Recently, I was at work, and I was talking to a customer when he said, “I love your accent. It’s going to take you places.” Taken aback, I thanked him, and he went on to say that people “underestimate” people with Southern accents. At this point, I was seriously blushing, and it mademe start thinking about some rather unfortunate (but humorous) things that are daily realities for those of us with Southern accents.
1. It is a genuine surprise when you find out you have an accent.
Until I went off to college, I never knew I had an accent; I’ve always thought I just talked like everyone else. Talk about a reality check.
2. People don’t always understand your name.
Okay, maybe this is just a personal thing, but my name is Emmie. I have, in my opinion, a pretty simple name, but people think I’m saying Amy, Evie, Ivy or (my personal favorite) Eeeeeemmie. This makes introducing myself on the first day of class mortifying.
3. “I didn’t expect you to talk like that!”
Apparently, I don’t look like I would have a strong Southern accent. I’m not really sure what this means, and I have yet to figure out whether this is meant as a good or bad thing.
4. People ask you to talk.
“Emmie, say something so they can hear your accent!” This has happened on numerous occasions, but it still catches me off guard. What can I say that would sufficiently showcase my accent?
6. Everyone will ask you the legendary question… “WHERE ARE YOU FROM?”
I want to reply that I’m from heaven on earth, but if I’m in a different state, I say I’m from Georgia. If I’m in Georgia, I say Cochran. People typically think I’m Honey Boo Boo’s neighbor or from another world. It’s usually one or the other.
5. Many automatically assume you live on a farm.
Once, someone asked me, “Do you know Mary?” When I responded that, no, I did not know Mary, she then responded, “Oh, you’d like her. She lives on a farm.” I do, in fact, live on a farm, but that is beside the point.
7. Siri has a difficult time understanding you.
Talking to Siri is literally one of the most painful things I have to do. If actual people can’t understand what I’m saying, a machine definitely has no chance either.
8. Some question your intelligence.
This is common and pretty self explanatory, There is a pretty nasty idea that a Southern accent is indicative of low intelligence. It’s frustrating to say the least, particularly when the South hails big thinkers such as William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Martin Luther King, Jr and Flannery O’Conner,
9. Thinking of dropping the accent when speaking another language? LOL
I’m in my fourth year of Spanish, and let’s just say that putting another accent on top of my already strong dialect makes it downright laughable. I have a decent knowledge of the language, but the accent thing throws it all off. Es no bueno.
Once upon a time, I was extremely insecure about my accent, but I’ve learned to love it. I love the South, and honestly, I can’t picture myself without the accent it’s given me. To all you Southern speaking folks like me, the best advice I can give you is to embrace the accent. Own it. After all, it could be worse; you could have a Northern accent.