August 2015


Any truth to the loss of the Southern Drawl

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

For more than half a century, the familiar Southern accent has been fading in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its disappearance has been so slow and so subtle that locals may not even have noticed. But for Robin Dodsworth, an associate professor in sociolinguistics at NC State, the decline tells the story of rapid social change across the urban South.

Dodsworth discovered that the vowels of speakers born between 1920 and 1950 were remarkably stable. Then, in the middle of the 20th century, Southern linguistic features began to steadily decline. But why?

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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

For decades, heaps of land records laid untouched in the state Capitol’s attic before being moved to the Tennessee State Library and Archives when it was built in the 1950s. Now workers there are preserving the documents that detail land ownership and exchanges as far back as 1779. Carol Roberts and Kat Trammell are delicately piecing together Tennessee history.

Roberts, the archives’ head conservationist, says the pieces of paper filled with hand-drawn sketches and detailed descriptions of property boundaries are dirty and fragile, with some left as brittle as dried leaves.

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