Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 10:16:46 -0700
From: Peter McGraw pmcgraw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CALVIN.LINFIELD.EDU
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.