August 20, 2015 Sailing, Speech

Accent on Sailing

Virginia is said to have seven discrete accents, but I can’t differentiate them except the lilting Tidewater accent that my wife has and the tonier Richmond accent of the antebellum sort. Southern accents have been vitiated in the Williamsburg area by the influx of retirees from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Visitors are surprised at how few people still “speak Southern.”

Colleen Schafer is a speech therapist in a downstate public high school in New York. While sailing with her husband and daughter near Williamsburg, she made some intriguing observations.

“The preferred accent nationally is from the Midwest, the one that you typically hear on the TV news wherever you live. People in New York City pay speech therapists thousands to learn how to overcome their New York accent. They can’t seem to do it on their own. I’m from Buffalo, and when I go home people accuse me of having a New York accent.” In fact, she has the slightest trace.

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