Americans accents

Tez3

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Not sure this is the right place but it's a serious post!
I've always been interested in words, the way people speak and accents. when people speak English I can usually tell where they come from by their intonations and the way they pronounce words so while watching a programme the other night I was fascinated by the way one man spoke. This by the way isn't a religious thread!

The programme was called Around the World in 80 Faiths, an English vicar was going around the world looking at different faiths and ways of worship. while in America he visited a pastor in Tennessee who did the snake handling thing of worship. While the pastor was talking, for the first time ever, I saw subtitles up in English for an American. I could understand what he was saying and he was definitely American, he was giving the history of the way they worship and his family had been there for a very long time. The vicar did say it was a remote part of the country and it brought to mind something Bill Bryson the author said, that many Americans who have live in isolated parts of America actually still speak with the original English accent his ancestors came over with. The English accent in the UK having moved on and changed.

I know little of Tennessee's history sadly so don't know if the original settlers would have been English or not. When the vicar spoke to others of the congregation they spoke with similiar accents but not as strong, the pastor would have been in his late sixties I think. When they sang hymns the subtitles came back up.

In another film, Scary Movie, there's a television reporter who said she was practising her accent so she could go on a nationwide station, is there then an American accent that is equivalent to our Received Pronounciation ( the way the Queen speaks...posh lol)?

Another question lol! We have an American over here in the media Lold Grossman who has an extraordinary accent which none of us is sure whether it's a 'proper' accent or his made up one. Do others speak like him?
 
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elder999

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Another question lol! We have an American over here in the media Lold Grossman who has an extraordinary accent which none of us is sure whether it's a 'proper' accent or his made up one. Do others speak like him?

The answers to your other questions are a bit longer, but Lloyd Grossman has traces of what's called a "mid-Atlantic," or Bostonian accent. I'd imagine, that after more than 30 years in the U.K., some aspects of the local argot have rubbed off, and that when he arrived there, he probably sounded a bit more Bostonian......

We've got lots of accents over here, and there is a contrived form of "regionless" pronunciation, flat in affect and relatively free of inflection, taught in broadcasting schools.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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Another question lol! We have an American over here in the media Lold Grossman who has an extraordinary accent which none of us is sure whether it's a 'proper' accent or his made up one. Do others speak like him?

To me, his accent sounds either slightly British, or a 'Harvard' accent, as many 'Harvard' men have. I note that he has lived all over, so that may account for it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyd_Grossman

We have lots of accents here. I have lived in NC (my house, wife and family are currently there, I sojourn in Detroit), and whilst I can understand most folks there, some have a very thick regional dialect that leaves me unable to understand a single word they say. I've talked to native North Carolinians feel the same way!

I was watching "Snatch" and I could not understand anything for the first five minutes - then I started 'getting it'. Same for "Lair of the White Worm." For a solid 15 minutes into that movie, I could not understand anything being said. Once I 'got it' then I had no more trouble.

I have had the opportunity to live everywhere in the US. From east to west, north to south. I have a basic 'midwest' accent, which I am told is prized because it is nearly universally understood - newscasters often come from the midwest, places like Nebraska and Illinois and Kansas.

One interesting phenomenon lately is ESL speakers who can understand each other perfectly, but native English speakers cannot understand them. This has been discussed if not studied. A man from India and a man from China and a man from Russia can all chit-chat merrily away in English that no native English-speaker can understand. Fascinating!
 
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elder999

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To me, his accent sounds either slightly British, or a 'Harvard' accent, as many 'Harvard' men have. I note that he has lived all over, so that may account for it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyd_Grossman

From the link above (it'd been later in my morning, I might have bothered to do the same):

His transatlantic accent reflects his Boston origins as well as the many years he has spent in the UK. It sounds strange to many British people, as well as Americans, and is often the subject of parody


uhh.....what I said?...:lol:
 
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Tez3

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My English accent is a 'Services' one, it probably has London in it but because I was in the RAF for so many years it has evened out into just English lol!

I admit I love accents and listening to people. We had the first episode last night of Law and Order UK set in London, while the accents were easy to understand I did wonder how it would go down in its home country! It's not just accents, people also speak at different speeds depending on where they come from, listening to a Liverpudian in full spate is mind boggling!

One accent and voice that's very attractive is the blonde lady in CSI Miami (the one that does the guns thing), I believe she has a 'Southern' accent? Does things to my husband certainly, rofl!
 

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I'd like to point out that "apparently" the West Midlands accent is the closest in style, pronunciation to the "original" English whatever that is, perhaps as spoken in Shakespeares day, or maybe even Chaucers. Therefore, even though I have what is officially termed a "plummy" English accent, coming from the Midlands, I still claim superiority over "all of yow". :D

Tez, I agree whole-heartedly, I love accents as well, in particular, French accents, on French girls. Excellent boat floater I find.
 
