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View Diary: Virgil Goode makes the presidential ballot in Virginia, but a Republican challenge looms (141 comments)

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  •  I've sometimes wondered (7+ / 0-)

    at what point colonists drifted away from Queen's English accents? Surely they arrived speaking with British accents.

    Jefferson was born (here) in 1743, so he was 33 when we declare independence from the crown. I would guess the American southern accent/dialect had not yet at least fully developed by Jefferson's time.

    You're not being "oppressed" when another group gains rights you've always enjoyed.

    by Scott Wooledge on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:13:36 AM PDT

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    •  Considering how many different (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      filby, qm1pooh

      different accents, in some cases the term dialects might be more appropriate, there were in the UK, it really is hard to say.  Given that, there is an accent from the old time upper crust in Alabama that really does sound like the person came from southern England.

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

      by HugoDog on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:23:13 AM PDT

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    •  I would guess not. (6+ / 0-)

      Jefferson spent much of his early life in eastern Virginia, where the accent is softer.  There was a recognizable colonial Virginia accent that had already developed from a century of settlement, but it could not have been terribly pronounced, since it was said that Jefferson spoke a lovely French, and it's very hard to speak good French with a heavy native accent.

      What you're hearing in Goode's voice is southwestern Virginia, where an Appalachian twang mated with a Lynchburg drawl, and the result makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:27:53 AM PDT

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      •  True enough. Of course, his school (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qm1pooh

        is in Charlottesville, though . . .

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:32:20 AM PDT

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        •  His home was in Charlottesville, where (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryduck, qm1pooh

          he inherited land.  He founded the school close to home, where he could keep an eye on it.  In fact, he had a low power telescope on his veranda, focused on the Lawn, so he could literally keep an eye on things.

          The school he attended, however, is the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg.  

          "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

          by DrLori on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:17:45 AM PDT

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    •  You need to be careful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qm1pooh, DSPS owl

      because in some ways we preserve older forms and it is actually "Queen's English" that has drifted away from itself, haha. I can't think of anything right now in terms of pronunciaiton, but we use the old form "has gotten" whereas now in the UK they say "has got."

      One boy against the Stock Market all Wall Street ascream. --Allen Ginsberg, "Elegy Ché Guévara"

      by Anak on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:34:49 AM PDT

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      •  That's sort of my point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, BigOkie, qm1pooh

        who knows what colonists actually sounded like? Who's to say what English even sounded like in the 18th century in the UK proper let alone what it evolved to sound like here in the colonies? Regionally English would get mixed in with God knows how many other immigrants' tongues Scottish, Irish, Dutch, French, Spanish, and even native American...

        I'm sure records of pronunciation are rare.

        It's an interesting thing to contemplate. I'm always interested in the topic of language drift.

        You're not being "oppressed" when another group gains rights you've always enjoyed.

        by Scott Wooledge on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:42:22 AM PDT

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        •  We know all this stuff (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Stankus, LilithGardener, qm1pooh

          Check out a book like David Crystal's Encyclopedia of the English Language or the book Albion's Seed (I haven't read the latter, but I understand it has such information.)

          For instance, those who went to Virginia cam from the West Country and they pronounced the "r" after vowels. Those who went to New England came from the east of England where the "r" after vowels had dissappeared.

          One boy against the Stock Market all Wall Street ascream. --Allen Ginsberg, "Elegy Ché Guévara"

          by Anak on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:54:04 AM PDT

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        •  Actually, direct records are not so rare. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qm1pooh, Scott Wooledge

          In the Colonial period people did what they had always done, they spelled what they heard.  Spelling among the non-college-educated, even as late as the American Civil War, is still phonetic.  If you go to the original documents--not the spiffed-up official records like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, which were produced by men with Classical college educations, but local court records for instance, you'll see plenty of evidence of how words sounded, because the recorders wrote what they heard.  This is especially true of place and family names, and generally unfamiliar words that would have been sounded out.

          Samuel Johnson published the first real English dictionary in 1755, which was really the first wholesale effort to regularize spelling.  It didn't catch on for a long time (for some people it never has).  I'm working now with some letters written in 1944, and the spellings of unfamiliar words are still phonetic.

          "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

          by DrLori on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 11:29:10 AM PDT

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    •  Smith Island (MD) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott Wooledge, qm1pooh

      in the Chesapeake Bay is considered to have the most clear remnants of Elizabethan (Shakespearean) English.

      It is because the Island has been so insular since it was populated hundreds of years ago.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:54:59 AM PDT

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    •  Other Way Around (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      What we think of as a "Queen's English" accent is actually a product of 19th century England, and an "American" accent is what English sounded like in the 17th and 18th centuries. Best book explaining this is Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way."

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