What is Mickey Mantle's accent?
July 16, 2021 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Mickey Mantle sounds just like one side of my family sounded like. It was an older generation born about 10-15 years before him, but they said words like "Detroit," much like he did along with the same cadence. Is there a name for this accent?

They also were either from Missouri, Kansas or Oklahoma... all places Mickey Mantle was associated with. My grandfather grew up on a dairy farm and I believe they had relatives in upstate New York but I definitely detected a bit of a twang that Mickey Mantle also has, not an upstate New York accent. I do not hear people speak like that anymore. It is old timey, but not quite and Southern but not quite. Do people still speak like this? I have no accent, and none of my friends have accents. I'm fairly certain this accent died off after the WWII generation began to pass away. I can help provide more details if needed.
posted by geoff. to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: That is a pretty old-school Okie accent AKA, South Midland accent.
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posted by oflinkey at 6:55 PM on July 16, 2021 [8 favorites]

I have a few older coworkers in Amarillo TX who have a similar accent and drawl, so even though I have super limited exposure to Oklahomans, that seems about right.
posted by phunniemee at 7:11 PM on July 16, 2021

Best answer: Mantle (1931-1995) was the Commerce Comet; Commerce, in the NE corner of Oklahoma, is now part of the Joplin, Missouri metro area. Seconding oflinkey for South Midland, a sub-region of the Midland American English regional dialect.

South Midland (17): American English has retained more elements of the Elizabethan English spoken in the time of Shakespeare than modern British English has, and this region has retained the most. Some Elizabethan words that are now less common in England are: bub, cross-purposes, fall (autumn), flapjack, greenhorn, guess (suppose), homely, homespun, jeans, loophole, molasses, peek, ragamuffin, reckon, sorry (inferior), trash, well (healthy). - Dialect Map of American English. Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2013 article, archived link: What dialect do you speak? A map of American English.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:52 PM on July 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: He sounds exactly like my grandpa’s WWII friend, who was a Watermelon Farmer from Oklahoma. I would just say it’s an Oklahoma accent mixed with whatever accent people had who grew up around the same time period.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 8:54 PM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

He sounds just like the older family members of a friend of mine. They are from coal country in PA.
posted by james33 at 2:28 AM on July 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Okie here from the same region as Mantle. I can tell you this accent is not dead. Just spend some time in rural NE Oklahoma!
posted by uncannyslacks at 8:56 AM on July 17, 2021

I clicked into this question because of the Detroit pronunciation mention. My 83 year old father, a native New Yorker, says it exactly the same way, and I've always assumed it had something to do with him being born in 1938.
posted by jacquilinala at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2021

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