Chapter 1: What an Accent Tells Us

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[Female schoolteacher]: I play a game when I'm working with students. I ask them to lower their eyes for a second and, and pretend they can't see me, pretend I'm behind a screen. And they're listening to me talk. And as they hear me talk, they can hear that I have a number of southern features that they associate with upper or middle class in my voice with the r's the ah's, and the g's. They'll hear that it's sort of southern but I talk too fast to be Deep South. I don't have that soft "spread on bread" from Savannah or some of the areas around in there. You can hear that I'm over eighteen. I've lost that beautiful breathless quality. That I am, we hope, under eighty because it's not thoroughly cracked. You can hear that I probably like the situation. I have some education. I like to speak and if you'd listen for another minute you can hear me smile at ya. You give away all of that every time you say anything. That's what an accent tells you.