I realized after taking yesterday's quiz on speaking Southern or Northern that I have become bilingual, and as such, have lost my ability to know what I would "normally" say.
It's not the case for all words: I do not say nor have I ever said aunt so that it rhymes with ain't although I have relatives who do. Seriously. But I do have an issue with pajamas--I always pronounced in so it rhymes with "job" until we bought one of the Sandra Boynton books Pajama Time, which riffs on dancing in one's pajamas to a musical jam. It's the first time I've made myself mispronounce that word and I've been confused ever since. Do I normally say pa-JAAAAH-ma or pa-JAAAM-a.
I like to think that I can pass for Northern on occassion, as long as that occassion does not involve pronouncing umbrella or cement or talking about driving straight or wearing a tobggan on my head because all of those words have outed me as Southern at one time or another.
I like being Southern and I like my Southern roots, but I don't like that when people listening to me speak get whiplash when they turn to gape at me with slack jaws when I say some odd word or another.
And pronouncing words weird always make me wonder whether my weirdness comes from being Southern or from my family: was my particular mispronunciation a Southern one (pa-JAAAH-ma) or a family one (like jergle--a great word for when you shiver unexplainably). When I first moved away, I spent a lot of my family trips back in the south asking people "If I said to you that I had a straight drive, what would you think I meant?"
Fortunately, it reassured me that my family is not (unusually) nutty; it was a Southern thing.