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IAMWRITER
10-15-2012, 12:09 AM
Basically, I've got a quick question about Virginia.

Would you consider it a "country" state?

I've got a character in my WIP, that my MC nicknames "country boy" because of his accent.

I've did a little looking and I think that a Virginia accent has a drawl to it.

To anyone that knows, does it really and would you consider it a "country" state?

Or I'm I just totally wrong? (I'm wrong quite a lot of times!)

Much appreicated.

thothguard51
10-15-2012, 12:28 AM
Unsure what you mean by a Country State, but Virginia is classified as a Commonwealth State. Period. If you are trying to portray Virginia as some back woods type of state, you'd be wrong.

The nickname country boy could be applied in any instance where the scenes and characters take place outside of big cities and metropolitan areas. It is not exclusive to a person from a particular state. I know country boys from upstate New York, seriously...

I was born in St. Louis Mo. Moved to Virginia when I was 11. After a couple of years here, my relatives back home said I had a southern drawl compared to the more neutral drawl of those from the Midwest.

I have lived all over the U.S. but when I was in Huntsville Alabama, they thought I had a Yankee accent. The southern drawl of the deep south is very different than that of the Mid Atlantic states.

Even in Maryland, there is a slight drawl that you could not distinguish from those who live in Virginia.

IAMWRITER
10-15-2012, 12:34 AM
Sorry if I'm not too clear.

I'm trying to say "country" in the sense that people would assume its a farmy area.

Like my MC is playing on the stereotype that this guy is a "country boy" in that farmy sort of sense with the accent and everything.

Hope this makes it a little clearer.

thothguard51
10-15-2012, 12:39 AM
Are there farm areas in your state? Of course there is but does that make your state a Country State?

IAMWRITER
10-15-2012, 12:47 AM
Sorry, this is a typical Brit trying to learn about America but making a complete fool of themselves.

Basically would you say that a stereotype like a "country boy/bumpkin" could be applied to someone from Virginia? (ie. that stereotype is redundant for states like New York)

Sorry, I'm being really confusing and sounding pretty stupid aren't I?

mrsmig
10-15-2012, 12:49 AM
Speaking as a Virginia native: it depends, y'all.

As is the case with most states, regional accents vary from place to place within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In Northern Virginia (where I live), there's not much of a regional accent at all; the proximity to Washington, DC and Maryland is probably the reason. Southeastern Virginia has the famous Tidewater accent, which to my ear sounds rather elegant. Southwestern and Western Virginia tend to have the slowest, most drawled accent - probably more of the "country" sound you're thinking of. Even so, a Virginia drawl is pretty low-key when you compare it to accents in the deep South. I think you'd be on fairly thin ice if you tried to portray a Virginian as a bumpkin - Virginians are historically viewed as the aristocrats of the South.

You might find this link useful - it's got sound files for several regional Virginia accents: http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/virginia/virginia.htm

buz
10-15-2012, 12:51 AM
Where in Virginia?

You could call him "country" if he's from a rural area I guess...

HappyWriter
10-15-2012, 01:26 AM
As a native Virginian who's lived in various parts of the state, I'd believe a character that was from Virginia and was described as a "country boy." I don't think the state as a whole has a reputation for being a country or rural state- there are a lot of areas of Virginia that would qualify, and a lot of areas that have more of a D.C. or "city" vibe.
Hope that helps! Good luck with your story!

thothguard51
10-15-2012, 01:29 AM
I can assure you that New York State has rural folks who are no less country than those in Virginia. As to bumpkins, any state can have them, depending on the persons level of education and or intelligence.

But if you are trying to portray an entire state, or county as pumpkins, you'll more than likely piss off a lot of country folks who are well educated.

As Mrmsg noted, Virginia has always been considered the aristocrats of the south, even in the rural area's. Virginians were more gentrified...

And please, don't confuse Virginians with West Virginians....

buz
10-15-2012, 01:40 AM
But if you are trying to portray an entire state, or county as pumpkins, you'll more than likely piss off a lot of country folks who are well educated.



I don't know where you live, but I grew up in a county FULL of pumpkins. Pumpkins everywhere. We used to make forts out of them and have pumpkin fights, make pumpkin trebuchets, pumpkin cannons... Some kids died from the head trauma, but it was our culture--

...I'll stop. :D

IAMWRITER
10-15-2012, 01:43 AM
To all that contributed thank you for your help (and putting up with me confusing you and myself!)

Don't worry, I'm not trying to offend people by the whole stereotype, it was just for a nickname for MC's love interest.

Lavern08
10-15-2012, 01:48 AM
Another native Virginian here. :hi:

Yankees (and I mean that in the nicest way), often think of us as "country."

