Language with a personal flavor
In my opinion, I don't have much of an accent when I speak my native tongue-- but I suppose that most people don't hear their own accents very well.
I am thankful that my grade-school teachers (in a tiny, one-room country school in Nebraska) taught me standard English and proper grammar. They had a fit if anyone said "ain't," and I still don't say it four decades later. Saying things like "I seen" or "I done" was not permitted either. Those ladies did not hesitate to correct a student's grammar whenever necessary, and I am glad they taught me well.
After living in Missouri and Kentucky for 20 years or more of my adult life, I've added "y'all" ("you all") to my vocabulary. This makes my Nebraska friends say that I've picked up a southern accent. However, native-born Kentuckians say to me, "You're not from here, are you?"
Various dialects can be heard in Christian County. One characteristic of our local speech is that people talk slowly. My speech has slowed down too, and that's another reason that people say I've developed a Southern drawl.
Two words that I know I pronounce wrong are "wash" and "milk." I say "wush" (rhymes with "mush") and "melk" (rhymes with "elk".) I think that's a bit of flat Midwestern accent that I retain from my childhood.
My aunt, a native of Gordon, NE, who now lives near Chicago, told me that she can hear her Midwestern accent when she says "potatoes." She actually says "podadoes" because of the place in her mouth that her tongue touches when she pronounces the "t."
|Plowing a potato field near Andersonville, TN, 1933|