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North American English Dialects
September 25, 2011 10:24 PM   Subscribe

North American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns
posted by edgeways (83 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 
Double.
posted by blucevalo at 10:27 PM on September 25, 2011


bugger.. oh well
posted by edgeways at 10:31 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is much better than just the map -- clicking on it now provides you with links of youtube samples.
posted by not_on_display at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So they basically took a single sample from each region on youtube and expected that to adequately represent the whole group?
posted by TheCoyote23 at 10:33 PM on September 25, 2011


My wife comes from New Orleans, and she can't imagine "pin" and "pen" sounding the same.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:44 PM on September 25, 2011


I can never understand these maps. Or, rather, I can understand printed versions of these completely impenetrable maps in a world where large-format color printing is expensive and complicated.

But impenetrable, headache-inducing maps online? Makes no sense. This map presents data points and proposed boundaries for dozens of isoglosses. Why not present it as a series of maps, or — better yet — as an overlay map that allows the user to selectively combine multiple layers? Maybe link phonetic features with the appropriate sound clips and draw the user's attention to the speaker's particular vowel contrasts or whatever. As is, this monstrous thing represents the place where information goes to die.
posted by Nomyte at 10:45 PM on September 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


i agree with not_on_display - there's a lot more to this than the original
posted by camdan at 10:48 PM on September 25, 2011


Reading that map makes the baby Jesus cry...
posted by Windopaene at 10:49 PM on September 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree that the map and the table seems to be weird last-century ways of representing data and I smiled when I saw everyone arguing that the Vermonter accents aren't "real" but there's a lot of fun stuff to look at here.
posted by jessamyn at 11:04 PM on September 25, 2011


Someone at work kept asking me for a "pin", and I had no idea what it was they were talking about. Why did they need a pin? After a while, they made a writing motion with their hand, and I said, "Oh! You want a pen". I, obviously, wasn't aware that people pronounced "pen" as "pin". I figured they probably weren't "from around here" ([Southern] California), because I had never heard that before. Anyway, yeah, I had a pen on me.

Something that always annoyed the hell out of me was my step-father (I think he's from Pennsylvania or something) pronouncing "roof" as "ruff". What's up with that?
posted by Redfield at 11:32 PM on September 25, 2011


I guess this has one redeeming quality: it could be instructive material in a data visualization class. DON'T DO THIS.
posted by stroke_count at 12:36 AM on September 26, 2011


Help! The Systematic R-Droppers are trying to take over my state!
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's interesting to me isn't the leeching of words between countries. (That's all countries BTW, not just US and UK), it's the fact that the main passing point for me is the internet, and this is also contributing to our vocabularies. Add to this the fact that words are still being created in all countries, and you've got a marvellous thing indeed.

So, you've got snowclones like {x} ALL THE {y} currently going mainstream. That is awesome. And then you've got words like "bear" (meaning very/big/lots/many) still on my side of the pond.

God only knows how we'll be speaking ten years from now.
posted by seanyboy at 12:51 AM on September 26, 2011


It looks like "bear" is more commonly spelt "bare". Which makes a bit more sense.
posted by seanyboy at 12:52 AM on September 26, 2011


Which in turn appears to be 10+ years old and of AfroCaribbean origin. I feel so old.
posted by seanyboy at 12:58 AM on September 26, 2011


Wait, I haven't heard that one... could you use it in a sentence?
posted by XMLicious at 1:02 AM on September 26, 2011


I posted all these comments in the wrong thread didn't I?
posted by seanyboy at 1:04 AM on September 26, 2011


I'm bare embarrased.
posted by seanyboy at 1:05 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is bizarre to me to place Houston within a "southern" dialect, as it is such a transitory town that while, yes, people speak with that dialect around it, that dialect gets mocked in there. But even more bizarre is separating Houston from Galveston by dialect. Which, frankly, makes no damn sense at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:13 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I am really happy that this map points out the weird-ass accent that distinguishes the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

This is the accent I grew up speaking. I was born in Morehead City, NC, and my mother's family is from a small town that lies on the sound called Otway. The Down East accent is really hard to describe, but it sounds like a strange mishmash of an Irish brogue and a Southern accent.

Pretty much everyone on my mom's side of the family talks this way.

The distinctive marker of the Down East accent is the phrase "hoi toide." That's right, "high tide." I still hear it when my mother remarks that a man is "toll," or asks for a glass of "wuter." My grandfather used to tell his children to "heysh" when he wanted them to be quiet. Once, we were watching his cat play with a ball, and he said to me with a wink, "She's having a toime, isn't she?"

