Thursday, November 08, 2007

Texas Accent vs the World

I was chatting (online) with a client about how and when I use my Texas accent. She commented that I hadn't sounded like Texan while I was at their office. Probably because I was in work mode. The Texas accent comes out naturally when I'm with friends, or if I'm tired. Of course, I can deliberately switch it on and off, particularly as a defense mechanism against the obnoxious Yankee accents I encounter. Or for work, when I need to speak clearly and professionally.

Then the conversation segued to Christmas music -- because I happened to be listening to Andy Williams trilling It's a Wonderful Time of the Year. Usually, I start listening to holiday music in October each year, a habit developed during high school.

I was in chorus back then. Me and the 100 other choir students would start practicing Christmas carols almost immediately after Labor Day. And when that many people sing simultaneously, they kinda need to enunciate words in exactly the same way so they'll be understood.

Hence, the birth of my proper diction. Then, for a couple of easy courses in college, I took Public Speaking as well as Voice & Diction. And there began my work mode voice. In which I no longer express my Texan heritage. All based on my high school chorus experience.

But on contemplation, perhaps this was a deliberate ploy of the chorus teacher. Maybe she had an nefarious plot to eradicate the Texas accent. After she'd destroyed her students' ability to speak like a Texan, she planned to subtly remove the Rs from words like park and car, then insert those lost consonants into words like wash. She would punish anyone using y'all unless addressing an individual. Next, she'd slip the treacherous aks into songs so students would aks a question.

Because, of course, a Texan wielding an aks really would herald the end of the Republic.

But I'm happy to say that I've escaped her reprehensible clutches. I have learned to control the diction. I don't aks or pahk or warsh -- not even on demand.

But I can say Howdy or Good Morning, depending on my audience.