Do we care?

Nope, not at all. ;)

Pup
10-15-2012, 02:17 AM
And please, don't confuse Virginians with West Virginians....

What thothguard51 said.

The stereotype of West Virginia as a country state, full of bumpkins who speak with country accents, is typical, so someone from there might get a nickname and teased about it, even if they graduated from West Virginia University and worked in downtown Charleston.

I agree with what others have said, that for Virginia, it depends more on the individual. If the person really is a typical country type, they'll show it in other ways (drive a pickup truck, like to hunt and fish, listen to country music, etc.) and might get stereotyped or teased about that, but if they're from the Richmond metro area and move north, they'd be more apt to be stereotyped, if anything, just as southerners.

Al Stevens
10-15-2012, 02:21 AM
Native Virginian. Grew up in a rural setting in a prison town 15 miles south of D.C. It's now mostly suburbs, but there are still trees. And traffic. Not many farms then or now.

I had a friend nicknamed "Country." He lived in northern Virginia (Falls Church) all his life.

Attitudes about rural vs urban folks are relative.

jallenecs
10-15-2012, 02:46 AM
I'm a Kentuckian, and a genuine "country" person, having lived my entire life on the family farm in the far eastern end of the state.

You want a state that is stereotypically considered "bumpkins," there are a number, frankly. Even today, in the 21st century, my husband is regularly harassed about his accent (West Virginia), to the point of being asked if he can read, and are the shoes he's wearing the only pair he's ever had. I have gotten the same myself from time to time, though less often than he has.

People from Iowa, Montana, Nebraska have the same sort of reputation, without the drawling accents of Southerners.

Are the reputations earned? Not so much. Iowa has one of the most highly educated populations in the country. West Virginia produced John Nash. Kentucky produced both Abraham Lincoln AND Jefferson Davis, neither of them slouches in the brains department, regardless of politics.

ETA: What's funny? When we moved to North Carolina, my husband and my brother in law both were commonly referred to as "country boys" by all the neighbors. Which struck my sister and I as terribly funny, because, to us, they were Townies.

LoopyLinde
10-15-2012, 06:14 AM
Speaking as a Virginia native: it depends, y'all.

As is the case with most states, regional accents vary from place to place within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In Northern Virginia (where I live), there's not much of a regional accent at all; the proximity to Washington, DC and Maryland is probably the reason. Southeastern Virginia has the famous Tidewater accent, which to my ear sounds rather elegant. Southwestern and Western Virginia tend to have the slowest, most drawled accent - probably more of the "country" sound you're thinking of. Even so, a Virginia drawl is pretty low-key when you compare it to accents in the deep South. I think you'd be on fairly thin ice if you tried to portray a Virginian as a bumpkin - Virginians are historically viewed as the aristocrats of the South.

This is correct. I grew up from the age of nine in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and know people who definitely think of themselves as the aristocrats of the south. ;-) There is really a lot of variety in topography, culture and accent.

There are still farms, especially farther west and south. North and East you come under the influence of DC and the farms are fewer, as is the case in general I think. Virginia has a lot of trees. I read somewhere I can't remember, that the state has more acres of woods now than since before Europeans came. You really see it in a plane.

The state is overrun with deer.

My mother's house sites on what was a woodlot on a farm originally. Across the road is what used to be a farm until the owner died and is now a small development of enormous and expensive houses. This is the fate of many farms back there nowadays.

DancingMaenid
10-15-2012, 07:32 AM
I don't think you can generalize about Virginia. The social climate and the landscape are going vary a good deal depending on what part of the state you're in. Even accents will vary. There are some rural areas and small towns, but also more populous areas.

That may or may not fit with outsiders' perceptions of Virginia. I'm not sure if people would be likely to see it as a "country" state.

Mara
10-15-2012, 07:51 AM
In general, northern Virginia is very urban and southern Virginia is very rural. They're almost like two different states. But even here in southern Virginia, it depends on whether you live in a town or "out in the sticks."

What time period is your story set in? If it's modern, then yes, Virginians do have a bit of a drawl, although younger Virginians tend to have a different type of drawl than older ones. For an example of an old drawl, see if you can find any clips of our former Congressman, Virgil Goode, talking. Many people I know pronounce his name, "Ver-gaaaaaaal Gooooooooooode," based on how he pronounced his own names in campaign commercials. Like, seriously, he spent about twice as long on each syllable as anyone else. (EDIT: Please don't judge us based on Goode, though. Seriously.)

Virginia's not the ideal stereotypical "country" state, but it does sorta fit, particularly in the central southern portion where I live.

Oh, and ethnicity can play a part in perceptions, as can clothing and such. The rural Virginians of both of the most common ethnicities are generally moving away from the country stereotype over time, though there are some hold-outs.

