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The English Language In 24 Accents
October 1, 2010 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Twenty-four different accents in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT)
posted by gman (82 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Using the phone and labeling everything made this much more watchable than I usually find accent videos. I especially liked Nigerian.
posted by Danila at 2:40 PM on October 1, 2010


US American - General Accent if you're USian and want to judge by something you know. It's charming that he has the American talking about "taking the piss". This guy is great with accents.
posted by Nelson at 2:42 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this proves that all foreigners are angry.
posted by mrnutty at 2:43 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who you calling foreigner, foreigner?
posted by gman at 2:45 PM on October 1, 2010


At least one of the accents he did has to be a foreign accent to you! And they're all angry!
posted by mrnutty at 2:52 PM on October 1, 2010


I will never understand the Australian accent. I couldn't reproduce the way they say "No" if my life depended on it.

That said, there's nothing hotter than a woman with an Australian accent.
posted by toekneebullard at 2:56 PM on October 1, 2010


His US- general accent is spot on, his southern accent needs work. Really good all round.
posted by nola at 2:57 PM on October 1, 2010


The kid is very good, but a bit shaky here and there. The Jamaican one needs a lot more work and I think I can do a better Aussie one, and I'm crap with accents. The Russian, Manc and London ones were spot on, though.

Wonder why he didn't do Geordie?
posted by Decani at 2:59 PM on October 1, 2010


They're all angry except for the French one, which is exceedingly polite.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:03 PM on October 1, 2010


I haven't even watched it yet an I know it can't be as bad as that Amy Walker one.
posted by kersplunk at 3:05 PM on October 1, 2010


What nola said.

I can't really do a Russian accent, but hung out with a group of Russian kids in college and started doing the "chyello!" thing to make them laugh, and then later to make my other non-Russian friends laugh. To this day there's people for whom I always answer the phone like a Bond villain.
posted by penduluum at 3:06 PM on October 1, 2010


the American accent sounds like an English person doing an American accent. It's so close yet slightly exaggerated.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


This strikes me as an audition tape to do voices on Grand Theft Auto 5.
posted by Adam_S at 3:29 PM on October 1, 2010


The southern US one isn't that great. Seems like he's watched a lot of movies, which often do a poor job with southern accents, which are extremely varied anyway.
posted by ghharr at 3:37 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good stuff, but not surprised that the Chinese accent (more specifically, Cantonese) was kind of weak. It's a hard one to pull off. I'd really like to see people master doing the Mandarin Chinese accent, which is quite a bit different and not something I've seen depicted much (yet).
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:37 PM on October 1, 2010


He's pretty good. Some of them miss a few nuances and I though the Manc one was well off.

Wonder why he didn't do Geordie?

Geordie is notoriously difficult. I can just about pull it off as my family came from Tyneside.

Anyway he's got some way to go before he matches The Master
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:49 PM on October 1, 2010


Some of them aren't as good as others, but he does a very good job for his age. With an ear that attuned to dialects and cadence, I'm not surprised he's painfully aware of where he's lacking.

Wish I could do that. I find the South African accent delightful in the extreme (mostly because of my complete inability to mimic it).
posted by flippant at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "New York" one occasionally slips into cartoon-1920s-Chicago-gangster's-henchman. (This is a problem I have noticed many times before among Brits.) And when it does sound like New York, it's all over the damn place.

Dear UKoGBian actors, NYC has a lot of very distinct variation in its accents; after all, its population is roughly equivalent to that of half of the entire UK, and is far more ethnically diverse. Try harder.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Nigerian accent rocks. Love this little rascal.
posted by nickyskye at 4:11 PM on October 1, 2010


The "New York" one occasionally slips into cartoon-1920s-Chicago-gangster's-henchman.

if you want the best great-yet-inaccurate 20's American accents, find the episodes of 'Jeeves & Wooster' where they're in the US. Especially the high-pitched secretary.
posted by GuyZero at 4:17 PM on October 1, 2010


Dear UKoGBian actors, NYC has a lot of very distinct variation in its accents; after all, its population is roughly equivalent to that of half of the entire UK, and is far more ethnically diverse. Try harder.

