Examples Of Regional Dialects During The Civil War?

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I’ve always heard about the fakeness of Southern accents as portrayed in the media. When I was looking at videos on YT regarding this topic, I can across this video. Do you think this is generally accurate?

Well now, I can't witness for all of those but having been born in Georgia with relatives in south Georgia and then mostly raised in Kentucky I can testify that he got those right.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
One thing you may not have considered is that the white women of slaveholding families spoke like the slaves did. Makes sense, given their relative isolation. Elite slaveholding men affected an English upperclass accent, whatever that was in 1860. This is way outside my patch, but I have been told that echos of that divide still exist among some Coastal Carolina families. Scarlet O’Hara speech would have been filled with Africanisms as she would have dipped snuff & spit tobacco juice instead of the pretend British Southern accent of the movie Gone With the Wind.
As much as you would like to believe this, I highly doubt it. The planter aristocracy took great pains to educate their children, the daughters as well as the sons. Now I will supply an anecdote here; my mother, who grew up on a cotton farm in MS in the 30s-40s was raised in close proximity to the 9-10 sharecropping families and their children on the place, and stayed in contact with many of them over the years. She nor her two brothers had any "Africanisims" that I could ever detect and I doubt any of the planter class's children did either.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
my mother, who grew up on a cotton farm in MS in the 30s-40s was raised in close proximity to the 9-10 sharecropping families and their children on the place, and stayed in contact with many of them over the years. She nor her two brothers had any "Africanisims" that I could ever detect and I doubt any of the planter class's children did either.
I can relate to the same stories .

Both my Dad & Mom's families had sharecropping families on their respective land as well during the 1930's & 40's.
( Black and White).

While they did have to learn some basics of an almost separate language, everything went well.

stayed in contact with many of them over the years.
I can relate to that as well.
( Through births & deaths and everything in between).
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
I can relate to the same stories .

Both my Dad & Mom's families had sharecropping families on their respective land as well during the 1930's & 40's.
( Black and White).

While they did have to learn some basics of an almost separate language, everything went well.


I can relate to that as well.
( Through births & deaths and everything in between).
My grandfather and his brother owned a gin in Darbun. Not far from the China Grove rd, I know you know where that is.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
As much as you would like to believe this, I highly doubt it. The planter aristocracy took great pains to educate their children, the daughters as well as the sons. Now I will supply an anecdote here; my mother, who grew up on a cotton farm in MS in the 30s-40s was raised in close proximity to the 9-10 sharecropping families and their children on the place, and stayed in contact with many of them over the years. She nor her two brothers had any "Africanisims" that I could ever detect and I doubt any of the planter class's children did either.
Oddly enough, I was reading about this very topic this afternoon. Elite planters affected a sort of English accent. This was universally commented on. The women of the plantations spent all their time amongst the slaves. Apart from a few elite families, the women & girls spoke as the servants did.

Of course, speaking with a mouth full of backy juice, as was also ubiquitous, added a certain something to the accent.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Oddly enough, I was reading about this very topic this afternoon. Elite planters affected a sort of English accent. This was universally commented on. The women of the plantations spent all their time amongst the slaves. Apart from a few elite families, the women & girls spoke as the servants did.

Of course, speaking with a mouth full of backy juice, as was also ubiquitous, added a certain something to the accent.
Your point got me to wondering how many of the ladies would fall into the pattern and mode of speaking while in the company of the servants, and then upon a gathering of their own privileged class, revert back to the charming manner of the bred belle?
Lubliner.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
ABSOLUTLEY !

Actually there's a serious campaign underway to raise funds for the historic church and cemetery at China Grove.
I plan to help out ( if they will accept me).

:bounce:

Darbun hasn't changed at all since the 1800's, 1930's or 2017.

:smile:
Among other Confederate ancestors, my grandmother's grandfather is buried there, N.L.Ball, 2nd lieutenant Co. I Colombia Guards, 38th MS.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
ABSOLUTLEY !

Actually there's a serious campaign underway to raise funds for the historic church and cemetery at China Grove.
I plan to help out ( if they will accept me).

:bounce:

Darbun hasn't changed at all since the 1800's, 1930's or 2017.

:smile:
Thats good news, I have always felt that the church and cemetery should be preserved. Let me know, I would like to contribute. I want to say I heard as a child, that slaves attended service there. Do you know how old the church is?
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Oddly enough, I was reading about this very topic this afternoon. Elite planters affected a sort of English accent. This was universally commented on. The women of the plantations spent all their time amongst the slaves. Apart from a few elite families, the women & girls spoke as the servants did.

Of course, speaking with a mouth full of backy juice, as was also ubiquitous, added a certain something to the accent.
You may be referring to the "Virginia Tidewater Accent", which can still be heard today in VA and parts of NC. I worked in Wilmington NC for a time a few years back and heard it often, among the older folks. I don't think anything about it was "affected", then or now. If you listen to the CSA soldier in that addressed Congress in the youtube posted earlier, you will detect the accent. There are similar accents in SC and GA as well to be heard today, again, more commonly among the older set.

As far as the tobacco chewing and spitting Belle caricature you conjured, I doubt there was ANY of that going on among the planter class's daughters, that sounds like more an Appalachian thing.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
I heard as a child, that slaves attended service there. Do you know how old the church is?
That is true.
The slaves attended the same services with the entire congregation. However, they were relegated to the upper balcony section of the Church.

The history of that Church is fascinating.
The Methodists bought the land from the Baptists during the 1830s.
Construction of the current church was completed in 1861.

More about the history and current fundraising can be found at:
https://www.co.walthall.ms.us/china-grove-church.html
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
Among other Confederate ancestors, my grandmother's grandfather is buried there, N.L.Ball, 2nd lieutenant Co. I Colombia Guards, 38th MS.
Indeed !

The Ball family is another original family that settled this area.

I think I may have mentioned this, but we're probably related.
All of the original settlers married each other.

:smile:


 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
Then there's the "Lady Mondagreen."
So true !

There are probably hundreds of classic tunes that fit the "Lady Mondagreen" parameters.
Manfred Mann's - "Blinded By The Light" may be the most famous.
( Along with almost everything that has come out of Mick Jagger's vocal cords)

:bounce:

But back to the topic ( regional dialects during the Civil War )

Actually not much has changed.
Once one leaves larger Southern cities like Atlanta, Nashville or even Dallas, it's traditional dialects.

I'll let little Madison explain in part two of her video.


 
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