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【The most widely recognized dialect of American English: Southern American English】


(Contributed by Crystal)
Part I
Southern American English is a dialect of Standard American English. It is the most widely recognized regional dialect of American English. Southern American English varies in pronunciation across the southern states, but generally it is defined by pronunciation and structure. There is no single southern accent. There are many different accents in SAE.
Southern American English is very different from Standard English. It has its own history and culture. Also, there are a few different sub dialects of Southern American English: Gee Chee/Gullah; Redneck; Ebonics, and Cajun, just to name a few.
These many different sub-dialects share some common features:
 Done is used as an auxiliary verb, between the subject and verb in sentences conveying the past tense (I done told you before); whereas, Standard English speakers would say: I have already told you.
 Subject: I
 Verb: Told
 SAE aux.: Done
Southern American English speakers also use double negative, which is a BIG NO-NO in Standard American English.
Southern American English Example: I don’t have no time for that.
Ebonics Example: Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Standard American English Example: I don’t have any time for that.
Standard American English rules forbid double negatives.
For a very long time linguist considered Southern American English to be, simply, and improper use of Standard American English. Today it is accepted as just a different dialect. More and more linguists confirm that no one dialect is correct or incorrect; they are only different. This is particularly good news for me, as Southern English is by natural and native dialect.

Part II
Southern American English Sub-Dialects


The Gee Chee dialect is one of the most popular sub-dialects of Southern English. It originated from the slaves who lived on Gullah Island, now known as Sea Island, off the coast of South Carolina. The following are examples of Gee Chee terms, proverbs and words:
Gee Chee Terms
(Been here) Beanyeah – What one is called if they are a native Gullah South Carolinian.
(Come here) Comeyeah – Someone who has moved to South Carolina recently.
Gullah Proverb:
“Mus tek cyear a de root fa heal de tree.” – Gullah proverb [You need to take care of the root in order to heal the tree.]
Gullah Words:
A’min – Amen : This word is used to close a prayer. At the end of every prayer, Gullah people say A’min. This word is also pronounced ‘AH men’. Sometimes, when one person agrees with what another person has said, they will say amen.
Person One: “It sho is hot today!” (It’s certainly hot today.)
Person Two: Amen!
hudu – to cause bad luck to someone/ to put a spell on
Example: That witch will hudu you. (That witch will put a spell on you.)
nana – elderly woman, grandmother
I call my grandmother, Nana!
tote – to pick up
I have to tote this bag all the way to the bus stop.
yam – sweet potato
I like to eat yams.
Most English speakers cannot understand Gee Chee speakers. I lived around Gee Chee speakers
most of my life, and still I have a very hard time understanding what they are saying!

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