Sorry, it's just that what with out country having that one upper class Queens English accent that you Americans nail so well every single time you play British characters, we just get a little intimidated...
posted by emperor.seamus at 4:29 PM on October 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Disclaimer: I'm just joshin' ya. I couldn't do a New York accent if my life depended on it.
posted by emperor.seamus at 4:30 PM on October 1, 2010


That was much more impressive and entertaining than I thought it would be, thanks!
posted by amyms at 4:31 PM on October 1, 2010


Sorry, it's just that what with out country having that one upper class Queens English accent that you Americans nail so well every single time you play British characters,

Wait, you all don't really sound like Brad Pitt in Snatch?
posted by madajb at 4:36 PM on October 1, 2010


Really impressive, in my opinion. Really, he's a young kid doing this on his own. Well done.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 4:37 PM on October 1, 2010


As someone who dabbles in improv, let me just say that this talent is:

(1) incredibly useful; and
(2) I don't have it.

Immensely jealous.
posted by eugenen at 4:38 PM on October 1, 2010


Wait, you all don't really sound like Brad Pitt in Snatch?

Nah, he was just doing his own thing there.
posted by emperor.seamus at 4:42 PM on October 1, 2010


Please stop doing this.

Please stop doing that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:50 PM on October 1, 2010


Sorry, it's just that what with out country having that one upper class Queens English accent that you Americans nail so well every single time you play British characters,

Hey, now! We're more skilled than that, surely!

(Don't call me Shirley American.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:52 PM on October 1, 2010


Ooh--Vaguely on-topic: What's Fenchurch's accent (from the posthumous H2G2 radio plays)? It's really distinctive, and very 'english' but I don't associate it with a particular area.

I ask, because I would like to move to that particular area.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:58 PM on October 1, 2010


I am pretty sure he learned his southern accent from True Blood.
posted by floam at 5:05 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear UKoGBian actors, NYC has a lot of very distinct variation in its accents;

It does, you're right. But, he did specify that he was imitating an accent common among Italian American New Yorkers, and I (an Italian-American from the Bronx) think he sounds damn close to most of the mooks I grew up with. Maybe a touch exaggerated, but he doesn't do badly at all.

after all, its population is roughly equivalent to that of half of the entire UK, and

Huh?
UK Population: 61 Million
NYC Population: 8 Million

is far more ethnically diverse.

I just don't know where this part is coming from. London is as richly diverse as New York, if not more so.
posted by deadmessenger at 5:05 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm in Alabama. While his southern accent is over the top and stereotypical, I know some folks who sound just like that. Poor bastards.
posted by robstercraw at 5:13 PM on October 1, 2010


Huh?
UK Population: 61 Million
NYC Population: 8 Million


Try the metro pop: 22 million. Close enough. Pretend I said "a third" if it really matters.

London is as richly diverse as New York, if not more so.

London != the entire UK, which is still very, very white, no matter what the BNP would have you believe. And besides, I was talking about accents. New York's many accents were borne out of its ethnic diversity, whereas Britain's were mostly the result of geographic and economic isolation.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:16 PM on October 1, 2010


Wow, people who speak English sure do say 'fuck' a lot.
posted by bwg at 5:19 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know about the accuracy of his British accents, but I had to stop at the "general American" accent because it was just... off. And not just the slang. It just didn't sound "right." Too nasal, I think.

His US- general accent is spot on

You and I obviously live planets with a different understanding of the general US accent. That's cool. I'm sure yours is a very happy planet.
posted by sonika at 5:22 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nah, he was just doing his own thing there.

Huh, next you're going to tell me you don't all wear bowler hats and carry umbrellas.
posted by madajb at 6:14 PM on October 1, 2010


I had to stop at the "general American" accent because it was just... off. And not just the slang. It just didn't sound "right." Too nasal, I think.

I think he was probably influenced by the concept of a "general American" accent as a nasally, bland midwestern newcaster accent. From Wikipedia: The General American accent is most closely related to a generalized Midwestern accent and is spoken particularly by many newscasters.
posted by amyms at 6:22 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, it's just that what with out country having that one upper class Queens English accent that you Americans nail so well every single time you play British characters, we just get a little intimidated...

I'm pretty sure 98% of we Americans do British accents by trying to imitate John Cleese.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:30 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I think he was probably influenced by the concept of a "general American" accent as a nasally, bland midwestern newcaster accent.