I used to have this accent. It's ebbed quite a bit over the years, and it only comes back when I visit my folks Down East. But I still have a recording of a community theater production of a "Midsummer's Night's Dream" that I did as a teenager. I played Helena, and my castmates used to poke fun of me for the way I said "Loisander."

Once, when I was at college, a guy who went to N.C. State showed up at an impromptu party in my friend's dorm room, and the second I heard him speak, I asked him where he was from.

"Harkers Island," he replied. Five miles down the road from Otway, cross a bridge.

I asked him his name, and when he told it to me, I instantly knew that we were, at the very least, second cousins.

Just because of way he rounded his vowels.

It's kind of sad that I lost my accent over the years. My best friend once told me that during our freshman year at college, people would constantly ask her about me. "Where is she from??" they'd say.

Nowadays, it only comes out when I go home. Before I know it, my mom's asking me what I want for breakfast, and I'm replying, "I reckon Oi'll have some grits."
posted by duvatney at 1:26 AM on September 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


Man, I feel like I'm betraying my city because my "on" rhymes with my "dawn"...
posted by clorox at 1:40 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Atlanta. When people try to guess where I'm from, for some reason people tell me that I sound like I'm from Connecticut, and I've never understood that. The way I explain it is that Atlanta has less of a southern patois than the rest of the surrounding area due to the large number of implants we have here, but I really don't know. Pin ≠ pen, "on" rhymes with "dawn" and "don," blah blah.

Anyway, this really is a monster of a site. His passion is clearly the dialects and is clearly not design, and as such I can't find it in me to fault him for his lack of design skill and his abundance of meaningful data; dialects are his babies and maps aren't, just as maps are my babies and dialects often baffle me. In any case, there are a lot of users here with a wide variety of skills and passions, so I'm pretty sure there's someone out there that's a GIS nerd (for this would be a fabulous application of GIS) that also has at least a basic understanding of the data Mr. Aschmann is trying to get across ... that also, I suppose, has the time and inclination to put together a more readable - perhaps interactive - map sometime (with his knowledge, natch).
posted by neewom at 2:06 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


....Look at that tiny little segment for "Eastern North." (grins)

My speech classes in drama school focused on helping everyone get over their regional dialects and adopt the "Standard American Accent", which is the one dialect that gets used for all stage/films as the default unless you are intentionally playing "Southern" or "New England" or whatever. My teacher claimed, however, that "Standard American" was based on the way people in Connecticut talk, "because there really isn't much of a dialect there, it's just sort of bland and basic".

It made it easy for me, because I'm already FROM Connecticut and so I could just focus on things like articulation and breath control while everyone else was also trying to focus on shedding their Boston or Texas accents, but I still felt a little bummed that Connecticut was supposedly so....nothing. So this makes me just want to point it out to people and say "Yay! We DO have a distinct dialect! We DO!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:07 AM on September 26, 2011


Somewhere George Hibbett is Smiling.
posted by spitbull at 4:35 AM on September 26, 2011


I've run into locals here in Western PA who have accents as impenetrable as an episode of Eastenders. Even after thirty years in this state, it still sounds bizarre to me.
posted by octothorpe at 4:45 AM on September 26, 2011


I've run into locals here in Western PA who have accents as impenetrable as an episode of Eastenders. Even after thirty years in this state, it still sounds bizarre to me.

Santa Claus is Goin' Dahtahn
posted by stargell at 5:33 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Thank you.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:53 AM on September 26, 2011


I'm a little disappointed that the Philly area links don't all just go to Philly Boy Roy.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 5:56 AM on September 26, 2011


I've seen the map before, but this second viewing led me to the perfect remedy for homesickness, so.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:40 AM on September 26, 2011


My speech patterns are bizarre. I grew up near Chicago, but most of my speech patterns come from my mother, who developed hers in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. I think my speech is perfectly normal, but my friends believe I don't pronounce "ing" properly. They find it difficult to differentiate between my "king" and my "kin".

I've lived in Boston for five years now, and I have no idea what these people are saying. For some reason I lack the ability to understand a Boston accent. Seriously. I have had to ask other people for assistance in translating between me and another English speaker at times because I cannot understand that accent. I thought over time I'd get used to it, but I just haven't. It's bizarre and somewhat amazing.
posted by clockbound at 6:48 AM on September 26, 2011


As a speaker of Irish-American decent, myself a former resident of working class suburban Boston, rural Connecticut, upper-ish class Connecticut, and California, let me just say this.

