Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Culture of the Southern United States.

The Culture of the Southern United States, or Southern Culture, is perhaps America's most distinct, in the minds both of its residents and of those in other parts of the country. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate from the rest of the country has led to its being the most studied and written about region of the United States.
Southern culture has been and remains generally more socially conservative than that of the rest of the country. Because of the central role of agriculture in the antebellumeconomy, society remained stratified according to land ownership, and communities often developed strong attachment to their churches as the primary community institution.
From its many cultural influences, the South developed its own unique customs, literature, cuisine and musical styles (such as country music, bluegrass, southern gospel,jazz, blues and rock and roll).


The predominant culture of the South has its origins with the settlement of the region by British colonists. In the 17th century, most were of Southern Englishorigins, mostly from regions such as Kent, East Anglia and the West Country who settled mostly on the coastal regions of the South but pushed as far inland as the Appalachian mountains by the 18th century. In the 18th century, large groups of Scots lowlanders, Northern English and Ulster-Scots (later called the Scots-Irish) settled inAppalachia and the Piedmont. They were often called "crackers".
 Most Southerners today are of partial or majority English and Scots-Irish ancestry. The other primary population group in the South is made up of the African American descendants of the slaves brought into the South. African Americans in the South have transmitted their foods, music (see "negro spirituals"), art, and charismatic brand of Christianity to white Southerners, and the rest of the nation.
Other ethnic groups established communities in the American South. For examples are the German American population of the Edwards Plateau of Texas, whose ancestors arrived in the region in the 1840s. German cultural influence continues to be felt in cities like New Braunfels, Texas near Austin and San Antonio. Much of the population of Louisiana and coastal Mississippi and Alabama traces its primary ancestry to French colonists of the 18th century. Also important is the french community ofNew Orleans, Louisiana dating back to the 1880s.

Southern dialect

Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the mid-Atlantic coast to throughout most of Texas and Oklahoma.
Southern dialects make up the largest accent group in the United States. Southern American English can be divided into different sub-dialects, with speech differing between regions. African American Vernacular English(AAVE) shares similarities with Southern dialect due to African Americans' strong historical ties to the region.
While traces of African language remain in AAVE, there are a few distinctively African dialect groups in the South, the Gullah the most famous among them.  Also called Geechee in Georgia, the language and a strongly African culture developed because of the people's relative isolation in large communities, and continued importation of slaves from the same parts of Africa.
Other distinct languages include Cajun French (Louisiana), and IsleƱo Spanish (Louisiana, see also Canarian Spanish).


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