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The Southern Gentleman, a Dissection, Part 2

We now continue our journey of exploration into those elements and ingredients that not only comprise a southern gentleman, but define him as well. Few features of a southern gentleman are as notable and powerful as his accent, which is commonly referred to as a southern drawl. In the hands of lesser men, the drawl can be seen as a burden, but when it is spun by the lyric mastery of a true southern gentleman, it becomes pure poetry in motion that is as intoxicating as any muscadine brandy and sounds just as sweet.

The Region Makes the Language

Any true southerner knows that the variations of accents based on regional location are as vast as the stars in a field on a summer night. Like any other language, the isolation of regions caused the southern accent to become divergent based upon location. This caused regional dialects to blossom and the most creative colloquialisms known to man were born. Some of these divergent tongues fared better than others in their beauty and grace, while others become what appears to the untrained ear to be a guttural mash of unintelligible noise.

Overcoming Obstacles

The recent spike in reality television has damaged the integrity, elegance, and sophistication of a southern drawl. Going all the way back to Foghorn Leghorn, the media has made a unwarranted attack on southern culture by attempting to bastardize the accents from this region. By showing the worst the South has to offer and then mocking their region language has made it difficult for the true southern drawl to flourish the way it should. All of a sudden a southern accent is a disability rather that a virtue. Oh, but every now and then a shining star of a celebrity will arise and bring back the southern drawl to its former glory. In truth if it were not for the adaptations of Tennessee William's screenplays onto the silver screen, we in all possibility could have had our drawl suppressed into extinction. But with the help of larger than life personas such as “Big Daddy” and “Ben Quick” our language had a renaissance and once again our children can know the power of the southern gentleman when he engages his southern drawl. On a side note, if you have not seen the above mentioned movies, then you are doing your region a disservice and I would put forward that this should not only be a requirement for you, but for the people within you realm of acquaintance as well.

The Drawl As It Pertains To The Southern Gentleman

As stated before, few can wield the southern drawl with such effectiveness and mastery as a true southern gentleman. Some subscribe to the notion that this is a learned skill I don't disagree, but just like any other talent such as cooking low country boil, brewing sweet tea, and bush-hooking for catfish some are born with a natural inclination to excel at the southern drawl. Most who attempt to “learn” it tend to go overboard and start falling into the caricature of the language such as used by of feathery cartoonish Foghorn. The most important thing that must be remembered by our neighbors to the north and west is that the worst transgression you can commit is to mistake one who communicates in a southern drawl as being uneducated or ignorant, because rare is that case and we would hate for your to be embarrassed in public by one of our fine gentlemen spewing knowledge like that nice young man from Good Will Hunting.

A true southern gentleman has such a mastery of his drawl that it flows like a slow churning black river around a cypress bend. It ebbs and flows, engulfs and releases with such ease and elegance that many a weak heart are left breathless after a conversation. Even the most mundane of topics is a metamorphosis into a sonnet and song of vocal seduction serenading all within the realm of this serendipitous interaction. The truly amazing aspect of the southern gentleman's use of his drawl is that he is as much at home dining in the illustrious homes of old Savannah and the chic restaurants of Buckhead Atlanta as he is on the front porch of a farm house splitting and chewing sugar cane. The southern gentleman is able to communicate on every level from the aristocrat to the everyman and all who fall in between. The southern gentleman has made the language of the South his, he has embraced it as he would a friend or loved one and we as a culture are the better for it. You may also like:

The Southern Gentleman Part One

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