Saturday, May 26, 2012

Talk Like an Arkansan



Hidey! (In Arkansas, we say hidey instead of howdy like in the west. This is not as common among young people.)

I thought today I would give you a small lesson on speaking like an Arkansan (ar-KAN-zan): that is, someone from Arkansas (AR-ken-saw).

The dialect of Arkansas is considered part of a grouping of "Southern" dialects, but is quite different than those found in the deep south. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Ozark" dialect. While it has differences from other southern accents, most Northern, Eastern, and Western Americans will identify the Ozark speaker as Southern.

Accents are quite varied even across Arkansas itself, with an especially marked difference between urban and rural speakers and also older generations vs. younger.

Most southern dialects are characterized by dropping "r" sounds which aren't followed by vowels. For example in the deep south you will hear people pronounce the word southern (SUH-thun) or Georgia (Jo-juh).

An Ozark speaker however will often heavily accent the "r" sound. For instance someone from Arkansas would pronounce southern (SUH-thern or suhth-ren). Any "er" sound will be quite pronounced. Sometimes they even add "r" sounds where there aren't any, for example (warsh) instead of  "wash."

Along with most southerners, the Ozark speaker will tend to make contractions of words.

  • y'all: you + all "Are y'all comin' to dinner?"
  • yunt: you + want "Yunt to go fishin'?"
  • wachu: what + you "Wachu eatin'?"
  • gonna: going + to "You gonna go to the fair?"
  • ain't: are/am + not "I ain't gonna hurt you." 
  • innit: isn't + it "It's a nice day outside, innit?"
Also similar to most southerners, Arkansans drop the "-ing" sound and prefer "-in" when using gerunds as in the examples above.

Sometimes the Ozark speaker may change vowel sounds. For example to is common to hear (ya/yuh), (ta/tuh) and (thar)  instead of "you" "to" and "there." 

Some other common words for Ozark speakers may include:
  • yonder: there, a distance away "The barn is over yonder."
  • any more: from now on "I'm not gonna do that any more." This is used differently from how mid-westerners use this phrase. We use it to mean a cessation of activity from this point forward where mid-westerns use it to mean  something like "presently" for example "Any more, I like to drink coke."
  • fixin' ta/ fixing to: about to, getting ready to "I'm fixin' ta go to town."
  • do what?: what did you say? could you repeat that?
Here are some videos which show the variety of accents in Arkansas. Most will read some words and answer questions, but when they are saying random things outside of the questions is when you can really get a feel for their accent.

It's a little bit of a stereotype, but the Beverly Hillbillies speak the Ozark Dialect! They don't sound much different from the people who live in the hills of North Arkansas. The funny phrases are not made up, real people do actually talk that way. If you notice in the first episode they mention going to Eureka Springs to see the "moving picture." That is in Northwest Arkansas ;-)

Northwest Arkansas, the most neutral Arkansas accent. A little more mid-western, less Ozark/Southern. This is where I live :-P:

Southern Arkansas:

These girls sound like Central Arkansas (where I grew up):

From South Missouri, but her accent is very similar to North Arkansas (same Region) similar to accent in some parts of Tennessee/Appalachians, however older generations tend to have this accent but more exaggerated:

Rural Arkansas (the guy with the horse) some of the people are laughing at his accent, but notice he doesn't care because Arkansans are a proud people:

West Arkansas (to me is very similar to Central Arkansas):


Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu! Mashaa'Allah this is so interesting to know that ur town has its own little special dialect lol! So cute masha'allah!

Crystal said...

This was very funny and oh so true!! I aint gonna lie, I'm an Arkansas and I'm darn proud of it!!! LOL! You take care hun! I may have to share this!

γєssєиìα said...

VERYYYY interesting :D Thanks for sharing : DD

Do you have this kind of accent?? xDD

It reminds me of my small town and the various accents. We call it a 'country' accent which I think is kind of an imitation of southern accents :P
Mind you - I live in Nova Scotia in Canada. I think it would be a steroe typed Canadian accent mixed with a Arkansas accent lol. I try my best not to talk like that LOL but once I'm around my friends or family there the accent will kick in xD

NeverEver said...

Khadooji: inshaAllah I'm gonna call you one day so you can hear my accent. maybe i will exaggerate a little :-P

Crystal: Darn tootin. :-P Thanks for stoppin by and commentin!! I'll keep this kind of stuff up if I can think of other topics ;-)

jesse: aww yay I'm glad u liked it!!
My accent depends on who I'm talkin with lol. If I'm talking to my extended family then yes you will hear me speak with this kind of accent. Sort of like the girls labeled under "central arkansas." with some "north arkansas" phrases dumped in.

wow I would love to hear an example of "country" Nova Scotia!!

♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

Every town has its own dialect and accent. That what make them different from other other. Loved reading about your town's.

Follow each other.

γєssєиìα said...

LOL this guy has the 'Belmont' accent~ Where my grandfather is from xDD
He's giving a lil' tour of it....loll omg it's making me laughhhhh!

γєssєиìα said...

OMG.....perfect example of my 'people'
I am so embarassed LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

navaneedh said...

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