For the last time, I am not Canadian!
posted by zippy at 7:42 AM on September 26, 2011


(Whale oil be ...Irish-American decent ... manners, yeah, that's what I meant.)
posted by zippy at 7:44 AM on September 26, 2011


Born and raised in the South (Florida) and currently living in Texas, I have an honest question here: in what universe are "pin" and "pen" pronounced differently?

Even when I had a my Fort Lauderdale "The South meets the West Indies" accent back in my youth, and we said things like "Do you have a pee-in I kin borra?" it was the same pronunciation for both words, and you had to either attach an adjective or accompany it with a gesture to make clear whether you needed the writing or the sewing item.

So how are the two supposed to be pronounced?
posted by lord_wolf at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2011


So how are the two supposed to be pronounced?

I doubt you pronounce the words "pit" and "pet" the same way, so that might be helpful?
posted by hanoixan at 8:10 AM on September 26, 2011


Maryland to Texas to Mexico to The Dominican Republic to Ecuador to Indiana to Florida to Georgia to New York.

People tell me I have an accent, although I don't hear it. They say it's cute, funny, different, odd. But in my own head, I just hear standard English.

Then they ask where its from and I just sigh.

Sigh.
posted by functionequalsform at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2011


The pin/pen divide rhymes with din and den. Or gin and then. Fin and ten. If all of those sound alike I have no idea what to tell you.

This map completely validates my screwed-up speech, for what little that's worth. I've got the west-central Florida 'General American' accent, which is for sounding polite and vaguely competent. I picked up the Manhattan/North Jersey speech patterns from my family, and I lurch into that when I'm angry. I learned the central-north Florida Cracker accent by osmosis, and that's for comfort and tiredness. (Tired and angry is a funny mix.) It all maps pretty neatly into different situations or emotions, and most of the time I make sense.

The thing that screws me up: Estonian was my grandmother's first language. My great-aunts and uncles, too. I only know how to swear, but I was around that accent so much that I automatically use Estonian pronunciation when I attempt non-English words. That mixes really badly with Spanish (does J mean Y or H), and I haven't yet been able to shake it.
posted by cmyk at 8:17 AM on September 26, 2011


Wow. Great map!

It's always pretty funny to hear my relatives (in Illinois) say "warsh", as in warsh the clothes. I dropped the "r" when I started hanging out with a friend from East Coast years prior.

Moving to N. Carolina from Illinois, I was asking for directions to look at an apartment and the lady on the phone says, "...then you'll take a right on Heel Road".

I confirmed, "Ok, take the right on Heel Road, H-E-E-L?"

And she replies, "No, Heel Road - H-I-L-L."
posted by foxhat10 at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2011


He's missing a lot of data out West looks like.

For one, a lot of long-time native Oregonians have a distinctive, almost Midwestern accent.
It's almost one of those "I don't have an accent" situations, where people don't even notice it, but it's there.

In California as well, there is a divide between Northern and Southern speakers, though honestly, I'm not sure I could really describe it.

But impressive work nonetheless, I wonder how it stacks up to the academic research on the subject.
posted by madajb at 8:46 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up in NC, and I had a (pretty smart) friend who even spelled it "pin" instead of "pen."

Are there people who will listen to you speak and identify your accent? Serious question. I sometimes find myself sounding twangy, and sometimes a little bit of Fargo creeps in there for reasons unknown. I think I just talk funny.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:47 AM on September 26, 2011


Welcome to Nerkahia.

Just east of Clumbiss, of course.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:58 AM on September 26, 2011


Nowadays, it only comes out when I go home. Before I know it, my mom's asking me what I want for breakfast, and I'm replying, "I reckon Oi'll have some grits."

My yankee wife makes fun of my for the one. I have very little trace of a Southern accent...right up until I call my parents and then it's all: "I reckon we might could move that weekend if y'all bring the truuuuck."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:01 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, forgot to mention: Nerkahia is the home planet of Brak (but not Braque).
 
posted by Herodios at 9:05 AM on September 26, 2011


I doubt you pronounce the words "pit" and "pet" the same way, so that might be helpful?

IANAL, but it seems to me that something about the "t" at the end of those words modifies the vowels differently than an "n" at the end does. That said, there's probably not as big a difference between "pet" and "pit" for us "pin=pen" folks as there is for you damn furriners. ;-)

And, yes, din/den, gin/then, ten/fin are all the same to me.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:06 AM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I grew up in NC, and I had a (pretty smart) friend who even spelled it "pin" instead of "pen."

