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Sunday, January 13, 2013

100 Things I Love About the USA: Part 2

I'm doing a series of posts about things I love about the USA. To catch up on previous posts, please click here. And in no particular order, I continue!

#6. Our accents. I love how diverse our dialects are, and love it when I'm in a region and I hear people actually talking like that. I think it's fun, but I know of a few foreign travelers who have a hard time with all of our different dialects. Hell, even we have trouble understanding all of our own dialects at times. Because, it's not even just by region, which there are plenty of those to begin with. But it's also broken down even further, by regions within those regions. Take the South - there's the basic Southern region, but there are different types of Southern - there's the Deep South like part of Alabama and Georgia; there's Tennessee and Kentucky which are also influenced by the Appalachian Region and Smokey Mountain dialecst; Louisiana is often in its own region, especially around New Orleans.

Then you have New England, Boston, Pennsylvania Dutch, New Jersey and New York accents - which each of the burroughs typically has it's own accent as well. After that you have what they call North and Upper North (or Midland) accents around the Great Lakes areas near the Canadian border, which are heavily influenced by Scandinavian and German immigrant history (if you've ever seen Fargo, you'll know what I mean - that is a tough accent). And we can't forget the Ozark dialect in the Midwest.

And no we don't stop there. Then you break out into the several Western accents inlcuding, Texan, Northwest, Southwest, and of course the Pacific Northwest and Southwest - which is California basically. And even in California, just like every other state/region, dialects vary based on where you live. Up in northern California, we're pretty flat, in that people from other areas of the country think we've just plain lost our accent. In southern California you can wind up with more a Valley accent (think something like Clueless) and Surfer accent (which most people think we all sound like that). And we can't forget Alaskan and Hawaiian.

It's no wonder why people have trouble with our dialects. They are many and each encompass their own worlds. Each region of the country has been heavily influenced in so many different ways by our history. We Americans can travel all over our own country and still feel like a passport is required to visit certain regions. Just think of it as us trying to keep, not only ourselves, but the rest of the world on its toes.

#7. London Bridge, conveniently for us (and not so for the Brits) located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The bridge was (originally) built around 1830 in London (of course) over the River Thames, but by the 1960s it could no longer support the traffic load. So, it was put up for sale, which of course, is totally insane. However, a guy in Arizona decided to buy it (which is equally insane), and was sailed piece by piece from London to Texas and traveled piece by piece overland to Lake Havasu City. It was completed in the early 1970s. We're just keeping it safe and using it as a total tourist attraction. We have no shame.

#8. Starbucks. Born in Seattle in 1971, it is now the world's largest coffee chain. I'm not a coffee person, but they do make a mean hot chocolate.

#9. Four Corners Monument. This is the only place in our country where the corners of four different states meet up - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. It's a complete tourist trap - and I know because I've been there. It's nothing huge, really, except that you can stand in four states at one time. We Americans love weird shit like this because it means we can take goofy pictures of ourselves.





#10. We were the birthplace of the King of Rock 'n Roll - Elvis Presley himself. And that means, his home as well, Graceland. This is basically Mecca to all Elvis fans. Graceland is one of the most popular home museums visited on an annual basis (like 2nd or 3rd after the White House). It was opened as a museum in the early 80s, as a last ditch effort to save the family from losing the house and what was left of Elvis' fortune.

 






 Here's the USA map to show you where I've taken you in this posts' journey.

12 comments:

  1. I remember seeing a made-for-tv movie about the London Bridge with David Hasselhoff...about how the ghost of Jack the Ripper was transported with the bridge to Arizona and was now wreaking his brand of havoc there.

    Oh, geez...does that tell you how old I am? :-D

    I've never been in a Starbucks. Did however try out Dutch Bros. when we were in Oregon. I don't know if they do hot chocolate, but their coffee is Excellent!

    I have seen Fargo; the accent was a bit off-putting for me, as I personally never attributed it to any region except that of the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. We know it as a "Yooper" accent. 'Yooper' being a term for a resident of that part of the state; many Yoopers refer to residents of the Lower Penninsula as "Trolls", as they live south (beneath) the Mackinaw Bridge.

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    1. I recently heard about the "Yooper" on a recent episode of American Pickers. And don't we come up with great nicknames for each other? lol

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  2. Two stories: First, a long time ago (I was a kid), my brother's family took me with them on a drive to Florida. Someplace in Tennessee, we pulled into a Dairy Delight. My brother gave the counter guy our order like a true Chicago salesman- quickly, short on pauses. The guy looked at him blankly and said-very slowly- "BegYaPahhhhdon?"

    Second, we have a four corners in Indiana- Four Presidents' Corner, the meeting of Jefferson, Jackson, Monroe, and Madison townships in Allen County. Not quite the same, but noteworthy for us...

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    1. LOL at the first story. And that's cool about your four corners. :o)

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  3. Our accents can vary acroos the country too but perhaps not so extreme as yours.
    Last time I had coffee in Starbucks was in Bangkok where I sat and looked across to Krispy Kremes.
    Starbucks pretty much went broke here in Aus.

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    1. I had no idea that Starbucks went broke in Australia. Wait. You guys still have Krispy Kreme??? OMG. I haven't had one in so long (not that it's a bad thing really . . . lol).

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    2. We can only really get Krispy Kreme in Melbourne (another state) so you often see people getting off the plane loaded with boxes of them

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  4. My family is Pennsylvania Dutch and the things they say are hilarious. No one outside their little town understands the dialect.

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    1. LOL Oh I bet. They could probably insult most of the country and we'd just smile and nod, being all polite. LOL

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  5. I didn't know that about London Bridge, very interesting :)

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