I guess that's why many of the Americans I meet IRL sound way more American than the ones on TV.

Re: ethnic diversity:

New York
- 45% white
- 27% black
- 27% hispanic (any race)
- 10% asian

... not sure how they're measuring that since they don't quite add up.

London
- 71% white (incl. british, irish, scottish, etc.)
- 12% asian
- 11% black
posted by stp123 at 6:37 PM on October 1, 2010


... not sure how they're measuring that since they don't quite add up.

Some of the white folks are also hispanic & vice-versa.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:45 PM on October 1, 2010


Um, those figures are nothing to do with ethnicity...
posted by kersplunk at 6:46 PM on October 1, 2010


I think he was probably influenced by the concept of a "general American" accent as a nasally, bland midwestern newcaster accent.

I think it was more of Californian accent and he intoned a bit nasally to help. I think his American accents were mostly movie accents. If he came to America he could probably do a damn good job of fooling anyone though. Not like those UK rappers who somehow fooled a bunch of people. They sounded like they had a mouth full of marbles.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:05 PM on October 1, 2010


I usually think I and everyone I know sounds just like basically every American on TV. I live in Oregon. Which American accent do we speak?
posted by floam at 7:57 PM on October 1, 2010


nola wrote: "His US- general accent is spot on, his southern accent needs work."

It depends on which "southern" you're talking about. There's Alabama/Georgia "southern," then there's Arkansas/Louisiana/Oklahoma/Texas "southern." (yes, a lot of okies speak hick). They're similar, but different. He sounded more Arkansas or Louisiana than Alabama to me.
posted by wierdo at 9:10 PM on October 1, 2010


The Canadian one. Seriously, the received US TV accent sounds a lot like Southern Ontario.
posted by bonehead at 9:10 PM on October 1, 2010



nola wrote: "His US- general accent is spot on, his southern accent needs work."

I'm from North Carolina. There's about five or six completely different southern accents I can think of off the top of my mind in this state alone, and that's not counting the high altitude substitutes "hit" for "it" dialect or that weird Outer Banks brogue thing.

Southern is harder to get than most people think because it varies so substantially from region to region. English people should be able to ace Cheseapeake and lowcountry accents (because they're frankly not so far off ), but they usually try and overshoot and sound like they're from Texas. And though Hollywood loves casting English/Australian people as Southerner, most do at least as terrible a job sounding southern as southerners sounding English or Australian (see pretty much everything set in the south from "Gone With the Wind" to "True Blood," which I love, but damn those accents are terrible).

There are exceptions, of course. Jude Law's accent was one of the only redeeming things about "Cold Mountain." He actually sounded like guys I know in Waynesville, NC (where the real Cold Mountain is).
posted by thivaia at 9:32 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Canadian one. Seriously, the received US TV accent sounds a lot like Southern Ontario.

Not quite. Among other minor differences, the Southern Ontario accent tends to convert [ɑ] into [æ] (e.g. pasta is PASS-tuh instead of PAWS-tuh). This idiosyncrasy--which probably originated in the North of England (Toronto used to be called what, again?)--is far more widespread in the region than the stereotypical aboot, and once noticed, it's incredibly goddamned annoying. So, um, you're welcome!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 PM on October 1, 2010


Which American accent do we speak?

NorthWestern. You can tell by the mix of Hippie, Birkenstock and Fixies.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:13 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The northwestern accent is basically a slightly gravelly version of the california one. We do the same things with vowels and everything, it's just at the points where California accents get a little bit feathery (whoaaa double raaainbow), ours gets a little bit... Bill-Clintony.

Some people from the East Coast find the northwest accent uniquely annoying, since apparently it's an unpleasant surprise for them to hear people with somewhat croaky voices uptalking like Californians. I lived in New York just long enough to start hearing my own accent, and was forced to acknowledge that a) it exists, and b) yeah, it is a little weird.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:40 PM on October 1, 2010


The northwestern accent is basically a slightly gravelly version of the california one. We do the same things with vowels and everything, it's just at the points where California accents get a little bit feathery (whoaaa double raaainbow), ours gets a little bit... Bill-Clintony.

I've never heard a native Oregonian that sounds anything like a Californian. Maybe around the cities, which get a lot of transplants from California anyway but not out in the country.

