Posts Tagged ‘ Colorado ’

Will My Kid Have A Southern Accent?

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

19 months.

Today my son Jack asked me to turn on the TV so he could watch Elmo on Netlflix.

By “watch” I mean “point to Elmo when he appears on the screen then let Sesame Street serve as background noise as Jack plays with his toys.”

And by “asked me” I mean he simply pointed at the TV and said “On?”

But his version of “on” was pronounced “own.” Whereas when I say the word to him to teach the difference between off and on, I pronounce it as “ahn.”

We live in Nashville, Tennessee. It assumed that people here speak with a thick Southern accent, if for no other reason, because this is where all the Country music stars live.

But the thing is, most of those Country artists moved here from Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, or some other state in the South. And if they are actually from Tennessee, they’re from a good hour outside of Nashville.

Visit Nashville and you will find that most people here don’t actually have a thick accent. Instead, you may here some Indiana or Maryland or Colorado in there instead.

Like my wife, for example, who is from Sacramento, California. And even though I was raised in the South, I don’t have the accent to prove it because my mom was raised in Buffalo, New York.

So Jack is being raised in a major Southern city consisting of a very high concentration of transplants and internationals, by two parents who don’t sound like they are part of the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard or The Beverly Hillbillies.

I predict that though he may have some Southern tendencies regarding his accent right now, when it’s all said and done he will talk the way I do. Like he’s from Louisville, Kentucky or Cincinnati, Ohio.

In other words, a virtually untraceable American accent.

On top of all this, have you ever noticed how Southern accents are extremely rare and underrepresented on TV?

When a character on a TV show or movie is from the South, they often embody a negative or theatrical stereotype, like Sawyer on Lost.

Or even if the actual actor is from the South, they neutralize their accent to be taken more seriously in the world of entertainment.

NBC’s The Office is a prime example of this. The actors who play Andy, Kevin, and Angela are real-life Southerners who don’t show it in the way they speak.

Based on my own unprofessional (!) Wikipedia research, about 35% of Americans are Southerners speaking with a Southern accent. Population-wise, if my assumptions are correct, more Americans speak in Southern dialect than do Midwestern, Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Western, or any other American accent that exists.

So when we watch TV and movies, we are more likely to hear neutralized accents than we are to hear the same accent that the actual slight majority of America actually speaks.

I believe my son’s “own” will eventually become “ahn” when he tries to say “on.” But I guarantee you that, like his parents, he will still use the word “ya’ll.”

He may pronounce it “yahl” as opposed to the true Southern way, which is “yawh,” in which no actual “L” sound is heard, but at least there will be a little proof he is a Southerner based on how he speaks.

Not to mention the whole “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” thing; which, as his dad, I will make sure he says, ensuring his status as a true Southern gentleman.

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My “Greatest Hits” List of Parenthood, So Far

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

17 months.

My wife and I can’t relate to the concept of “trying” to have kids.

At the very beginning of 2010, we decided that we might consider starting our family around November of that year. Instead, our son Jack was born, not conceived, in November 2010.

(I’ll spare you the mysterious details on how exactly that happened ahead of schedule.)

Meanwhile, our very good friends Dave and Karen were living the opposite version of that story. For Christmas 2009, Dave told Karen that all he wanted for Christmas was to be a dad. Accordingly, she very much wanted to start having children as well.

But it hasn’t been easy. They have done everything in their power to get pregnant; from cutting edge new technology to alternative medicine. None of it has been effective.

I know it’s been an emotional journey for them. If there has been one thing Jill and I have prayed more for on a daily basis, it has been for Dave and Karen to be able to have a child.

When I think of the biggest-hearted people in my life, they both instantly come to mind.

In fact, they took us into their home twice (a total of over 6 months) as we were moving to Alabama and then again when we moved back to Nashville. Interestingly, when we brought Jack “home” from the hospital, it was their house we came back to. (In the picture above, they are holding the newborn Jack.)

They have sacrificed greatly for us; amidst the ease of us being able to have a child.

And this whole time, they’ve acted as if it was their privilege to do so.

Dave and Karen recently returned from a 2 week in vitro fertilization session in Colorado. We didn’t ask them about it because we knew they would let us know if it was successful.

Yesterday my wife Jill saw that she had missed a call from Karen. This video that Karen posted on her Facebook wall pretty much sums it all up:

It just so happened they we found out their wonderful news as we were watching a Season 3 episode of Lost called “Greatest Hits” where Charlie learns how and when he will die; he must sacrifice his life so that his girlfriend and her son can be rescued from the island.

In the hours leading up to his death, he writes out a greatest hits list of his entire life to give to his girlfriend for the moment she would learn of his death: The #1 “hit” was when he met her.

So that’s what got me thinking about this “Greatest Hits of Parenthood” list for myself.

My list so far would be A) Jack’s safe arrival into this world, B) the fact that we has blonde-hair and blue eyes though it doesn’t make much sense when you look at his parents, C) how at 15 months he started recognizing me as his dad and choosing to want to hang out with me even if my wife was in the room too, and D) Jack surviving his febrile seizure.

But never in my life have I ever felt so much joy because of a blessing in someone else’s life.

In fact, finding out that Dave and Karen are having a baby is definitely included now on my “greatest hits” list of being a parent.

And now they get to start their own greatest hits…

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