The Northern Cities Vowel Shift is radically changing the sound of English:
Despite fears that the growth of TV and radio would homogenize English dialects in the US, the Great Lakes region (from Syracuse to Milwaukee) has been in fact diverging with respect to how people there pronounce English words. Rob Mifsud writes: Consider the three-letter words that begin with b and end in t: bat, bet, bit, bot, and but. All five of those words contain short vowel sounds. Their long-vowel equivalents—bate, beet, bite, boat, boot, and bout—arrived at their modern pronunciations as a result of the Great Vowel Shift that began around 1400 and established the basic contours of today’s English. But those short vowels have remained pretty much constant since the eighth century—in other words, for more than a thousand years. Until now. [more inside]
Twenty-four different accents
in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT
How The Edwardians Spoke
:: BBC documentary via Google Video, about an hour [more inside]
English Accents and Dialects.
The British Library has compiled an online archive of northern speech dating back to the 19th century. The recordings range from from audio from Victorian cylinder dictaphones to 1950s football fans chanting.
It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It:
George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that every time an Englishman opens his mouth it's guaranteed that another Englishman will despise him. This website offers a motley and unintentionally hilarious collection of the many, ever-growing pronunciations of the English language. The variety is so wide you could almost be listening to different languages. But is a particular accent still an anti-democratic barrier, strictly revealing your position on the socio-geographic ladder, as it was in the days Nancy Mitford discussed U and non-U vocabulary
? Or have upper-class accents
in the U.K. and U.S. (note the Boston Brahmin
samples), once coveted and preferred, now become the opposite: unforgivable impediments? Does posh speech exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as it does in the U.K. and U.S.? In other words: Does it still matter?
(Quicktime Audio for main and fourth link; Real Audio for third.
Elocution lessons are helping staff working at call centres in India neutralise their accents and make their sales pitch more effective
call-center workers, computer programmers, these and other positions are being transferred to countries like India
. We all know why. Only one reason, they call it Tight labor markets
. This is great news for India, but what exactly will the current call-center workers, programmers and other white collar workers in US do if their jobs will be gone to India ?
Are you worried that your position will one day be replaced by someone on the other side of the world working for 1/3 of your salary ?
I didn't grow up thinking I talked funny...
but thanks to the internet, I now know why I was turned down for all those newscaster jobs. Jano yinz talked funny too?