To my ear, Oregonians sound like midwesterners (Kansas/Northern Oklahoma/Nebraska) that got lost.
posted by madajb at 11:30 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this video yesterday, and then got sucked into the Amy Walker videos again. Her How to Learn Any Accent Part 1 and Part 2 are very, very good (much better than her 21 Accents bit). Her commercial for the Connected Project is really fun too.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:38 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This kid's pretty great.

That said, the American accent is a bit hinky - it seems a little too clear that he's been learning from movies. I think a number of fake American accents are slightly "off" because people assume, at least subconsciously, that Americans speak slightly more slowly and clearly than real people do, without idiosyncratic slang and filler words - in other words, like people do in the movies.

I bet if he spent some time in America, though, that he'd be unstoppable. Nitpicks aside, he's pretty great.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:00 AM on October 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've never heard a native Oregonian that sounds anything like a Californian. Maybe around the cities, which get a lot of transplants from California anyway but not out in the country.

You pretty much have to be further east before you can even start to pick it up, but yeah, there are definitely some subtle hints of Spicoli Lite™ brand slacker drawl as far north as Vancouver.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:22 AM on October 2, 2010


the entire UK, which is still very, very white

You obviously a lot about Birmingham. Oh wait, you obviously know fuck-all about the UK. Perhaps you should quit digging that hole of ignorance with your shovel of nationalistic outrage.
posted by rodgerd at 12:25 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


amyms: "I think he was probably influenced by the concept of a "general American" accent as a nasally, bland midwestern newcaster accent."

That, or Kevin Costner.
posted by bwg at 12:32 AM on October 2, 2010


You obviously a lot about Birmingham. Oh wait, you obviously know fuck-all about the UK. Perhaps you should quit digging that hole of ignorance with your shovel of nationalistic outrage.

I'm sorry, is Birmingham reflective of the overall demographic makeup of the UK at large?

Hint: No. No it is not. And, hell, even Birmingham is two-thirds white.

What's that about knowing fuck all?

Heh. "Shovel of nationalistic outrage"? Please. If a link to Dick Van Dyke epically butchering Cockney reads as outrage, you might want to recalibrate your instruments.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 AM on October 2, 2010


I had inquired about Chris O'Dowd's accent in The IT Crowd, guessing that it was some kind of rube accent, the UK version of a Southern accent, and was told that it was Irish. But based on this, I'd say he was deliberately doing a version of number 5, West Country, maybe filtered through an Irish ear.

The kid doesn't hit them all spot on, but he does pretty well, better on the American accents than those Australian actors who all seem to have the same accent coach.

And here's my favorite site for exploring accents, IDEA.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:45 AM on October 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oregonians sound like midwesterners (Kansas/Northern Oklahoma/Nebraska) that got lost

Grapes of Wrath, baby. The Dust Bowl had a big influence on the California accent, too.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:49 AM on October 2, 2010


His German accent, while hilarious, is accurate for a small percentage of my students here in Germany, and is simply overdone.

Does anyone know of a good resource like this with accents from actual native speakers?
posted by moonbiter at 1:03 AM on October 2, 2010


I watched this yesterday, and I quite liked it. The thing is, though, I'm terrible with accents of English - I basically can't imitate other accents, at least not very well. So I was watching this and enjoying it, until he got to the Scottish accent, the only one I can really judge the accuracy of. And it was pretty dire.

I suppose it makes sense that folk who naturally speak with a given accent will be more attuned to minor mistakes in that accent, but when I say dire, I mean that I wouldn't have placed it as a Scottish accent at all (except maybe for 'unconscious', which was pretty spot-on), or even an attempt at one, if he hadn't said it was. So I wonder, since I can't really judge how good he was at other accents, would they sound just as terrible to folk who actually speak with those accents as the Scottish accent did to me? Does anyone who naturally speaks with one of the accents he attempted think he got their accent down reasonably well?
posted by Dim Siawns at 1:50 AM on October 2, 2010


David Cross' "The Redneck Voice."
posted by iamck at 2:10 AM on October 2, 2010


Does anyone know of a good resource like this with accents from actual native speakers?

