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Texas losing twang

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In Texas, certain words and pronunciations are characteristic of the way many people talk, like "ya'll" or pronouncing vowels a certain way. Those who aren't from Texas say they notice it.

 

"You can still pick up a little bit and I think yall is the best example. I'm starting to use it in my own vocabulary," says Colin Dennis who just moved to Austin from New York. While it's obvious the Texas Twang still exists, you probably don't hear it as much as you would have years ago.

 

"The twang is being used less in daily life," says University of Texas Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics Lars Hinrichs. Several years ago he and fellow researchers started the Texas English Project to study how the Texas twang has changed over time. "I don't think the Texas twang is getting lost, but I think the world is changing and people are interacting more with non Texans," Hinrichs says.

 

As part of the research they listened to recordings of Texans speaking decades ago and compared them to modern-day interviews. Hinrichs says he notices most of his students don't speak with an accent, even those from rural parts of Texas. "They choose not to sound very Texan when they're here, on campus in a professional setting like this, but they can, most of them say they can and they would in a home environment."

 

We didn't have to go far to find some Texas Twang. FOX 7 director Crysta Lee is from Lindale, near Tyler, Texas. She says it wasn't until she left East Texas that she noticed her accent. "I don't think I sound as country as people make me out to be, but I can hear it when I'm around other people like you, who don't have an accent." UT Researcher Kate Shaw Points says that's usually the case.

 

"If you lived in once place your whole life you might not be aware you have an accent because it's normal," she tells FOX 7.

 

Crysta believes no amount of time away from her home town will make her accent go away. "It's in my blood, it's not going anywhere."

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