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Re: nomad + southern accent

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  • melvyn.geo
    ... I think you ll find this idea is conveyed more often by a phrase (or at least a phrasal verb) than a single word. Fronek s suggestion lead a nomadic life
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 6, 2004
      Hana wrote:
      > I´m looking for a verb which indicates what Gypsies have always done
      > - travel from place to place without a fixed place to live. What I´ve found
      > so far carries the meaning (have a transient/nomadic lifestyle) but what I
      > need is a verb ("Romove kocuji").

      I think you'll find this idea is conveyed more often by a phrase (or at least a phrasal verb) than a single word. Fronek's suggestion 'lead a nomadic life' might be good for describing the big picture, while 'lead an itinerant life/lifestyle' might be heard in more mundane bureaucratic and journalistic language. If you really insist on a single word (but why??), Michael's 'rove' and 'roam' are fine, or you might simply consider 'travel' (groups of itinerants are often referred to in the British press as 'travellers', whether they are Roma, tinkers, hippies or whatever, and your phrase 'travel [about] from place to place' sounds to me like a perfectly natural way of rendering 'kocovat') or how about 'wander' ('wander from place to place' sounds fine to me) or Fronek's 'migrate'?

      > Two - I had an American friend over and she, thinking I was the expert in
      > everything concerning English language + history,

      Well, you are.

      >asked what the origin of
      > the southern drawl was. She found it strange as it so much differs from the
      > original accent of those who first inhabited those parts. Any insights on
      > this?

      I am not very insightful when it comes to American dialects but in amongst all the theories on the subject involving inbreeding and bad oral hygiene I found the following interesting ideas:


      From 1642-1675 the Royalists, also called Cavaliers, fled from the south and southwest England with their indentured servants and settled in Virginia when the English Civil War against Charles I began. They brought with them their south England drawl (a drawing out of the vowels);


      Most linguists today believe these features derive from the influence of the speech patterns of the Africans brought to the 13 colonies as slaves between 1619 and 1808, when the slave trade was prohibited. This would include the southern drawl.



      I find it interesting that the first explanation that is suggested is "African-American slave influence." Caribbean English varieties don't have a drawl, nor do West African varieties. Ah! the "black nanny myth" again.

      Salikoko S. Mufwene
      University of Chicago
      Department of Linguistics

      In any case, 'drawl' is probably a contentious description amongst linguists.


      We used to sing this song at primary school:

      Three gypsies stood at the castle gate. They sang so high, they sang so low.
      The lady sate in her chamber late. Her heart it melted away as snow.

      They sang so sweet, they sang so shrill. That fast her tears began to flow
      And she lay down her silken gown, her golden rings and all her show.

      She took it off her high-heeled shoes, a-made of Spanish leather-O
      She would in the street in her bare, bare feet, all out in the wind and weather-O.

      Saddle to me my milk white steed and go and fetch me my pony-O
      That I may ride and seek my bride who's gone with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!

      He rode high and he rode low, he rode through woods and copses too
      Until he came to an open field and there he espied his a-lady-O.

      "What makes you leave your house and land, your golden treasures for to go?
      What makes you leave your new wedded lord, to follow the wraggle taggle gypsies-O?"

      "What care I for my house and land? What care I for my treasures-O?
      What care I for my new wedded lord? I'm off with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!"

      "Last night you slept on a goose-feathered bed, with the sheet turned down so bravely-O.
      Tonight you sleep in a cold open field along with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!"

      "What care I for the goose-feathered bed with the sheet turned down so bravely-O?
      Tonight I shall sleep in a cold open field along with the wraggle taggle gypsies-O!"
    • James Kirchner
      ... However, my instinct tells me that we wouldn t use that expression when talking about what a real gypsy does. Usually (at least in songs, and surely in
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 6, 2004
        On Saturday, November 6, 2004, at 02:59 PM, Helga Listen wrote:

        > Slovo ktere hledas je v NJ (herum)zigeunern a kdyz jsem se trochu
        > rozhlidla,
        > jsem nasla 11 odkazu na googlu podle kterych, bys mozna mohla pouzivat
        > "to
        > gypsy around".

        However, my instinct tells me that we wouldn't use that expression when
        talking about what a real gypsy does. Usually (at least in songs, and
        surely in much speech) we say that gypsies "roam", "ramble", "bum", etc.

        As for the "Southern Accent", which accent are you talking about?

        There are three main dialect bands that cross the east of the US. The
        Northern dialect fades out at a line running through southern
        Pennsylvania, and the middles of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Anything
        between that and a line running along approximately the southern
        borders of Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and probably part of Arkansas
        is the Midlands dialect. In an ark from the top of the Carolinas over
        to Mississippi (not counting Florida) is the Southern dialect. The
        people in "The South" don't all talk the same. The dialect in Texas is
        not southern, but an outgrowth of the Midlands accent, because as
        southern settlers moved west, they ran into "Indian trouble" in
        Mississippi, and their migration stopped. Louisiana was settled by
        French-speaking Acadians (ancestors of the Cajuns) coming from Canada
        and by people sailing in from the Gulf, so its speech is not southern.
        Texas was settled by people moving west and south from Tennessee and
        Kentucky, so they don't have what is classified as a "Southern" accent.
        And remember, that they're different. The accent in Mississippi is
        very dissimilar to the one in Kentucky, for example.