The Speech Accent Archive (previously).
posted by Bukvoed at 3:33 AM on October 2, 2010


Dear UKoGBian actors, NYC has a lot of very distinct variation in its accents; after all, its population is roughly equivalent to that of half of the entire UK, and is far more ethnically diverse. Try harder.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:08 AM on October 2


Dear SysRq. Please try harder when you check population figures.
posted by Decani at 4:59 AM on October 2, 2010


Awful.

If you think these accents are accurate then you have a tin ear.
posted by the cuban at 5:09 AM on October 2, 2010


it was an interesting exercise in the stereotypes that young UK men have, those stereotypes seem almost 100% generated by media influences which is why I think the Cuban found them off. Many of those he modeled these accent on were not themselves native users of that particular accent.

While he said not to pay any attention to what he was saying, that was the most interesting thing about it for me.

(Accent from Republic of Ireland was a mash-up of Irish Traveller community in the UK and Boyzone/Louise Walsh clones. For that alone this is priceless.)
posted by Wilder at 5:40 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not wishing to feed a troll, but the 'white/Asian/black/Hispanic' way of looking at ethnicity doesn't reflect the true diversity of London. 'Whites' include a lot of recent arrivals from around Europe (including 'Hispanics' from Spain) and in particular from the former Soviet bloc. 'Asians' include South Asian Hindus, South Asian Muslims, Chinese, Filipinos etc.

A better way of looking at this may be by language :-
For NYC - 'In 2005, nearly 170 languages were spoken in the city and 36% of its population was foreign born.' ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_City )
For London - 'In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that there were more than 300 languages spoken ' ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_London )

Population of Greater London - 7.2 million in 2001.
Population of NYC - 8.4 million in 2009.

The two cities are about the same size, and London dominates the UK in a way NYC doesn't for the US. Based on linguisitic diversity, London is actually a lot more diverse than NYC. Both cities, of course, are very diverse, multicultural places.
posted by plep at 5:41 AM on October 2, 2010


the cuban: "Awful.

If you think these accents are accurate then you have a tin ear
"

I wouldn't go that far. Some of his accents weren't that bad; some were clearly off, but considering he's not likely a trained actor, it wasn't a bad attempt overall.

Perhaps with dialect coaches he could nail them down, but it would take a lot of work. I give him props for even trying.

Therefore, the cuban, joo chould lighten up a liddle, mang. ahem
posted by bwg at 6:43 AM on October 2, 2010


"I couldn't fink of anyting to say really..."

I love his real accent best.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:55 AM on October 2, 2010


Well, his RP would fool me. I might detect a slight affectation, which could either stem from his not having grown up using RP, or from his simple enjoyment of the act of enunciation.
And his upper-class Brit would be enough for me to tell him to take a flying fornication, depending on what he was saying, on principle.
God save the queen.
None of them really had me going "Nah nah - tha's jus' a Brit takin' the piss, innit".
posted by labberdasher at 7:20 AM on October 2, 2010


That general US accent is perfect (except for the "taking the piss") - he sounds like a lot of my classmates at uni.
posted by HopperFan at 7:23 AM on October 2, 2010


Huh. The general US accent doesn't sound like anyone I know, and, as someone with family in the military, I've spent a lot of time around general-americans.
posted by kenko at 9:34 AM on October 2, 2010


I was totally fooled by the Brit RP and General American, and I've spent time around people with both accents.

The Indian, on the other hand, was absolute rubbish- but then again, that's because there are Tamil and Kerala and Bihar and Marathi and Bengali accents, not one single standard 'Indian' accent. That said, he did a bang-up job of nailing the tired old stereotype of what Hollywood seems to think everyone from Kashmir to Kanyakumari sounds like. So, bravo, I suppose.
posted by Tamanna at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2010


I went into this knowing that it's always hardest to hear someone trying to mimic your own accent, but the General American and Southern accents were physically painful to me. I had to stop the video. It was like being stabbed in the ear.

Many of the others sounded very much more credible, but then again, those aren't my accent, so I'm not the best judge.

But man, oh man, do I love South African accents! It's so fascinating to hear pieces of so many different languages, accents, and speech patterns interacting that way.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2010


Now that I'm having a think on it, even though obviously they're not all spot-on, it's pretty impressive that a guy that young has so much range already. If that's natural talent, imagine what he'd do with training and a dialect coach.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:09 AM on October 2, 2010


Dear SysRq. Please try harder when you check population figures.