My mother was an elementary school teacher/administrator in North Carolina for over 30 years, including some time in some really rural places, places like Randleman (most famous for housing the Richard Petty Museum) and Smyrna(if Smyrna is famous for anything at all, let me know).

Anyway, at some point (I think when she was in Randolph County) she had a kid write a long and pretty good story about his weekend, which mainly featured his father getting a "flat tar," the word was spelled "tar" throughout.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:10 AM on September 26, 2011


It's always pretty funny to hear my relatives (in Illinois) say "warsh", as in warsh the clothes. I dropped the "r" when I started hanging out with a friend from East Coast years prior.

That would be central/southern Illinois, I take it? Because anywhere in Chicagoland/Rockford, you sure won't hear that (from a native, anyway.)
posted by me3dia at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back in my days as a news cameraman, one of my assignments was a weekly 'interesting person in the Hudson Valley (NY) profile'. There happened to be a dude living in Castle Point VA Hospital (near Fishkill) who was one of the last American WWI vets. This was early 90s so no idea if he's still alive.

Anyhoo...the guy was born in New Hampshire. My grandfather was born in Newburyport, MA on the border of NH and had an amazing accent. For example oil = earl. This veteran guy though..I could NOT understand a word he was saying. Honestly. I had never ever heard an accent like that and I'm pretty sure it died (will die) with him. I love accents and this was one of my favorite interviews. I wish I still had the beta tape (LOLBETA!)
posted by spicynuts at 9:14 AM on September 26, 2011


I've lived on the East Coast, Chicago, and in California and everybody has always had the same damn General American accent as me despite my homes spanning a distance of 2500 miles. I think there is some sort of accent conspiracy in Hollywood where they pretend people speak differently across the USA but, really, they don't.
posted by Justinian at 9:30 AM on September 26, 2011


(note: okay, not Chicago. Evanston. Yes, not the same.)
posted by Justinian at 9:30 AM on September 26, 2011


The map needs more detail for Canada. Even in Ontario, there are clear linguistic distinctions between southern cities like Toronto, and more northern regions.



Also the gitch/gotch/gonch divide needs to be more clearly deliniated.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:42 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree completely. Any map that has Southern Ontario and Vancouver having the same accent is a little lacking...

Don't forget about the milk/melk line as well.
posted by sauril at 10:02 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Atlanta is a large city with a mix of many different ethnic groups and nationalities...African Americans, Hispanics, Whites, Jews, just to name a few..Folks who are Old South with that gentile, slow dialect, folks with the redneck 'twang', transplants from all over the world with hundreds of contributions to the overall dialect of my fair city....


And Jerry Reed is the example?


and it's been removed!
posted by pearlybob at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


That could use some graphic design help to be easier to understand
posted by joelf at 10:47 AM on September 26, 2011


gitch/gotch/gonch

milk/melk


past-a/pa-sta
posted by Sys Rq at 10:48 AM on September 26, 2011


I think there is some sort of accent conspiracy in Hollywood where they pretend people speak differently across the USA but, really, they don't.

Really? Because I've lived in:

Michigan
Massachusetts
California North
California South
Colorado
Various regions of Upstate NY
New York City
Florida

And not only did everyone notice my accent, I noticed theirs. My girlfriend is from Baltimore and she has a midlands accent. I can tell a California born/raised person in an instant. Same with midwestern. So, I don't think it's a Hollywood conspiracy.
posted by spicynuts at 10:52 AM on September 26, 2011


Chimbley - as in Santa came down the chimbley. Who puts the "B" in chimney?
posted by warbaby at 10:53 AM on September 26, 2011


When I read children's books at library programmes it amazes me how often the rhyming text of American books suddenly doesn't rhyme with my mild Canadian accent. When I am in upper NY, I love to hear them apologise. Sorry (sari) sounds so cute in an American accent!
posted by saucysault at 11:20 AM on September 26, 2011


Northern California, born & raised and I'm honestly baffled by the pin = pen thing. However, I don't hear a distinction between don/dawn I remember being asked a few times if I was an Okie because of the way I said warsh instead of wash. My mom used to say it that way, but she was a 2nd or 3rd generation Los Angelina.
posted by gofargogo at 11:24 AM on September 26, 2011


