Funny video of fellow trying to speak without his southern accent


“Youse” is not unheard of in my neck of the woods.


He’s not speaking “with” and “without” an accent, he’s speaking in two different accents. As with British “received pronunciation”, there is certainly one accent that represents the dominant class (best represented by newscasters), but this is an accent just like the Southern accent, it is not inherently better or worse, or (especially) more correct.

Here is a nice list of North American accents I found illustrating our wide linguistic diversity:


In Britain (and I presume elsewhere) this is referred to as speaking in different registers. It’s less common than it used to be but it used to be quite normal to use different registers with friends, family, at school, when speaking publicly, etc.


I love y’all. Damn useful, dont’ch’know.

But I’ve no idea what this ‘oyull’ he mentions is.


Ah thank yew mean “Raht.”


I have this problem. It’s irritating, both to me and presumably to others. I also pick up patter and speech types, so if I watch Mitch Hedberg I’ll be stuck talking like him for a while unless I’m paying attention.


Pro tip: Do not order oysters in Brooklyn.


Man, my whole extended family.

Dad’s side = Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia
Mom’s Side = Alabama, Georgia
Stepmom’s Side = South Carolina, Florida

I was raised mostly in Kansas, so I have that flat newscaster affect in my accent.


That is interesting, and a good expression. The term for this that I know from hip hop culture is “code-switching.” Generally it means turning off ebonics or curse-words or just hip-hop-specific slang when speaking to family, teachers, cops, the pious, old folks, white folks, etc as the case may be. But, I had a black friend here in Atlanta that had lived in NYC and he used the term to define how he could go from sounding like Wu-Tang et al. to more normal-sounding (for here), even though his audience here was also black and of the hip-hop generation; i.e. he code-switched different types of ebonics.

a few things I’ve written on this thread-topic:
Thoughts on perception of US southern accent as ignorant
Noticing my particular vernacular changes

A blogger married a southerner and wrote a bunch of great stuff about trying to learn the accent. the comment section has years worth of folks chiming in with regional pronunciations and idioms, too.

also, this book is awesome:


I stripped myself of my southern accent when I was young. I think I’d gotten rid of it before my elementary years were over. Once I started acting, I at first found it incredibly difficult to do anything close to a decent southern accent, I’d apparently repressed it so hard. Colin Mochrie has similar difficulties (for similar reasons) with a Scottish accent.


Not a Texan, but the way I understand it, "all y’all’ is used when (1) you want to emphasize that you mean a broader group than just “y’all” might imply, or (2) when you want to emphasize that your command is to be taken seriously.


  1. There’s a good chance of tornados coming tonight, so all y’all out there in the trailer park better head for the nearest storm shelter. And I don’t mean just y’all in the Smith household.
  2. If all y’all don’t get off my property right now I’ll shoot your asses!

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.


I moved from Macon, GA to downtown Washington, DC when I was 10. Going from a public elementary school with 800+kids in GA to a private school in DC with less than 150 kids taught me to lose my southern accent real fast! Took less than three months to do it.

But give up using the word y’all? Nah, that’ll never happen!


There was a time when all the airline pilots tried to talk like Chuck Yeager.


Strewth, mate. Lucky for me that everyone down here speaks dinkum English; it’s hard yakka working out what those seppo bludgers are spouting. Bonza.


(actually, by Oz standards, I have a somewhat posh accent. I get falsely accused of being English fairly regularly)


Pretty much. There’s also “y’all” for the group collectively, and “all y’all” for the group as a sum of the individuals (each of you in the group). As in “Y’all headed west?” “Yup, toward Texas.” “Are all ya’ll goin’ to the concert?” “Nope, us two are just along til Memphis but the rest of 'em are.”

Another example: “Ya’ll are good!” means that the band is good. “All ya’ll are good!” adds emphasis that each member’s performance is good. “All ya’ll are good, but ya’ll’d be better if you practiced together more.” says each player is good but the band as whole isn’t as good as it could be.



All this gentleman has to do is keep at it. Gaining or losing an accent is very much a matter of training the muscles and brain. It’s pretty impressive what he could do on his first attempt. It simply sounded like someone reading slowly, but it didn’t sound unnatural at all, which is in achievement in and of itself. If you didn’t have any context, it would be difficult to know which was his native accent.

I have to confront my own prejudice, though. To me, he just sounded so much smarter when he was speaking in the new accent.

Love his expression when he’s pronouncing OI-YEL. You can tell he’s thinking: This is crazy to pronounce AWL that way.


To add to the “all y’all” discussion. When I’ve heard it used, or used it myself, it has been with a personal negative representation. So an example would be you with all your friends who are currently in the act of doing something stupid while you are the lone voice of reason. At this point you would simply address the group as “all y’all” implying everyone else is doing something dangerous while you are not. Basically “all y’all” makes an exception of the person saying it.


There’s a live recording of an Alison Krauss song where she gives a super glowing into to Jerry Douglas the lap dobro player. After the applause dies down a little he say “how y’all doin” in the most humble, disarming way. People don’t know, but when ever I say “How y’all doin” I’m doing my best Jerry Douglas.

ETA: Uh, fuck yeah, @Wanderfound! (below) How y’all doin’ at 0:45, but listen to the whole intro…

Also, listen to any episodes of Comedy Bang Bang with Drew Tarver for more fun with the idea of a person with a thick Southern accent doing other accents. It’s an all-improv show, for the uninitiated, and the other characters on the show will always question his characters’ backstory when his characters claim to be from anywhere but the south…