However, there is still actually wide variation in Southern speech regarding potential differences based on factors like a speaker's exact sub-region, age, ethnicity, etc. The following phonological phenomena focus on the developing sound system of the more recent Southern dialects of the United States that altogether largely though certainly not entirely superseded the older Southern regional patterns: Southern Vowel Shift or Southern Shift: A chain shift regarding vowels is fully completed, or occurring, in most Southern dialects, especially younger ones, and at the most advanced stage in the "Inland South" i.
This 3-stage chain movement of vowels, called the Southern Shift, is first triggered by Stage 1 that dominates the entire Southern region, followed by Stage 2 that covers almost all of that area, and Stage 3 that is concentrated only in speakers of certain core sub-regions.
Stage 1 is now complete for a majority of Southern dialects. An example is that, to other English speakers, the Southern pronunciation of yap sounds something like yeah-up. An example is that, to other English speakers, the Southern pronunciation of yep sounds something like yay-up. Stage 2 is most common in heavily stressed syllables. An example is that, to other English speakers, the Southern pronunciation of fin sounds something like fee-in, while meal sounds something like mih-eel.
Like the other stages of the Southern shift, Stage 3 is most common in heavily stressed syllables and particularly among Inland Southern speakers. All three stages of the Southern Shift often result in the short front pure vowels being "broken" into gliding vowels, making one-syllable words like pet and pit sound as if they might have two syllables as something like pay-it and pee-it respectively.
This short front vowel gliding phenomenon is popularly recognized as the "Southern drawl".
The "short a", "short e", and "short i" vowels are all affected, developing a glide up from their original starting position to [j], and then often back down to a schwa vowel: This phenomenon is on the decline, being most typical of Southern speakers born before ,  though mostly after the mids.
Lacking or transitioning cot—caught merger: In the purple areas, the merger is complete for most speakers. The purple area in California consists of the Bakersfield and Kern County area, where migrants from the south-central states settled during the Dust Bowl.
There is also debate whether or not Austin, Texas is an exclusion. The "dropping" of the r sound after vowels was historically widespread in the South, particularly in former plantation area.
This phenomenon, non-rhoticity, was considered prestigious before World War II, after which the social perception in the South reversed.
Now, rhoticity sometimes called r-fulness , in which all r sounds are pronounced, is dominant throughout the entire South, and even more so among younger and female white Southerners; the only major exception is among African American Southerners, whose modern vernacular dialect continues to be mostly non-rhotic.
Some speakers may distinguish between the two sets of words by reversing the normal vowel sound, e. Many nouns are stressed on the first syllable that are stressed on the second syllable in most other American accents.
Today, younger Southerners tend to keep this initial stress for a more reduced set of words, perhaps including only insurance, defense, Thanksgiving, and umbrella.
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Lacking or incomplete happy tensing: The South maintains a sound not obviously tensed: Inland South and Texas[ edit ] Main articles: Dallas , Lubbock , Odessa , and San Antonio  are considered the two major locations in which the Southern regional sound system is the most evolved, and therefore the core areas of the current-day South as a dialect region.
The modern dialect features of Atlanta are best described as sporadic from speaker to speaker, with such variation increased due to a huge movement of non-Southerners into the city during the s.
Today, the accents of Atlanta, Charleston, and Savannah are most similar to Midland regional accents or at least Southeastern super-regional accents. Most of southern Louisiana constitutes Acadiana , dominated for hundreds of years by monolingual speakers of Cajun French ,  which combines elements of Acadian French with other French and Spanish words.
This French dialect is spoken by many of the older members of the Cajun ethnic group and is said to be dying out. A related language called Louisiana Creole French also exists. This dialect fell out of fashion after World War II, but experienced a renewal in primarily male speakers born since the s, who have been the most appealed by, and the biggest appealers for, a successful Cajun cultural renaissance.
High nasalization , even in vowels before nasal consonants. Deletion of any word's final consonant s: A particular process of glide weakening is common in the South for certain gliding vowels; however, Cajun English is distinct in that every single English gliding vowel is subject to glide weakening or deletion.
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