Who puts the "L" in chimney?
posted by stopgap at 11:25 AM on September 26, 2011


The one that grates on me the most is reversing the "A" vowel sounds in bag and bagel. This would be Minnesota-ish, but not universal there.
posted by stopgap at 11:27 AM on September 26, 2011


I'm pretty sure there is significant overlap between baggle and melk.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2011


And any Canadians that want to see their dialect represented on the map should do a response video to CBC Spark host Nora Young. She interviewed him back in March and I see at least one other Canadian mefite has contributed.
posted by saucysault at 11:59 AM on September 26, 2011


Even though I've lived in the same region of California for all my life, I seem to speak in accent all my own, mixed of mumbling and speaking too fast, plus odd phrases I've heard elsewhere. I once said "uf-da!" out loud but to my self, and a college prof asked if I was from Minnesota. I had to tell him I just liked how it sounded. Like accidente in Italian, it has a good sound.

Now I can track down a history for myself.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on September 26, 2011


think there is some sort of accent conspiracy in Hollywood where they pretend people speak differently across the USA but, really, they don't.

That's probably a joke, because seriously there is some pretty damn big differences depending on where you're at and who you are speaking with. I've lived in the NE of Canada, the SE of the US and the Upper Midwest of the US and there are dramatic differences. Hell, just listen to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
posted by edgeways at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2011


Hell, just listen to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Or George Bush and George W. Bush, for that matter.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on September 26, 2011


gofargogo, as a Northern Californian, do you hear the difference when a SoCal person says the word 'both' (often as 'bolth')? Just curious.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:22 PM on September 26, 2011


It's always pretty funny to hear my relatives (in Illinois) say "warsh", as in warsh the clothes. I dropped the "r" when I started hanging out with a friend from East Coast years prior.

me3dia - That would be central/southern Illinois, I take it? Because anywhere in Chicagoland/Rockford, you sure won't hear that (from a native, anyway.)


Yes, that would be central Illinois - by Peoria.
posted by foxhat10 at 1:04 PM on September 26, 2011


Needs more Canadian detail. There are subtle differences, but these sound different to me:
- The prairie rural accent (Sask and Alberta at least)
- The west-of-Ontario accent
- Ontario
- Niagara
- Don McKellar (I'm not 100% kidding, I know a handful of people from Toronto who sound like this)

People who know Ontario better might even subdivide it further.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:45 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


iamkimiam: totally. But I didn't realize it was a SoCal thing, but now that you mentioned many of my former coworkers based in LA said 'bolth'.
posted by gofargogo at 1:53 PM on September 26, 2011


- Don McKellar (I'm not 100% kidding, I know a handful of people from Toronto who sound like this)

Ha! Totally. I'd call that Canadian Theatre Standard.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:54 PM on September 26, 2011


Many dialects have l-insertion in that phonological context. For me personally, I notice it as one of the main differences between the NorCal and SoCal dialects. Also, SoCal tends to have utterance final raising intonation, where NorCal seems to do more of a raise, then a plateau (I think it's technically called mid-raise or mid-rising intonation, I don't know). It's funny though, now that I live in England, I notice subtleties in American dialects with scary-heightened acuity...things I never noticed before are super salient. But it's a rather useless superpower here in the UK, as I can seem to apply that skill to any of the 100+ dialects I hear around me every day.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2011


I like that yinz put a circle around Pittsburgh.
posted by eegphalanges at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want to be a television news anchor, go to broadcast journalism school in Iowa. Then you're sure to get a job because everyone can understand you.
posted by erstwhile at 3:18 PM on September 26, 2011


One of my favorite bundles of linguistics articles ever is Barbara Johnstone's work on "Pittsburghese". Here's a Carnegie Mellon lecture by her about this (and US dialect variation in general) on YouTube. The articles delve into how features of the 'Pittsburgh diaspora' have become enregistered (recognized as particular to and indexical of a particular social group) and commodified, now having social capital and used by both insiders and outsiders to do social 'work' (social positioning, identity construction, alignment). If you're interested in reading more about this, I'd recommend starting with this article (free): Pittsburghese shirts: Commodification and the enregisterment of an urban dialect.

I personally find it interesting to learn more about the stories and processes involved in dialect variation and evolution...it helps put a giant map like this in context. Specifically, the context of what it is we are actually doing when we open our mouths and say stuff, beyond the literal message of it all.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:23 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't get the clips to play here at work. Can somebody please tell me the difference in pronunciation between "dawn" and "don"?

