Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 10:16:46 -0700


Subject: Re: Which Southern accent...

From the other end of the Southern dialect area:

When I went to Antioch College (in Yellow Springs) in the early 60s, it

was very noticeable that southeastern Ohio was south of some of the

isoglosses that distinguish northern from southern speech. A well-defined

local speech, spoken by the genuine "townies" such as local village

business owners, was quite distinct from that of both the students and the

many transplants from elsewhere. Even the announcer at the Dayton

airport spoke "Ohaa" speech. (Sorry, there are no ASCII symbols to even

approximate an IPA rendering.)

When I myself became a transplanted townie in the mid-70s I was astonished

to find that the old "Ohaa" speech had virtually disappeared. I remember

a single person in the village--a barber, in his 20s--who had southern

features in his speech, but I'm not sure whether or not he was a native

of the area.

Granted Yellow Springs is an exceptional place because it remains a mecca

for former Antioch students from all over the country and a popular

bedroom community for the transient employees of nearby Wright Patterson

AFB, but I don't recall hearing the speech anywhere else in the area,

either, during my second sojourn there, which lasted about six years. So

I'm inclined to see it as evidence that the southern language area has

shrunk toward the Kentucky border, at least in that area of Ohio.

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR