The University of Texas at Austin
  • Do you speak Texan?

    By Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts
    Published: May 7, 2012

    With its sprawling pastures, gleaming skylines and rugged hills, the Lone Star State looms large in American culture. Just the word Texas evokes images of rootin’ tootin’ cowboys in 10-gallon hats shouting “howdy y’all!”

    Texans sitting outside a gas station exchanging some friendly banter
    Illustration: Jack Unruh

    Venture into a honky tonk or a rural Texas town, and you’re likely to find more slow-talking cowpokes than you can shake a stick at. Yet researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found Texanisms like “might could” and “down yonder” are dissipating, especially among young city slickers.

    Is the Texas twang fixin’ to die out? Not necessarily, says Lars Hinrichs, assistant professor of English language and linguistics and director of the Texas English Project at The University of Texas at Austin. Despite the drastic changes in the Lone Star State’s iconic accent, Texans will continue to use their twang, but only in certain contexts.

    “Although the dialect is far less prominent in Texas, people still speak it,” Hinrichs, says. “But it depends on who they’re talking to, what they’re talking about, and whether it triggers their Texas pride.”

    As part of the Texas English Project, which began in 2008, Hinrichs, and his team of student researchers are collecting dozens of interviews with native Texans and documenting the various factors that influence how they speak. According to their findings, the local dialect is becoming more of a choice rather than a function of place.

    Language as a Social Commodity

    So is this wishy-washy shift in dialect a sign of the times? According to Hinrichs, urbanization, technology and the influx of newcomers are all contributing to the erosion of the Texas twang.

    “Thanks to high mobility and rapidly increasing access to mass media, people are looped into the majority culture and seek identities that integrate both the local and national,” Hinrichs said.

    And this isn’t just happening in Texas, Hinrichs said. The distinctive sounds and vocal patterns of America’s regional accents – like the way Bostonians drop the “r” in some words – are rapidly transcending into a more homogenized Midwestern American dialect, Hinrichs said.

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    “People grow up with good access to resources that teach them to speak dialect-free standard English,” Hinrichs said. “But they frequently choose to use dialect speech to their advantage when they want to appear more genial.”

    Take Texas women for example. They tend to stifle their twang to avoid sounding uneducated. But they can use their accent to their advantage in business interactions when they want to exude an air of Southern hospitality, Hinrichs said.

    Drawing from research by Barbara Johnstone, a sociolinguist at Carnegie Mellon University, Hinrichs found that although women tend to use the twang to their advantage, they are the first to replace it with the new regional dialect.

    “Young Anglo women are leaders of accent change – and they are members of the social/ethnic majority,” Hinrichs said. “They have an ear for linguistic prestige and are the first to adopt the modernized features of speech.”

    The identifying mark of Texas and Southern accents is the flattened monophthong, a vowel with only one part. Of course, every accent has a monophthong, but Southerners and Texans alike put their own unique spin on it. For example, Texans have a way of using the “ah” sound in words like “pah” (pie) and “naht” (night).

    In contrast, Midwesterners and Northerners, enunciate these words with a strong “ie” sound. So when Texans say “pah,” their Yankee counterparts say “pye.” This sharp “ie” sound is what linguists call a diphthong, a vowel with two parts. Examples of Texified diphthongs include “tray-up” (trap) and “fah-ees” (face) and “kay-ut” (cat).

    The diphthong is another emblem of Lone Star speech. These old-fashioned down-home drawls have been long embraced by generations of Texans. But Hinrichs’ research shows the telltale marks of the Texas twang are rapidly falling to the wayside as young women consciously stifle their accents in fear of sounding like a redneck.

    Emily Edwards, a 23-year-old Liberty, Texas native, said she tries to muffle her distinct East Texas drawl when giving presentations at school or speaking to people outside her social circle.

    Most of the time I just talk like I normally do, but I'm much more careful about using my accent when I'm talking to someone important because people tend to think it sounds less professional.
    Illustration: Jack Unruh

    “I didn’t realize how country I sound until I came to Austin and everyone remarked on my accent,” said Edwards, who’s majoring in elementary education at Lamar University in Beaumont. “Most of the time I just talk like I normally do, but I’m much more careful about using my accent when I’m talking to someone important because people tend to think it sounds less professional.”

    But when she’s working at her small-town clothing boutique, she admittedly turns up the Southern charm to make herself seem more warm and inviting.

    Hinrichs found men are also invoking their inner Texan when they want to present a friendly, hospitable demeanor. He stumbled upon this finding while observing young, urban Austinites interacting with customers at the Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse. To study how native Texans speak in a casual setting, Hinrichs and his team of student researchers videotaped their entire four-hour shifts. After transcribing and coding hours of audio recordings, they found even the young city-dwellers systematically revert to old Texas phrases at opportune times.

    While ringing up his customers, Luke Malone, a 25-year-old native Texan, consistently used the old-timey Southern phrase, “Thank you kindly.”

    “We found that the accent really comes out with the customers,” Hinrichs said. “The Southerner has the cultural advantage of being hospitable and friendly, so in the videos we saw them saying ‘thank you kindly’ a lot. It’s not actually a Texan phrase, but it’s used as a way to evoke an old cotton Texas personality.”

    After observing the young baristas at work, the researchers bring them into the Linguistics Department’s phonetics lab to analyze their speech. The participants perform speech elicitation tasks, in which they read the story of “Arthur the Armadillo,” once in their natural speech, and again in their strongest Texas accent.

    “To get a baseline of their maximum dialect speech, we asked them to sound really Texan,” Hinrichs said. “And we found all the textbook features of the Texas twang, like pronouncing words like ‘five’ as ‘faav’ and ‘pie’ as ‘pah.”

    Hinrichs said this finding confirms the Texas twang continues to exist as a resource, but people are using it more as a social commodity.

    Switched in Translation

    Although terms like “pole-cat” (skunk) and “miskeeta hawk” (dragonfly) have all but faded away, it isn’t unusual to hear “y’all” tossed around in conversations – even in big cities, Hinrichs said. This is especially prevalent among Texas-born Latinos.

    A sign in Ginny's cafe
    Photo: Jay B. Sauceda

    “My graduate students, Patrick Shultz and Arturo Nevárez found Latino students at UT are sounding more Texan than their Anglo counterparts,” Hinrichs said. “It’s not a way of trying to be white; it’s a way of being Tejano.”

    As part of the Texas English Project, linguistics graduate student Kate Shaw Points records and analyzes interviews with Texas-born Hispanic East Austin residents. Among her surprising findings, she discovered Latinos are proudly embracing the dialect of their home state.

    “Some past research has suggested that minority ethnic groups tend not to follow the language norms of the majority group,” Points said. But I found they are using the Anglo pronunciations of the long ‘oo’ vowels, which was very unexpected.”

    That “oo” sound is produced by a “fronted” manner, meaning they pronounce a single vowel with the tongue and lips in a fixed position towards the front of the mouth. When discussing topics like Tex-Mex cuisine, family and regional pride, the speakers often enunciate words like “fewd” (food) or “shew” (shoe).

    But when the conversation turns toward local politics and gentrification, Points said her participants revert to Hispanic English, in which the sound is produced with the tongue towards the back of the mouth. One speaker, for example, switched to this dialect while venting about developers pushing her out of her beloved East Austin neighborhood.

    So what’s causing this unconscious switch in accents? Points suggests it’s a way of expressing a certain identity. When they are happily waving their Texas-pride flags, they tend to infuse some twang into their speech. But when they’re staking claim to their East Austin neighborhoods, they employ the Hispanic accent to distance themselves from encroaching developers and affluent interlopers.

    “Considering its settlement history and how much the area has changed over time, I couldn’t have picked a better place to study language change than East Austin,” Points said. “There’s two very different competing accents, and it all depends on the subject matter.”

    These insights can help dispel harmful stereotypes about different ethnic groups – and hopefully increase a sense of tolerance for other cultures, Points said.

    “Appreciating that different groups of people have varied linguistic patterns, and that none of these patterns are a priori ‘better’ than others, could lead to increased understanding of other cultures,” Points said. “The more you know about how an ethnic group outside your own uses language, you are better prepared to accept their culture.”

    Times They Are A-Changin

    Given its unique mix of regional dialects formed by German, Czech and Latino immigrants, Central Texas is the ideal place to examine changing language patterns, Hinrichs said. Yet, surprisingly, it’s the least researched area in the nation.

    It's going to be different from what people's grandparents and great-grandparents sound like, but Texans will still have an accent, Points says. It will continue to move toward the national norm, but it will still be distinct from other places.
    Illustration: Jack Unruh

    “Texas is unique because the cultural and linguistic mixing that happens everywhere is happening here very strongly,” Hinrichs said. “There is the strong influence of Spanish from the South and throughout the state, the traditional Southwestern dialect region and the traditional Deep South, as well as more mainstream American English forms coming in from the North – all in competition right here in Central Texas. That is a pretty exciting mix of influences.”

    Texas dialect known the world over has several local flavors – from the soft, rounder East Texas drawl, to the higher-pitched, nasal Texas twang of the Panhandle. But in just three short decades, Hinrichs found the Texan way of speaking appears to be slipping away.

    He came across this startling discovery while combing through years of audio-recordings conducted by Gary N. Underwood, associate professor emeritus of English. They also analyzed research from the late E. Bagby Atwood’s “The Regional Vocabulary of Texas,” a collection of words, phrases and vocabulary differences across Texas in the 1960s. Atwood was a linguistics professor at The University of Texas at Austin and a leader in the field of sociolinguistics.

    “We transcribed and documented hours of Dr. Underwood’s interviews with Texas speakers and found the majority of his respondents had a strong Texas accent,” Hinrichs said. “But within the span of three decades, I’ve found only a small minority of Texans speak that way anymore.”

    So what will become of the Lone Star State’s trademark accent in the next 30 years? Points maintains that although the twang will no longer be hotter than a two-dollar pistol, it will continue to be a part of Texas’ linguistic landscape.

    “It’s going to be different from what people’s grandparents and great-grandparents sound like, but Texans will still have an accent,” Points says. “It will continue to move toward the national norm, but it will still be distinct from other places.”

    As the world changes at an ever-increasing speed, so do languages, Points said. It’s a natural process caused by the trappings of time.

    “Languages change naturally over time,” Points said. “The way we speak English today is different from how Shakespeare spoke English. It’s not a bad thing that language changes, it’s a natural evolution.”

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      Kat said on Sept. 21, 2012 at 11:33 p.m.
      In the 70's my uncle had a friend that taught linguistics at a university in CA (UCLA or USC dunno which one). He wanted to show how dialectic (Texan) changes over generations in a family that was raised in the same place (in this case Austin). He had my grandmother, mother and me read from the same story (and for the life of me I can't remember anything about this... just what my mother told me)and the result was (as you can imagine) my grandmother had a stronger accent than my mother, and my mother had a stronger accent than me. Grandma said "caint" while my mother and I said "can't" and so on.
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      Erika said on Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:37 p.m.
      I'm a 25 year old female teacher who was born an' raised on a ranch in West Texas. My parents an' grandparents all talk with a thick accent. They are all ranchers except for me. I went to school and became a teacher in England. Every so ofter I speak in a soft rolling accent but when I'm mad, boy howdy, stay clear. My students look at me because when I'm frustrated,my thick West Texas accent comes out. It all really depends and good article by tha' way.
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      Marsisi said on May 23, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
      One of the things I enjoyed the most about working for Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus was experiencing the many accents around the US. I tried to learn and use as many as possible. As for a "Texas twang," there are many of them. The West Texas twang is very different from the East Texas twang. When I visit Henderson County, where I grew up, I get even twangier, but I find that the younger people don't have the same twang as my generation. Alas!
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      Pat said on May 22, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
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      Pat said on May 22, 2012 at 2:19 p.m.
      I was in a speech class and the 1st day the instructor conducted a rapid fire test (recorded) and when she played it back and came to me she yelled out "who in the world is that? " I meekly held up my hand and she said Mr. Foster "do you sing" of course I said yes.The whole class was laughing. I asked her if she would let me ask a question. Would all you students please raise your hand if you're from Texas. You know the answer and we all laughed including the instructor
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      Ray Smith said on May 21, 2012 at 9:59 a.m.
      I was born in Amarilly, went to Kindergarten in El Paso and was raised in Austin from the age of 6. When out of Texas I try to speak more distinctly so people will understand me, and am often asked, especiall in the South, if I'm Brittish!
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      Carole Lay said on May 20, 2012 at 11:33 p.m.
      I've lived all over the world, but my east Texas accent has stayed with me. When I've been in the north of the U.S., I've been teased about being a country hick. However,in Thailand it was considered charming.
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      Carolyn Moon said on May 20, 2012 at 9:28 p.m.
      I've noticed my accent gets so thick when I leave the state that I can't even understand it.
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      Lorri Allen said on May 19, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
      As a broadcaster, I've tried to lose my Texas accent, but it won't go away! I sounded almost like a native in Atlanta, but now that I'm in Arizona, people often ask, "Where are you from?" I love hearing a voice that sounds like it's from home; most people out here sound like they are from Michigan or Pennsylvania. Thanks for the interesting article.
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      Jan Metz said on May 18, 2012 at 6:39 p.m.
      I was raised in Fort Worth and moved to California 25 years ago and still, anytime I get in an extended conversation, people ask me where I'm from. A few of those drawn-out vowels give me away, ah gay-us. Give me a couple of marg'ritas and it really comes out, ya'll! Have to say that men seem to love it. An aside about your observation concerning Latinos using ya'll more than anglos: English is one of few languages without a word for you plural. Perhaps it's a subconscious translation of "ustedes."
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      Allie-Sue Gottwald said on May 18, 2012 at 12:33 a.m.
      While you're at it, you might want to study how people react to "Yes, sir," "Yes, ma'am" v. "Yeah," "Naw," shrugging one's shoulders in answer to a question and calling older people by their first names before they tell you that's what they would prefer to be called.
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      David Meraz said on May 17, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.
      If you ever hear comedian Ron White....that is a modern Houston accent if ever there was one.
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      George Madden said on May 17, 2012 at 7:56 p.m.
      I grew up in central Texas in the 1940's and 50's, spending a lot of time around "country folks" with their strong accents and wonderful expressions. I hate to see them go, and plan to write many of them down to pass on to my grandchildren. Since my career took me all over the country and some of the world, I felt it necessary to displace my natural accent (primarily to speed communication), but in the right circumstances it comes back, and so do many of the expressions. I always got a kick out of the way some word sounds were essentially reversed in old Texas speech, such as " if you drive on that hot road you'r goin to get tire (tar, or asphalt) on your tars (tires)". I miss it.
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      rafael said on May 17, 2012 at 3:53 p.m.
      interesting!! i am from dallas and people from dallas sounds different than of you are from west texas, houston or SA. I was in boston a few summer ago and i said y'all and a lady asked me if i was from TX. She was from austin. good times!!
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      Mack Pusley said on May 17, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.
      Having grown up in West Texas, near the Mexico border, I have always been fond of imitating different accents. I never cease to be amazed, when I travel outside of Texas, that a Texas drawl, usually connotes a rural, uneducated southern hick. A carriage driver in Central Park in NY City recently told me, "I know how to get to Texas, you go South till you smell horse manure, and you turn right till you step in it." I told him, me and my missuzz, were fixin to go find a cab, so he could carry us to a cafe, hopefully to find us a big chicken fried steak, cream gravy, and some sweet iced tea. He said sarcastically, "Good Luck with that". We got out of his carriage, and I told him "Adios".
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      Cary Michael Cox said on May 17, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.
      Fourth-Generation Texan here, it's not our fault everyone else talks funny...
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      Ron Gossen said on May 17, 2012 at 2:38 p.m.
      While in school in Austin in the early 70s, it was easy to identify about five regional accents - East Texas, Dallit, the Panhandle, Austin and South Texas. At Texas Ex functions here in St. Louis, many of us can identify just what part 'a Texas our schoolmates hailed from. I hope that doesn't go away.
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      Robert Marshall said on May 17, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.
      When I first came to UT from California in 1943, I could easily tell which area of Texas a girl was from. There were Five distinct dialects. It sounds like one could not do that today, based on this article. I am back in Calif. so I don't know.
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      Mark Bayer said on May 14, 2012 at 9:11 p.m.
      Hey, be careful when you say Midwesterners don't have an accent. If you're talking about Wisconsin, lllinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc., there is a big time accent in those states around the Great Lakes, and it stretches as far south as St. Louis. It's well-documented and researched by folks like William Labov. When my wife and I got to St. Louis, MO back in 1995, we could not believe the accent there. But it's there. And it's annoying. I'll take the Texas accent any day over the whiny upper Midwestern vowel shift. Check out the NPR radio show to hear the inland north vowel shift.
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      Joel said on May 14, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.
      After many years in the service of my country and the travel involved. My return to my beloved Texas was rare but when I did return it always seemed that the Newscasters and commercials were putting on their accents. When I commented about it I was surprised when my wife said. "Whats wrong with the way they talk that is just how you sound." I have never lost my accent. I only lost my ear for other people's speech.
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      John Christian said on May 14, 2012 at 9:48 a.m.
      **********Texas born (on 'tha' southern shores of Red River in Sherman), raised in Mexico (my 'English accent' shifted to what I call 'the English of Mexico City, influenced by the Spanish of that town', so a 'lot of or a whole bunch of folks' in Texas would ask me if I was from, all places, New York!' as I did not talk 'Texan' --- kind of strange, no?), lived and went to school in New Mexico, and in 'tha Piney Woods' of East Texas, and spending more time in Austin and Central Texas now --- I love regional differences in English and Spanish --- very human, colorful, and more humorous than 'da horrible mainstream which crushes everything --- in Brooklyn and Lonk Island, its a glass "of 'da watah" you ask for, not 'water, wa-tur', as in "...watah, watah, everywhere, and ner a drop to drink..." -- as far as Southern or Texas dialects are concerned none is so "soft and melodious", in my observations, as the English of New Orleans --- the thing with the English of Texas is to speak through one's nose, like the French do --- but I guarantee that not even the French are that 'nasalized' like with the Texas 'twang' --- thats 'pretty much how the cow eats the cabbage round these parts, you done hear, bro..." --- all of this is why the "...'da elite of the East and Harvard, et 'you all' mock and make fun of us down here 'in 'da boonies', if 'ya know what I mean' -- thats one of the reasons they've never liked the Presidents, et al., from here --- their mannerisms and their speech --- they would have the disdain for those of Long Island, Brooklyn, Jersey Shores, and the beautiful, awesome Chesapeake Bay, etc. And lastly, I began to read the writing of Thomas Hardy who wrote about rural life in Southwestern England (Wessex county, etc.) and its people; I was amazed to see the "kind of English, or dialect, he had his characters and people speaking, much of it incredibly sounds and read like much of the English in spoken these days in this country and in places like England". It really "blew my mind". They word, "ain't" and other variations existed then and still do. Another 'thang' is that for the most part, probably close to 80 ~ 90%, was "education" was not really something or attainable for most or any of what we call "the teeming masses" who 'pretty much' really had no chance of going to school, something I learned when researching some of the history of my kinfolks in England when children were expected to go work in the fields and wherever they could find work --- education, then, was primarily for the aristocracy. For parents of today, with so much education, libraries, etc., being available, it is a true shame, that so many children and young folks are not encouraged to go learn at least the very basics of some things that will open doors and opportunities these days --- but we should appreciate the differences in our languages --- thank you for your interesting essay; 'thaatzzzch all eeyev-eh gotta saaay, todaaaayh, laaaytah, gaytaaaah!"
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      Alex said on May 14, 2012 at 12:53 a.m.
      My dad was born, raised, and educated in Austin, but he has lived in Oregon since 1987. He usually speaks without an accent, but he tends to have a pretty strong Texas accent when he talks to people from Texas or about Texas-related topics. The funny thing is that he doesn't even realize it and will actually deny it if you ask him about it, but it's totally noticeable for everyone else...
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      Sara S said on May 13, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.
      Goes both ways! Within my first year at UT my mum said I had "an accent" and I picked up "fixing to". Still cant say "y'all" though.. its "you lot" (with the London 't'). I taught my grad school friends a lot of new slang! We all morph our accents based on our surroundings.. but can rapidly revert in the right circumstances (e.g., going back to the UK for a visit).
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      Bobby Gierisch said on May 11, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.
      I am not a linguist, so I don't know what the technical distinction might be between an accent and a dialect. However, I lived in Switzerland for several years, where many local "dialects" of German exist side-by-side with the high German used in official discourse. In trying to understand the phenomenon, it occurred to me that it is not that different from what Texans, Southerners and other 'accented Americans' do. Even as kids, we realized that you speak differently in English class (official discourse, 'high' English) than you do at home with parents or friends. As adults we do the same thing. In business relations, or when traveling in other parts of the country, we speak differently. It's not so much a matter of trying to impress someone; it's more a recognition that this is a different social relationship and official English is more appropriate. And it isn't a matter of just suppressing the twang, it includes word usage and grammatical construction. Is it incorrect to think of our 'native' speech as a dialect rather than simply an accent? Does that change the way we think about its decline over time? Does it change our thoughts about how right or wrong it is to continue such speech? If I recall correctly, there was discussion of similar issues some years ago relating to African-American speech patterns. I would be interested in comments. And thanks for the article.
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      David Valenzuela said on May 11, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
      I really enjoyed reading this. The section about the East Austin Tejanos hit home for me, and there was a bit of truth in it. Tejanos from Houston, such as myself, learned from my father to speak with a Texas twang at times. I'll never forget his trademark "howdy, howdy" (haaahh-deh, haaahh-deh) that he always seemed to use on strangers, and more often than not whites. I understood it was him trying to be friendly. Of course we would switch up accents and words when speaking with different people. Growing up in urban Houston in the 90s I think I speak with more of a modern accent, but I do catch myself every once in a while. "Y'all," " I reckon"
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      Gregory Aker said on May 9, 2012 at 4:54 p.m.
      I am from far West Texas. I enrolled at UT in 1975, (had one class w/ Dr. Underwood)and I'll never forget being constantly reminded how thick my accent was. In the mid eighties I worked for an electronics wholesaler where I found myself unconsciously adjusting my accent for each individual client, much like the barristas in the story. I can still do that to some degree. It has been a while, however, since I've heard an "old timer" refer to the city south of us as "San Antonya!"
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      Shannon Vincent said on May 9, 2012 at 3:56 p.m.
      Ya'll should hear my friend Sandy talk. She does us all proud!
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      Sonja Lanehart said on May 9, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