        Your friend is actually wrong that the speech in those "southern"
        regions is different from the original English that was imported there.
        People make the mistake of thinking that the original English settlers
        to North America spoke something like Queen Elizabeth or the BBC, or a
        Shakespearean theater troupe. In reality, that accent did not exist
        yet at the time America was colonized, and so American pronunciation
        (and often grammatical forms and vocabulary) reflect the language of
        England at the time of settlement. Did you ever wonder, for example,
        why RP speakers write a word like "far" with an R even though they
        pronounce no R? That's because they used to pronounce those R's in
        England. After English was firmly planted on American soil, a new
        "R-dropping" pronunciation started spreading through England in
        concentric circles from somewhere around London, and spread through
        most of the country. (Look at a map that shows where the English
        pronounce all their R's, and you'll see that it's more or less a circle
        along the edge.) The reason New England speech is more similar to
        modern British speech is not because the pronunciation in New England
        is older, but because it is *newer*. People on the East Coast still
        had frequent contact with England -- and many sent their kids to school
        there -- so they picked up the changes that were happening in the UK,
        whereas the people further inland didn't have that contact, and they
        retained the older pronunciation. As one scholar put it in a book I
        have somewhere, "Americans go to England because they want to hear a
        Shakespeare play performed in the 'original' accent, but they'd do
        better if they stayed home and saw it at their local high school."

        The British crown granted to the colonies all the lands directly to the
        west, and this is why the dialects spread across in three horizontal
        bands across half the continent. The pronunciation, grammar and
        vocabulary of the Northern, Midlands and Southern areas actually do
        reflect the speech that was originally planted there from England. As
        I said, the standard English of that time was not like today's. Plus,
        the settlers came from many different regions of England, Scotland,
        Ireland, etc., and so there was liable to be much more Scots-Irish
        English, or Yorkshire English, for example, than aristocratic English.
        (The grammar and vocabulary of vernacular black speech in the US has a
        huge amount of influence from Irish dialects, for example.)

        Even with all this, there have been sound changes, but nobody knows
        what causes those in any country. They just seem to occur
        spontaneously, and even now there is a major vowel shift occurring in
        the northern US and a different one in the South. Nobody has actually
        proven credibly that southern English was heavily influenced by black
        speech, as far as I'm concerned, and a lot of the literature you read
        on it compares today's black and Southern speech with current standard
        English, which is a bogus comparison. I consider those claims to be
        like one I saw on TV a couple years ago that said that meat is often
        fried in deep oil in Africa, and therefore "it may be" that fried
        chicken came to America from Africa. (So how did it get to China?)

      • James Kirchner
        ... Nearly every feature (other than some vocabulary) that some people claim was carried into Southern US English from West African languages can be explained
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 6, 2004
          From the website Melvyn recommended:

          > Main features carried over from West African languages.

          Nearly every feature (other than some vocabulary) that some people
          claim was carried into Southern US English from West African languages
          can be explained by features in some dialect of English in the UK or
          Ireland that was actually greatly present in the American south.

          > --No use of the linking verb 'to be' or generalization of one form
          > for it.
          > --emphasis on aspect rather than tense: He workin' (right now) vs.
          > He be workin'. This is found in many West African languages.

          This is also found in many older forms of UK and especially Irish
          English, and people speaking those dialects were liable to be working
          side by side with or supervising slaves during the formative period of
          southern English, and it is believed my many scholars that the slaves
          picked this up. Whites who speak with this feature now would more than
          likely have just inherited it from the speech of their ancestors.

          The so-called "continuous 'be'" is not as common in certain areas,
          particularly in the Caribbean, as the construction "does be". This
          difference has been traced to the regions from which the Irish
          predominantly migrated. Irish people who said, "He be working," would
          have migrated to one place, and those who said, "He does be working,"
          would wind up in another region. This is not a farfetched idea,
          because today, after all, Chaldeans are seldom to be found anywhere in
          the US but in Detroit and San Diego. It's rare to hear a Czech name in
          Detroit (only Polish and Slovak names), but many Czechs went to Chicago
          and Texas. So, it's conceivable that Irish people moved where their
          friends and family had settled and prospered.

          > --I done gone (from Wolof doon , the completive verb aspect particle +
          > English 'done').

          Well, someone says so, but it seems to me (without looking at my
          reference books) that this form was and is common in some UK dialects
          and may go back as far as Middle English. This would indicate it came
          here from the UK.

          > --Regularization of present tense verb conjugation: He don't, he know
          > it.

          Bullshit. That regularization of the verb paradigm is a tendency all
          over the world, and it happened in Swedish over the past century or so
          without West African influence. And many people have also done this in
          the UK for centuries. I would be amazed if that feature were not
          brought here from the British Isles.

          > --voiced th in initial position becomes d: dis, dey; in medial
          > position it becomes v: brother > brovva. final voiceless th = f
          > with =wif

          Yes! Exactly the problem with which native English speakers in London
          torment their school teachers. This likely also came here from the UK.

          One time, when teaching an American dialects course, I found the
          students too gullible about this theory of West African influence --
          and not even willing to look at the alternative theories -- so I spent
          about 15 minutes using the same sort of scattershot methods and iffy
          evidence to "prove" that African American English is mainly derived
          from Russian. It's similar to saying that fried chicken came to the US
          from Africa because Africans fry chicken.

        • Tertech
          No to bych v oficialnim textu rozhodne nepouzil, definitelly un-PC, bordering on racist... to ... M
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 7, 2004
            No to bych v oficialnim textu rozhodne nepouzil, definitelly un-PC,
            bordering on racist...
            > gypsy around".
            > H.

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