snob Down Under...
    all the kids here, like, y'know, tallk like they're REEE-ly on some Hollywood bimbo show , no wotimeen,yeah?
    Bad enough overheard on a bus, but in a reading assistance class...c'mon. like, gimme a break, yeah. Right on! Doood.
    Last year, the class of 30 made me a Christmas card, which I think was a lovely gesture.24 of them wrote that I "reeeeleee rock!"
    Who earns the Rice a Roni?

  6. I don't have a southern accent.

    Really! I try to hide it actually, and most times come off sounding like a correspondent for CNN. Which is good because it help sway the notions of ignorance.

    But not so good in the sense, that most other southern black people tell me I am 'acting white'. What the heck!?

  7. hendrix: it's like a rip in the very fabric of space/time itself....
    space/time rip sound fx)
    noshit: i don't know who to feel about that. i mean, that you `1, have informative pantiliner wrappers, or that 2. you read the information on the informative pantiliner wrappers and CONSIGN IT TO MEMORY.
    muttley: or in the case of an all suthun cast, the bad guy is the one with the heaviest accent. yay!
    harlot: welcome, harlot! (that sounds....actually it sounds pretty par for the course around here.) what's wierd is all the canadians i know have british accents. very few of them actually do the 'eh' thing. gaaaaah! make sense, world!
    dinahmow: but like you do reeeeeleeee rawk! like i totally don't see the issue, dude.
    awaiting: so thin usin that logic evvyun'ith a suthun acksint is black. didn't i tell you to smash those shitheels in the teeth with a Santa Mug? ya shoulda done.

  8. "And EVERYONE from the West Coast is going to deny this and say I'm totally insane, now. Watch and see."

    I deny your reality. You are totally insane. I know this because I am a Southern Californian, born and bred, second generation, even.

    The "dude" and the "like" came from Valley Girls (San Fernando, for sure), and they got it from the surfers in the 60's (of which my dad was one), and then TV spread the horrible virus to everyone else.

    My parents used to make me pay them a quarter for every time I said "like" when I was in junior high. I dropped the habit, like, fairly quickly.

  9. I agree with fat sparrow. Radio and TV spread the valley girl accent to the east coast but fast. I think every teenage girl in the U.S. had a version of that accent in the 80s.

    (As an aside, do y'all know the gay male accent? Do you think that came from a combination of Valley speak and black southern lingo? 'cause that's my theory...)

    noshit - I think there's some scholarly disputation about the origin of dude. Not that I'm maligning your pantiliner, or anything.

    Mrs. Nator's ENtire family has a southern accent (they hail from GA), except her. She claims she never had much or one to begin with and lost it while doing opera vocal training, but will admit under pressure she also didn't want to be pigeonholed as dumb by northerners. Funny thing is, before I met her I didn't know I was supposed to consider all southerners dumb. Me and my silly open mind!

    Twangin' in the NW, though? That's jest unnatchrul.