AUSTIN (KXAN) - Ask someone to talk in their best "Texas twang." Chances are the response might be something like "I don't have an accent" or a maybe the standard "Howdy, y'all."
Researchers at The University of Texas say the dialect is not dead, but it is fading just a bit. The reasons: immigration, urbanization and gentrification.
You will likely notice those who increasingly shun the stereotypical sounds live in larger cities and are younger than 25. The Texas accent has dropped considerably from 30 years ago, when researchers say 80 percent of people used it.
"It's not completely gone," said Lars Hinrichs, director of the Texas English Project. "Certain words and phrases just come out at certain times."
The Texas English Project began in 2008. Hinrichs and his students have studied recordings from as far back as the 1930s and compared them to modern-day interviews they have conducted in the Austin area.
"When you say, 'Nice, white rice' as "Noss whot ross," that's typically a Texas way of pronouncing those vowels," he said.
In the future, the group will expand the project beyond Central Texas to other large areas like Dallas, El Paso, Houston, as well as smaller towns like Marfa, Lockhart and Ediburg.
The goal is to better understand the social significance of language across the state and also preserve cultural heritage.
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