IAMWRITER
10-15-2012, 07:25 PM
Thanks for the additional help guys.

Much appreicated.

backslashbaby
10-16-2012, 01:44 AM
Folks from outside of the South very often hear a Southern accent and think 'country bumpkin' regardless. The person might live in a Richmond Georgian mansion, and folks will think 'hick', 'redneck' or 'country bumpkin'. It's just the way it is for Southerners.

There are a lot of farms in Virginia. There are a lot of horses. But there is also a lot of foxhunting and Equestrian medalists, etc. As a Brit, I'm sure you know how that changes things, lol.

There are also very rural areas, so he could be truly rural and work his own farm, etc.

I never know how to take it being called country. I knew country folks in the Upper South whose farms were like visiting Disneyland -- the kids didn't work them one bit, lol, and the family didn't even live close by. Lots of hayrides and catered buffet tables and wedding tents with string lighting. Ralph Lauren plaid shirts and jeans. Very country!

My dad, OTOH, was 'country' like they-slaughter-their-own-hogs country (instead of paying someone to on the farm they owned). Big difference ;)

LoopyLinde
10-16-2012, 08:49 AM
There are a lot of horses. But there is also a lot of foxhunting and Equestrian medalists, etc. As a Brit, I'm sure you know how that changes things, lol.

There are also very rural areas, so he could be truly rural and work his own farm, etc.

I never know how to take it being called country. I knew country folks in the Upper South whose farms were like visiting Disneyland -- the kids didn't work them one bit, lol, and the family didn't even live close by. Lots of hayrides and catered buffet tables and wedding tents with string lighting. Ralph Lauren plaid shirts and jeans. Very country!

My dad, OTOH, was 'country' like they-slaughter-their-own-hogs country (instead of paying someone to on the farm they owned). Big difference ;)

Yes! My mom lives in Albemarle county near Charlottesville, otherwise known as "Jefferson Country", after Thomas Jefferson, and there are many horses. People play polo.

Rowan
10-22-2012, 08:43 PM
Basically, I've got a quick question about Virginia.

Would you consider it a "country" state?

I've got a character in my WIP, that my MC nicknames "country boy" because of his accent.

I've did a little looking and I think that a Virginia accent has a drawl to it.

To anyone that knows, does it really and would you consider it a "country" state?

Or I'm I just totally wrong? (I'm wrong quite a lot of times!)

Much appreicated.

That depends on what part of VA your story is set in and/or your character comes from. I'm from and currently live in northern VA and residents here don't have "country drawl" accents. Far from it. VA is a very diverse state and I agree with others who said the northern and southern regions vary greatly when it comes to demographics, etc.

Some fun facts: Loudoun County is one of the wealthiest counties in the US and in fact, is known as "horse country" (English, mind you) by many natives and visitors alike. I believe Falls Church, VA and Fairfax County, VA rank second and third respectively. All three are in northern VA.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/04/24/americas-richest-counties/

Hope that helps!

vigeo
10-23-2012, 07:31 PM
It all depends on the character's history. What part of the state is he from? If you want to make him a "country boy" he needs to be born and raised in the southern or southwestern parts of the state or from the west or northwest mountains. Get a map and avoid the big cities. Good advice for everyone nowadays.

Kathl33n
10-29-2012, 03:07 AM
In general, northern Virginia is very urban and southern Virginia is very rural. They're almost like two different states. But even here in southern Virginia, it depends on whether you live in a town or "out in the sticks."

This!

Lived in Northern Virginia for almost 40 years.

StephanieFox
10-31-2012, 05:35 AM
I lived in Northern Virginia (with the cap letters) for six years, moving there from Iowa which is a very rural state but is highly educated. The Iowa accent is what's often referred to as standard American, the kind of accent that news announcers adopt.

Northern Virginia is part of the D.C. metro area. But not far from there, you get into rural mountains, where some people who might be described as Hillbillies live. If you want real Hillbillies, head a little further west to the state of West Virginia.

But, there I was, living in Northern Virginia, when I heard the words "THENK YEW" come out of my mouth. About a week later, I heard myself pronounce the word tire, 'tar'. It was then that I knew I had to leave. I was gone within a year.

Bufty
10-31-2012, 02:59 PM
The US is no different to here, apart from scale.

Whoever describes the character as a 'country boy' is the one who decides whether that phrase is appropriate, and to most folks 'country boy' is simply one way of indicating the person either hails from and/or lives in the country (or on a farm) instead of in a city.

Adding 'bumpkin' in place of 'boy' creates a whole different situation and is deliberately demeaning - as it would be here, too.