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Tez3

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Girls like the soft Irish accents from the south lol, we had John Kavanagh (some Americans may know him as he does seminars for SBG) bring one of his MMA fighters across for one of our shows and dear me, John could charm the birds out of the trees with his accent. His fighter was Icelandic which along with Norway produces a nice accent in English too.

Ah French, the only language that sounds sexy when talking about prosaic things lol!
 

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The answers to your other questions are a bit longer, but Lloyd Grossman has traces of what's called a "mid-Atlantic," or Bostonian accent. I'd imagine, that after more than 30 years in the U.K., some aspects of the local argot have rubbed off, and that when he arrived there, he probably sounded a bit more Bostonian......

We've got lots of accents over here, and there is a contrived form of "regionless" pronunciation, flat in affect and relatively free of inflection, taught in broadcasting schools.
If we're talking about native English speakers, there are lots of areas where the "regionless" accent is not contrived. From having travelled and lived over most of the USA, it's been my experience that the further East you go, the more pronounced and varied the accents become.

Edit to add: If we're speaking about accents we like, I am a sucker for a scandinavian accent. While in Germany in the military, I would travel frequently to Holland. We also went up to Denmark a few times each year. Wow. Just... wow.
 

Bill Mattocks

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If we're talking about native English speakers, there are lots of areas where the "regionless" accent is not contrived. From having travelled and lived over most of the USA, it's been my experience that the further East you go, the more pronounced and varied the accents become.

Up in da UP dere to, eh?
 

elder999

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If we're talking about native English speakers, there are lots of areas where the "regionless" accent is not contrived. From having travelled and lived over most of the USA, it's been my experience that the further East you go, the more pronounced and varied the accents become.


I'm sure, as Bill posted, that it has its roots in a midwestern inflection, but it's what is taught in broadcasting schools. Odds are good that the disc jockey you hear on the radio, or the person doing your local nightly TV news didn't grow up sounding the way they speak when they're working.

And yeah, as a native Noo Yawkah I know a ting er two about havin an accent.....:lol:
 

Bill Mattocks

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I'm sure, as Bill posted, that it has its roots in a midwestern inflection, but it's what is taught in broadcasting schools. Odds are good that the disc jockey you hear on the radio, or the person doing your local nightly TV news didn't grow up sounding the way they speak when they're working.

And yeah, as a native Noo Yawkah I know a ting er two about havin an accent.....:lol:

The classic example was Johnny Carson. Pure Nebraska farmboy - no accent from the point of view of most US television watchers.
 

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I'm sure, as Bill posted, that it has its roots in a midwestern inflection, but it's what is taught in broadcasting schools. Odds are good that the disc jockey you hear on the radio, or the person doing your local nightly TV news didn't grow up sounding the way they speak when they're working.

And yeah, as a native Noo Yawkah I know a ting er two about havin an accent.....:lol:
LOL... you guys. I'm not suggesting that people don't unlearn their accent. I'm simply pointing out that half the friggin country doesn't have to do that.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Upper Peninsula? I haven't been there. I did get orders to the UP but swapped them for Germany. Never regretted that trade. :D

Well, if you think someone from New Hampshire is tough to understand, try da UP one time dere hey. Dey nod only have funny accents, but they use whole different words. A bubbler is a water fountain, a hot dish is a casserole, you don't stay with someone, you stay by them, and you don't loan someone money, you borrow it to them. No 'th' sound, and all flat long vowels gain an extra syllable, so 'boat' becomes 'boh-it', and 'mouse' becomes 'mah-ouse'. Ya sure you betcha.
 

Hagakure

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Girls like the soft Irish accents from the south lol, we had John Kavanagh (some Americans may know him as he does seminars for SBG) bring one of his MMA fighters across for one of our shows and dear me, John could charm the birds out of the trees with his accent. His fighter was Icelandic which along with Norway produces a nice accent in English too.

Ah French, the only language that sounds sexy when talking about prosaic things lol!

