A Recent Study Suggests the Southern Accent is Disappearing

It’s hard to grasp just how much language has evolved over the past few decades. Some words have taken on new meanings for no other reason than chronic misuse, and some words that were never technically words have become legitimate entries in the dictionary. On the chopping block now is the Southern accent — specifically, the Southern drawl that’s typically heard in Georgia. A good example of the Southern accent is the transformation of the letter “i” in prize. The standard pronunciation sounds like “eye-eez,” but in the South, it’s “ahz.” Another example is the letter “a” as in face. The standard pronunciation is “fayce,” while in the South it’s pronounced “fuh-eece.” The classic Southern accent took shape soon after the end of the Civil War, and it peaked in Georgia when baby boomers were coming of age (1946-1964). As the next generation — Gen X (1965-1980) — moved into adulthood, the accent dropped off sharply. Since then, Millennials and Gen Zs have been continuing the downward trend, even as “boomers” hold fast to their twang. Another locale where the decline of the Southern drawl is particularly noticeable is in Raleigh, North Carolina. As for the future, it looks like the trend will continue, and who knows if there will even be a Southern accent when the next generation hits adulthood.