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SOUTHERN ENGLISH

SOUTHERN ENGLISH, also Southern American English and Southern. A collective term for the geographic and social varieties of English spoken in that part of the US roughly coextensive with the former slave-holding states. These varieties share the inclusive plural personal pronoun y'all (Are y'all comin' tonight?), the pronunciation of greasy with /z/, and the use of double modals like might could (He might could come Friday). Two of the major US regional dialect types, (Coastal) Southern and South Midland, cut cross the vast territory in patterns following natural boundaries and settlement routes: (1) (Coastal) Southern (also Lowland Southern, Plantation Southern). Spoken along the Atlantic seaboard and westward across the lands of lower elevation with a predominantly agrarian economy once relying on slave labour. In this area, white and black speakers have traditionally shared many of its characteristics: a non-rhotic accent, a glide before /u/ in words like news and Tuesday, and the usages tote carry, carry escort, and snapbeans string beans. (2) South Midland (also Appalachian, Hill Southern, Inland Southern). Spoken in a region settled by the Scotch-Irish and Germans coming from Pennsylvania. It is rhotic, has a monophthongal /a/ in nice time (‘nahs tahm’), and the usages skillet frying-pan, poke paper sack, and green beans string beans. Not all varieties of English spoken in the South fit easily into types: for example, the relic area of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay; the English influenced by the creole GULLAH around Charleston, South Carolina; and CAJUN English in Southern Louisiana. In addition, non-rhotic appears to be losing out to rhotic pronunciation among the younger generation. See AFRICAN-AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH, AMERICAN ENGLISH, APPALACHIAN ENGLISH, CHICANO ENGLISH, DIALECT (AMERICA), NEW ORLEANS, SPANGLISH, TEXAS, TEXMEX.

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