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Last of the Breed: Commercial Fishermen from the Banks

1097 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Sweetwater
Just thought I might post this for fun. It shows how we talk here near the NC Outer Banks. Most of our families have been commercial fishermen for generations, often dating back to before the Revolutionary War. We still speak much like the English from the days of Shakespeare, though our 'brogue' is diminishing with exposure to TV, Radio, and outsiders. Have a look at the direct descendants of some of our nations earliest colonists, still toughing it out on the Carolina Outer Banks.
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Thank you!

Interesting how some communities have their own local dialects, and word meanings only known to the residents. There are two semi isloated areas in Wa that are like that. I have noticed in Trout Lake,WA there is a hint of southern drawl with some folks. But the most noticible is in Darrington,WA. For as long as I can remember (grew up a little ways from there), the folks have been known as "tarheels". I spent a little bit of time in NC, so later on I compared, and sure enough, the dialect is there. But only with those who were born and raised. That's diminishing now with alot of "pilgrims" moving into the area. I do have some family (cousins) there, but haven't seen them for ages. It would be interesting to find out just how many dialects there really are in the USA. Not just the general area types, but those including local.
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Pat/Rick said:
It would be interesting to find out just how many dialects there really are in the USA. Not just the general area types, but those including local.
I've always been fascinated in accents since I was young. We had our 'Hoi Toide' accent, and most visitors from inland had a 'Tobacco Farmer' accent. Even a 4 year old could notice the difference. Those folks from inland would get funny looks from us with a 'normal' accent (still laughing at considering our accent normal, we sound different from most of the rest of the South, and are often asked what part of 'Up North' we're from by other Southerners).

To be honest, in the eastern part of my county (Carteret County NC) each little town has (or had) it's own little unique accent variations. It was minor, and you had to have a lot of exposure to it to pick up on the differences, but they were there, subtle though they were.

School, television, radio, and the like is rapidly causing many of our accents to become neutralized, sort of balancing between all the accents. It's sad, perhaps, and yet interesting at the same time. But I'll relate a quick fun little true story from as recent as the last year or so to illustrate how neat accents are.

A Carolina boy, with the accent mentioned above, went to work captaining a menhaden boat in rural south Louisiana. Upon re-entering the Mississippi one night, he radioed ahead to the lock keeper, inquiring as to when the lock could be entered. The lock keeper was a long time Louisiana resident, and quickly fired back something to the effect: 'Just where in North Carolina are you from, man?' The captain was quite surprised to find, the lock keeper grew up close enough to have gone to the same high school, although as the lock keeper was older, and had graduated many years before himself. But the lock keeper, barely awake and a few thousand miles from home in NC, instantly recognized an accent from home even over a garbled radio.

Our accent is a bit distinct, perhaps, but it's interesting the way folks say things, and a lot of it (accent) goes back farther than we'd imagine. Mine easily traces back to the 1650's!
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I married a girl once from Manteo NC. I lived 45 miles north of Manteo. Just 3 miles south of Manteo and there's another world trapped in time. These folks speak a language that is almost non-understandable. My eldest Son grew up in Wanchese but did'nt pickup the Brogue. Just recentley He came by to visit me and was given a ride there by a 30's something young lady from Wanchese. When She and my son left my wife said what the He** was that. I said what are you talking about. She said what's wrong with that girl and I realised that She had never met a real Wancheser as we called them. They called anyone outside of Wanchese tater diggers.
Accents have always given me cause to pause. having grown up with a speech impediment, I was very sensitive to speech patterns. You could walk into a store in Bangor and "hear" folks from all over Maine conversing in their local dialects. In the high school I went to, there were a couple boys from a town "a bit closer to the ocean" than most of the kids, and they sounded just like the fishermen on the coast. Coastals were called "herrin' chokas" (spelled "herring chokers") as that area had a lot of weirs (big nets on posts) used to catch herring which became sardines. Had some close associates as kids in the Boy Scouts from Lubec when I lived in Calais, and the dialects were noticeably different.

I spent a couple weeks surf fishing the Outer Banks of N.C. back in the early 80's. Had a new '79 4x4 Ford Van and we ran the beaches nearly endlessly! It was some of the best fun I remember. Didn't really notice any more than a "Southern Accent" but I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels back then and didn't "notice" so much.......It was a great place and a great time, I do still remember that.

NRA Life
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