I love Dylan Morans take on the French. That they sit around all day, half dressed, making love, smoking Galouise (sp?), painting, drinking red wine and debating philosophy. Although not necessarily all at the same time. :D
 

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I know you want this to be serious thread and I am going to treat it with the respect due that was asked. But seriously... accents are fun for me. Ah luv 'em.
The south-eastern part of the United States which include Kentucky, Tennessee, West (BY GOD) Virginia, N & S. Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana (which has that special Cajun mixture into it) all do have that distinctive suthern acksent to be sure. I noticed it very strongly when moving back from Utah to Tennessee and still hear it but have dealt with it... dunno if ah've adopt it'd or not.
Specifically Tennessee's accent is no different than the aforementioned states as far as dialect/accents go. All southerners have that accent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_English is a lengthy but worthwhile read about "American English"
This is probably more specific
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_English_regional_phonologyRegional dialects in North America are most strongly differentiated along the Eastern seaboard. The distinctive speech of important cultural centers like Boston, Massachusetts (see Boston accent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana imposed their marks on the surrounding areas. The Connecticut River is usually regarded as the southern/western extent of New England speech, while the Potomac River generally divides a group of Northern coastal dialects from the beginning of the Coastal Southern dialect area (distinguished from the Highland Southern or South Midland dialect treated below, although outsiders often mistakenly believe that the speech in these two areas is the same); in between these two rivers several local variations exist, most famous among them the variety that prevails in New York City.
Dialects on the East Coast of the continent are most diverse chiefly because the East Coast has been populated by English-speaking people longer than any other region. Western speech is much more homogeneous because it was settled by English speakers more recently, and so there has been less time for the West to diversify into a multiplicity of distinctive accents. A reason for the differences between (on the one hand) Eastern and (on the other hand) Midwestern and Western accents is that the East Coast areas were in contact with England, and imitated prestigious varieties of British English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes. The interior of the country was settled by people who were no longer closely connected to England, as they had no access to the ocean during a time when journeys to Britain were always by sea, and so Western and inland speakers did not imitate the changes in speech from England.
African American Vernacular English contains many distinctive forms that are more homogeneous from region to region than the accents of white speakers, but African-American speakers are subject to regional variation also.

Yet if you go up in to the northern parts you'll hear the New-Englander accent along the coastal and Canadian bordering states. The States along the great lakes (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan have theirs.

In the movie Fargo you'll hear that very distinctive North Dakota accent which shows evidence that a good portion of the people are northern Euro-Scandinavian decendants.

Texas :rolleyes: ... nuff said :lol:

Out west as I've noticed the accents get thinned out and more spread out and thus flattened out.

Why we Americans haven't kept the Queen's way of speaking of english or their own specific euro-ancestrial accents I can't say... I'm not a linguist or anything like that just speculating.
I guess the same could be asked is why the wonderful Aussie's have their own distinctive style of speaking English even though a majority of them have descended from British Island prisoners sent into exile.
 

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Up in da UP dere to, eh?

Ooh, yoor from Michigan, arr yoo? Oh goo-ud!

A little bit Fargo, a little bit Nasal Chicago, and a little bit Canadian, the Michigan Accent was derived from a lot of the linguistic influences of its early settlers: Irish, Finnish, Welsh and Dutch. In some areas, particularly around blue collar parts of Detroit, hordes of poor Southerners who came up the Dixie Highway to work on the assembly lines in the early-to-mid 1900's have also injected a bit of Southern twang into our Northern European heritage.

The resulting mix is similar to a pirate from Kentucky with a head cold

http://www.michigannative.com/ma_home.shtml

/ from GraRapids
 

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We've got lots of accents over here, and there is a contrived form of "regionless" pronunciation, flat in affect and relatively free of inflection, taught in broadcasting schools.

The "Regionless" pronunciation is General American. The differentiation from it in many places is relatively subtle, but existant.

Personally, I think anymore that some of yinz guys just like to talk funny n'at.
 

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You know, I'm going to have to research this a little bit more now, but...I recall a few years ago reading an article in a local newspaper about accents, and the author's positon on which accent represented the "purest" origins of English accent in America was...get ready for this...the Southern Cal. coastal accent, aka "surfer dude". Think Bill and Ted or dweezil zappa. Yes, according to the article (which the author said was a consensus opinion among linguists who studied British accents), that was actually how the English sounded back when they were colonizing what is now the USA. How that accent got all the way to the West Coast I don't understand, but there you have it.

One point in its favor, is that the surfer dude accent is easily understood across the country; I have never heard complaints about it being so thick as to be unintelligible. I think it's nice sounding, myself.
 

Hagakure

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You know, I'm going to have to research this a little bit more now, but...I recall a few years ago reading an article in a local newspaper about accents, and the author's positon on which accent represented the "purest" origins of English accent in America was...get ready for this...the Southern Cal. coastal accent, aka "surfer dude". Think Bill and Ted or dweezil zappa. Yes, according to the article (which the author said was a consensus opinion among linguists who studied British accents), that was actually how the English sounded back when they were colonizing what is now the USA. How that accent got all the way to the West Coast I don't understand, but there you have it.

One point in its favor, is that the surfer dude accent is easily understood across the country; I have never heard complaints about it being so thick as to be unintelligible. I think it's nice sounding, myself.

It's possible that a surfer dude twang could be close to an English West Country accent, which would certainly cover the Plymouth area of England.
 
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