My Southern accent and dialect has changed alot since I've lived up here in Maryland for almost ten years. Even so, I still have an occasional person misunderstand me because of the way I speak! The other day at my job, I had just completed extensive research for this rather abrupt customer by telephone. I had located a quote for him that started out with the word "Yonder". He kept thinking I was saying "under" because I pronounce it "Yunder". When he finally understood the word he said, "You mean yawnder! It's pronounced yawnder!" I wasn't going to argue with him. :-)
Another customer who called was talking so super fast that I couldn't take in her question. I kept having to ask her to repeat herself. At the end of our conversation she exasperatedly asked "Why are you talking so slow?!" I wanted to ask her why she was speaking so fast!! I sometimes "wunder" what a customer pictures on the other end of the phone line!
Mind you, these incidents only happen occasionally now. When I FlRST started working here years ago, it happened almost every day. Unfortunately some people seem to equate a Southern drawl with ignorance. I don't understand why. The worst incident that I had to deal with was a man questioning my education because of the way I talked!!
It's all very fascinating, isn't it? To be fair, I have had many many people compliment me on my accent. One customer from another country had never heard a Southern accent before and she was very curious about my accent and said that she loved it.
Personally, I love hearing accents from different places. Once I watched a movie about this topic in school... American Dialects was the title, I think.