      Good article. I was a student in Dr. Gary Underwood's class and collected recordings as part of his class on Texas English. It was one of the best classes I've ever taken. I'm glad Dr. Lars Hinrichs is carrying on the research and discovering new things about us native Texans. Nicely done!
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      Kate Collis said on May 9, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.
      I find that it depends on what generation the person I'm speaking to is in what language I use. The older Texans get my full Texas accent while younger generations don't. This can only lead to more degradation of the Texas twang and colloquialisms.
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      Sylvia Dickey Smith said on May 8, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.
      Folks in my hometown still talk Texas Twang, and honey, it ain't going away anytime soon!
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      Karen Oliver said on May 8, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.
      Having spent most of my life in El Paso, TX, I never spoke with the heavier drawl I heard from my East Texas relatives, but there was some semblance of a softer one. I did, however, pick up typical Texan words and phrases from them such as "fixin to" and "further down" and others. I've been on the East Coast for 12 years and have lost all of that, but when I visit relatives, even if for a few days, I do come home with a hint of that soft drawl. It is truly not deliberate and I am often unaware of it until someone comments on it.
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      Rebecca Pringle said on May 8, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.
      I am a native Oregonian and I did not realize I even had an accent until I moved to California and people commented on it. We would use terms like "crick" (creek) "rig" (truck) "over yonder" (somewhere close by) and the common "ya'll" of when I go home to visit I can hear how different everyone speaks and it's almost comical and yes, it does sound less educated. I believe Texas has the best vernacular and twang of all the states and I hope they never lose it- it's what makes Texas so gall-darned charming!
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      Joan Owens said on May 8, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
      My husband was raised in Arkansas. He easily adopted the Texas sound since most of his life was in Texas. But the amazing thing for me to witness was how quickly he would revert to the deep Arkansas drawl when he was around family from Arkansas or when he visited Arkansas.
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      Texanne said on May 8, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
      My cousin still says "Wane a minute" instead of "Wait a minute". She is in her 60's so I don't see that changing. My Mother had a very distinctive Texan accent. When I was a long distance operator back in the 1960's, I was speaking with someone in Canada and he said: "Operator, you have a very cute Texas accent". I'm proud to say I still do.
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      Amanda Bell said on May 8, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
      This article was very interesting, and made me think a little bit on how I talk. I was born in Anahuac, raised in Baytown, and visited my Daddy's side in Mexico and my Mom's side in Louisiana. Talk about a conglomeration of accents! I was told a lot when I moved to Georgia (and still do) "Y'all ain't from around here, ain't ya?" It sounds totally different from them than if I would have said it. When my grandmother passed in February, we spent a week in Louisiana for the funeral. Coming back I sounded like a cajun for a good solid week! My husband and co-workers couldn't make out what I was saying; it was hilarious! I wasn't forcing it, it just happened. I really hope the Texas accent never goes away. It's such a trademark of the best state ever.
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      Kate said on May 8, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.
      I strongly disagree with the line: Although terms like “pole-cat” (skunk) and “miskeeta hawk” (dragonfly) have all but faded away. I grew up referring to crane flies as mosquito hawks and I still use that term. Though it is definitely a regional word, you can do a quick google search and find that it is still very much in use.
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      frogprof said on May 8, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
      I used to work at a major Houston hospital, and I noticed that I pretty much became Scarlett O'Hara when I had a Yankee patient! I was born in Houston, grew up in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Tennessee, and came back to Houston [never "Yewston"] after high school. So my accent was sort of generic ... until a Noo Yawkuh was in the hospital bed. I didn't do it on purpose ... but "Wheh y'all FRUUUUM?" became my go-to phrase.
    • Quote 2
      Pamela J Ayers said on May 8, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
      Being a native Texan, with a Southern (Georgia born, Tennessee raised) father, I tend to sound more Southern when I speak of family. I have also noticed that the more comfortable I am, the more Texan I sound. But, I have been this way my whole life. My mom says that ever since childhood, for a couple of weeks before and a couple of weeks after a family vacation to Tennessee, that I would sound like I came from there. So, I suggest that it is not always a conscious effort.
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