The two cities are about the same size, and London dominates the UK in a way NYC doesn't for the US. Based on linguisitic diversity, London is actually a lot more diverse than NYC. Both cities, of course, are very diverse, multicultural places.


People. If you're going to further a derail, you could at least read it all the way through.. Metro NYC: 22 million. UK: 60 million. Half? No. Close e-fucking-nough, though.

Yes, London is ethnically diverse...except for that 70% who are indigenous Britons. Starting approximately forty years ago. Bravo. Good on ya. Britain on the whole (which is what I was talking about), not so much.

Look, NYC is less than half white, and a significant portion of those white people are either immigrants themselves or descended from immigrants from non-Anglophone countries. That's why NYC's accents are so varied. That's all I'm saying. I didn't mean to start a pissing contest.

(And yes, of course the Celts and the Romans and the Angles and the Saxons and the Vikings and the Normans and the Dutch et al. had crazy huge influence on the English language, but that'd be the same English language that floated over here, so whatever.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:40 PM on October 2, 2010


Peter Sellers does a handful of UK accents in a short, very fluid span of time. Don't think anyone mentioned this yet, so voila.

He's better than the guy in the video (who I found to be very good, give or take) because he's able to do it without exaggerating prominent features. But then, he's a professional. And he's Peter Sellers.
posted by Room 101 at 5:20 PM on October 2, 2010


In Sys Rq's defence, I was recently in London, Birmingham, Wales and Leeds and the overwhelming whiteness of the UK, especially in the train stations, was a constant amazement to me. I really expected a lot more diversity than I saw. A lot of the non-whites I spoke to were tourists, too. That being said, I am used to working with people around the world speaking English with a different accent to myself and I definitely found parsing the English spoken in the UK the hardest - even though both my parents still have their Irish/British accents.
posted by saucysault at 10:02 PM on October 2, 2010


None of the accents are really perfect, I think it's better to think of them as caricatures. It's interesting in that it shows you how easy it is to pick apart the accents you're familiar with but not so much the ones more foreign to you. The general U.S. accent is definitely flawed, I think it's based mostly on Leo DiCaprio (who interestingly did a god awful Shakespearean English accent once upon a time).

I think his Geordie accent is probably off too because I can actually understand what he's saying which wasn't the case when I was in Sunderland.
posted by Locobot at 12:05 PM on October 3, 2010


"The general US accent doesn't sound like anyone I know"

Then you're lucky. Come hang out in the library at Ohio State, if you're feeling masochistic.
posted by HopperFan at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2010


I was just listening to some stuff on IDEA. The first parts, where the interlocutor reads, are pretty wooden, but the second half of the samples, where she or he talks naturally, are quite good for revealing characteristics of accent.

I should have a listen to the Americans...mostly I have listened to the UK accents, trying to identify ones I've heard here and there.

The Hawaiian clips are quite good, extremely typical of Hawaiian voices. I'd like to hear someone with some talent try to reproduce them. It's a funny thing, I can hear someone speak, and clearly recognize that they grew up here, but it's so hard to pick out exactly what it is about the sounds and cadence that make me recognize it.

There was a case here in the '80s where a couple of local guys were rejected as weather readers by the National Weather Service because of their extremely mild Hawaiian Standard English accents. The guy who got the job had an intense SoCal/Midwest accent, very nasal. The decision was upheld by federal court as not being racially motivated. (Message 2 in this digest) I've heard the voice samples that were submitted for the job applications and as evidence in the case, and to my ear, the guy who got the job had the heaviest accent. I wish I had online access to them, but they were much milder than the IDEA clips, though there were common attributes, especially in cadence.

Here's a much milder version of a Hawaii Standard English accent, an ad for one of our mayoral candidates. I can hear a little relationship to SoCal in there, but to me it comes across as born and raised in Hawaii.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:32 PM on October 3, 2010


A little off topic, but Dr. Seuss books read in jamaican patois is amazing. It's such an interesting accent to listen to. I say accent because that's what the thread is about, but you could call it a dialect, whatever- irrelevant for now. Anyway, I don't think I could ever learn it well enough to speak it (the clips are I think meant to help you learn it), but I could listen to this guy read Dr. Seuss books all day (I almost did once).
posted by chela at 7:57 PM on October 3, 2010


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