Feb 27, 2011

The Accent

Abigail and Dolley readers as many of you may recall, I working on my first novel.  I suppose it is technically a manuscript until it earns publication, but it is finished except for bits and pieces that need polishing.  It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done but also one of the hardest.  One thing I have come to realize is that Charlotteans (of which I am one) order our words differently in our speech vs. our writing.  I sometimes fly along as the words pour out and then must edit heavily so the poor reader does not stumble about trying to decipher what it is I am trying to say.  It has been challenging to say the least and I wonder if the reader would appreciate me writing the dialogue as we speak or if I should clean it up.  I hope I have struck a proper balance but seeing as most publishing houses are in New York City, I am sure they will have an opinion about this.  They say you have to have your voice come through in your writing and that the best writers are distinctive.  I hope the accent comes through, for it is one of the things that makes us special.  Here is a section from the book, Love You Best.

Their accents were distinct and to the trained ear, one could tell them apart from the Mountain folk.  They spoke a little faster and would say they did not sound, “Country”.  They did not call their Mountain brethren Hillbillies, that is a nasty word and if one must use the derogatory phrase, it would have to be applied to folks that hailed from the deep Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia.  North Carolina is a bit more cosmopolitan.   
The Charlottean accent is soft and has a cadence and a way of ordering words that is distinctive.  Notably, they did not take tremendous care in enunciating syllables, especially the latter syllables in a word.  They would rarely if ever pronounce the “g” on any word ending in “ing”.  Only when they are feeling very Southern or have had a few drinks do they drop the "r"  and pronounced it “ah”, but it does sneak in here and there.  So phonetically, “I hear you are going to the store” would be “Ay hear you're goin’ to the store.” as opposed to "Ay he-yah yah goin' to the sto-wah."   It is an accent that is easy on the mouth and pleasant to the ear.