In Chattanooga: How Not to Talk like a Southerner

In the hilly precincts of Chattanooga these days, a lot of get-ahead people are doing combat against the peril of forward tongue carry. They are running through word lists, striving to keep their monosyllables crisp: "What kind of boy is George? Mean. Mean-mean-mean-mean-mean."

They are smoothing out the twang their daddies taught them and nipping off Mamma's drawl, learning to talk, in the words of the Chattanooga Times, "so folks won't think you're eating grits."

In the chronicles of self-improvement, what's going on here is not wholly new. Speech coaches in New York City have built careers battling Brooklynese, and in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!