Author Topic: accent/dialect...got one?  (Read 567 times)


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accent/dialect...got one?
« on: March 21, 2014, 07:47:32 PM »
I'd have to say I have a generalized American accent not much different than those who grew up on say the west coast. Even what old school New England dialect I picked up from my mother was gone by my early 20's. I never to my knowledge dropped my R's as new Englanders are famous for, you may be surprised how uncommon that is now where I'm from. You still here it in people from Massachusettes but New Hampshire is losing that fast.

I did however grow up saying things like "that's wicked cool" but lost that habit in my teens when a few of my girlfriends took issue with it. That and "down cellar" which I still say when talking to my parents but with anyone else I say "in the basement" as even my friends who grew up here would mock me going "down cellah!"

Aside from the deep American south sans Florida and certain other parts it's become difficult to determine where people are from linguistically in this country as we are all sort of talking more and more the same...

I must say though the most classic American accent I've heard in years was this guy Chuck I met in rehab several years ago. Chuck was a character/tree farmer from Louisiana who spoke with a deep southern drawl. Guy was crazy telling all kinds of stories, he apparently toured the country with an early hardcore band in the 80's which checks out with his knowledge of US cities and I did back him up on the drums once or twice and despite the ludicracy of a 55 year old man singing hardcore he did seem to know what he was doing. You should have heard his song "mindfulness" haha.

Oh there is a NY Times linguistics test that can pinpoint where you have spent time in the US by asking you a long series of questions such as what do you call this/that? My entire family took it over Christmas and it's pretty accurate...it located me within a sphere from NYC-Springfield-Boston so I guess despite my lack of an accent it's still possible to put me in the northeast region based on how I speak.


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Re: accent/dialect...got one?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 06:32:01 AM »
I'm so glad you asked this question.

Beginning in my early twenties, if not earlier, people have often commented on "my accent".  The most recent was at a Food Not Bombs.  A couple of homeless people, a man and a woman, were talking about sports.  And they asked me whether I had some sport---I forget which one---"in your country".  They thought from talking to me that I was foreign.  Another person last winter, a 21 year old, asked me if I was from the South.  About 5 years ago, my neighbor suddenly asked me in sort of a confused tone, "You from Idaho???"  Actually I was born there, but moved to Western Washington when I was 3 1/2. About 10 years ago someone from England said I sounded "country" and that it was very "charming".  I know he intended it as a compliment, but I wasn't flattered.

About 5 years ago I visited a linguistics forum on the Net now and then.  Many on it were professional linguists.  One was inviting participants in a dialect study.  It involved doing it on the Internet, but I was on dial-up, and not tech savvy, so I asked if I could just send her a cassette tape recording via snail mail.  She agreed, and I recorded her test on that, and sent it to her, but I've never heard back from her.

I'm not offended when people comment on "my accent" but I do feel a little self-conscious about what it might sound like.  I don't like sounding so much differently than others.  I'd prefer to have a normal voice, like everybody else.  I have listened to myself on a tape recorder and on phone answering machines, and I usually sound very "stupid".  But I'm also curious to know what an expert dialectician thinks of it.  Is it actually a regional accent, or just some idiosyncratic speech impediment?  Maybe I'll get around to arranging a test with a dialectician some day.


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Re: accent/dialect...got one?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 07:14:01 AM »
I have had the assumption made that I was foreign once jeremiah, I was out in western Illinois and had locked myself out of my motel room in a downpour at 2:00am. I had to walk around front of the building past a teenage party spilling out into the night, anyway some girl who talked to me asked me what country I was from.

And then on two occasions I've had people, both old women, ask me if I grew up in England. I responded to both with a quizzical look and a "no...why?" and both said they just thought I occasionally said something that sounded English. Nobody else has ever said anything about it though, just those two old women.

Then recently a woman asked me where I was from and she said that she would have placed me mid west somewhere because of "the way I pronounced the ends of my words" is what she said. I figured she was either from Mass or up north somewhere which is entirely possible.

during a stint at college I actually met a guy born and raised out west with a Spanish first and last name and a "Spanish Lisp" but no Hispanic ties other than an ancestral line to Spain. You better believe people asked this guy what country he was from all the time. He was just American and happened to have that lisp and Spanish name...wasn't going to change it either. I mean this kid didn't even speak Spanish...

And then a few months ago I was smoking with a friend and I out of the blue asked him a question in a distinctly Pennsylvania accent, which I can't describe, but I do have cousins who grew up in Lancaster and for some reason I just out and started talking like them. I mean it is a very catchy accent but I can't pretend to know why it just came out like that.

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Re: accent/dialect...got one?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 08:54:57 AM »
Yeah I got one, people ask me where I'm from and I'm from here but they either think that I'm French or they think I'm something like a newf or something..
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Re: accent/dialect...got one?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2014, 02:11:54 PM »
An indian guy once said i sound british.
I hope he didnt mean "singlish" -_- british english in chinese dialect...
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