Old virginia accent

The Old Virginia accent is one that is primarily heard in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Traces of this dialect and its characteristic drawl can also be heard in adjacent states, including words that are pronounced differently, such as "out" and "house."


Southern and south midland accent characteristics include:[1]

  • "drawl" [lengthening, fronting, and raising vowels]
  • /ai/ > /æ:/ in find, mind
  • /oi/ > /o/ in boil, oil
  • /u:/ > /yu:/ in due, tuesday
  • /au/ > /æu/ in out, doubt
  • /e/ > /ei/ in bed, head
  • /e/ > /i/ in pen, ten
  • greasy > greazy
  • carry > tote
  • dragged > drug
  • you > you all, y’all


The earliest English settlers of the colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts were mainly people from Southern England. However, Virginia received more colonists from the English West Country, bringing with them a distinctive dialect and vocabulary.

The Boston, Massachusetts, Norfolk, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina areas maintained strong commercial and cultural ties to England. Thus, the colonists and their descendants defined "social class" according to England's connotations. As the upper class English dialect changed, the dialects of the upper class Americans in these areas changed. One example, is the "r-dropping" of the late 18th and early 19th century, resulting in the similar "r-dropping" found in Boston and parts of Virginia today.[1]

See also


External links

  • Speech Accent Archive.
  • Library
  • "Dialects Of Virginia"
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.