And I love accents and am fascinated by them, but I never realized that not everybody pronounces "both" as "bolth." Who knew there was a SoCal accent? (I'm originally from Antioch.)
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 3:59 PM on September 26, 2011


I can't get the clips to play here at work. Can somebody please tell me the difference in pronunciation between "dawn" and "don"?

Don is dahn and Dawn is doh-un. Classic hot dog, that.

Then there's Harry. Harry is not hairy, he's hah-ree.

I'm Canadian, so I don't talk like that.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:52 PM on September 26, 2011


If you want to be a television news anchor, go to broadcast journalism school in Iowa. Then you're sure to get a job because everyone can understand you.

I had a linguistics professor say once that essentially the dialect heard on nearly every national news show, is what is spoken from about the Twin Cities down to Des Moines
posted by edgeways at 5:12 PM on September 26, 2011


I had a linguistics professor say once that essentially the dialect heard on nearly every national news show, is what is spoken from about the Twin Cities down to Des Moines

I've heard people say that, but I've met people from Minneapolis and they don't sound much like news anchors. I met someone from Chicago who claimed that about her accent and it was even less true.

I would say west coast is closer: northern California, western Oregon, western Washington. But I don't have a perfect ear for these things, so I could be wrong. Also there could be a received pronunciation that people who relocate to the coast have. And I've never been to or heard anyone from Iowa.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:33 PM on September 26, 2011


American news accent is essentially neutralised Canadian. (You know Kent Brockman from The Simpsons? Compare Lloyd Robertson.) Peter Jennings probably had something to do with solidifying it, but it goes all the way back to Edward R. Murrow; he was from northern Washington state.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:57 PM on September 26, 2011


re: American newsreader accents- I've heard that bit about it being Minnesotan- I think Laurie Anderson does a bit about it (somewhere) in United States. And I can kind of buy it- people who grew up in the Twin Cities tend to have pretty much no detectable accent, to my ears. But going even 10 or 15 miles in any direction, maybe into the 2nd-ring suburbs, gets you into the edge of the whole Canadian/Minnesotan thing.

On the other hand, I mostly grew up in Arizona, and heard it about there too- that Arizonan was a sort of generic, accentless American English and therefore a model for the network news dudes. Which kind of makes sense- hell, there haven't been more than a few thousand people there, since the 1950's, and presumably it takes a few people, for a while, to actually even come up with a way to talk.

Meanwhile, I've been living in Austin TX for about a year and a half, and have met about 6 people w/ accents, and none of them are from here. Apparently it's a generational thing, or maybe it's just urban- as w/ Houston mentioned above, dropping- or never picking up - the accent differentiates one from the country folk. It's too bad- I was kind of hoping to pick one up, but I guess I can't really do it here.
posted by hap_hazard at 7:17 PM on September 26, 2011


Sys Rq: "American news accent is essentially neutralised Canadian. (You know Kent Brockman from The Simpsons? Compare Lloyd Robertson .) Peter Jennings probably had something to do with solidifying it, but it goes all the way back to Edward R. Murrow; he was from northern Washington state."



Nah - it really, really isn't. The original "American News Reader was Western midland North Neb, Ia, Wisc.) with a strong German influence and done at a Texas pace. Read Cronkite's, Rather's, Lehrer's (Eisenhower's) bios. (Sevareid talked slowly without doing time in Texas.) This has become less prominent in the last twenty years, Fox likes southern accents, others western, but it is still what the majority of readers aim for (there was an earlier, and totally fake accent, used in news reals, but I can't find the link.).

The only way to distinguish pin and pen in speech is start saying pit or pet and then change to an alveolar nasal for the last phoneme at the last second. This is what everyone does, some just won't admit it. However, how anyone can confuse don/dawn or cot/caught or father/further is beyond me, and the r droppers that dump r between two vowels, what's with that; I think those people must just be a bunch of ilbred, illiterate hicks since they don't talk like I do.
posted by Webnym at 7:33 PM on September 26, 2011


I see mayor Don Ness had grabbed the position as the Voice of True Duluth.

Clever play Donny. Clever Play.
posted by Winnemac at 9:34 PM on September 26, 2011


Who puts the "L" in chimney?

Some Newfoundlanders say "Chimley"

I've always been struck by the western Canadian "A". "Get in the van, man" would sound quite different depending if you heard it in the east or west. For bonus Albertan speach check our "FUBAR".
posted by beau jackson at 10:46 AM on September 27, 2011


Are you a Duluthian Winnemac? (I am)
posted by edgeways at 10:57 AM on September 27, 2011


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