God and Gi-tars Essay

Submitted By abbymmiller
Words: 1263
Pages: 6

Abigail Miller
9 September 2013

God and Gi-tars The words and phrases we hear from day to day can be a huge influence on how we speak to people we come in contact with. Sometimes even the slightest accent on a word can cause someone to detect where you are from. Even as I write these words, I am hearing myself read them with an accent that is a reflection of my background. Personally, I have had a few different types of English throughout my life that, all together, have created my own combination of speech that is best understood among members of my family, musicians, and churchgoers. I grew up in east Tennessee, where you can find some of the most southern accents that can possibly be applied to the English language. Many times I catch myself saying phrases that would only be heard around that part of the country. That is simply because I have been exposed to these accents all of my life. It has become second nature to me to say that I am “fixin to do somethin”, as opposed to “going to do something”. Many particular people are to blame for the southern influence in my speech, but the following people are, perhaps, the most responsible. Since I can remember, I have been around my mother’s family, whom has a very specific way of speaking to one another. My sister and I would go to my grandparents’ house for a day or two, and come back home with an extra drawl to our words. We used to listen to our mother speak on the phone with our grandparents, and notice her accent change pretty drastically right away. We would usually joke with her about her change in tone once she hung up, but we didn’t realize how necessary it really was to speak with a southern accent when we spoke to our grandparents. It is almost like a completely different language to adapt to when speaking to others who use it on a day to day basis. My grandfather (“Papa”), in particular, is a great example of someone I continue to have to modify my speech with. Here’s an example of a conversation I might have on a normal day sitting with my grandfather: ‘Heidi, Abigail. How yuns doin?’ ‘We’re doin good, Papa, r’ you?’ ‘I’m a doin ok I reckon. How’s your schoolin goin?’ ‘It’s goin good’ ‘Are ye still playin that gi-tar?’ ‘Of course I am, Papa’ ‘You want me to learn ye something else?’ ‘Yeah, that’d be dandy.’ My grandpa taught me how to play guitar, along with my mother. They both have had a great influence on me in not only the Southern way of speaking, but with music as well. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been exposed to my second form of speech, which I call, “musicians’ slang”. Although this way of communicating has a different background than the Southern accent, it is also used to connect or interact with others who share the same lifestyle. This way of speaking is usually a result of knowledge in music, but not always. I have experienced times where I am in a band rehearsal, and I use or hear a word to describe a style of music that is not necessarily technically correct, but the other musicians completely understand what is being said. As I progress in my skills as a musician, I am constantly reminded how important it is to have knowledge about music in order to be able to communicate with other musicians, but it is not always useful to use the correct theoretical term. If you have a good instinct for what sounds best in a song, words can be easily created as a result of good understanding of the English language, overall. There are also times when words or phrases come about randomly. I will give you an example of a conversation I might have with a fellow musician in my church band about how to improve the sound of a song. ‘Abby, what do you think we should do to make this song flowier?’ ‘Maybe add some strings in the keys along with the melody, and be smoother dynamically.’ ‘That sounds good, but I think we should take out the