Dialect differences and focal vocabularies have always interested me. Ever since I moved from Lenexa, Kansas to Savannah, Georgia when I was eight years old, I’ve been fascinated by my friends’ amusing accents and funny phrases. (The phrase “y’all” took me completely by surprise — I didn’t believe it was a word for a while.) Growing up, I was constantly comparing my phrases to others, noting differences and questioning my peers why they spoke “that way”; however, the question was often handed back to me: “Everyone says it that way,” my friends would say. “Why do you say it differently?” I often found myself in the minority situation, and while I never fully assimilated to the local dialect, I caught myself saying certain phrases and using accents simply to “fit in” with those around me. Attending UGA has been the first experience where I’ve been able to escape my local dialect and encounter different vernacular. I feel as though I’ve stepped out of my tiny, southern private school bubble and step into a melting pot of language, culture, and dialect differences. These personal experiences inspired me to take on this research project of understanding dialect differences between students at UGA.
You can read the rest of my research paper by clicking on the link below!