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American accents are getting more accented?
Posted: 17 September 2011 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/09/09/7544176-pahking-the-cah-regional-accents-getting-stronger

Pahking the cah? Regional accents getting stronger

Although the United States is an international melting pot and the average American makes a dozen moves in a lifetime, regional accents are alive and well. In fact, regional accents are becoming stronger and more different from each other, says William Labov, a professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, although it’s not entirely clear why.

One possibility, says Labov, is that these original sound differences are being exaggerated, like trains moving in opposite directions on two railroad tracks. “The other is that dialect differences have become associated with political differences, so that the Blue States/Red States division comes close to the boundary between the Northern and Midland dialects,” he explains. 

Labov says that our dialects change little after age 18 and we tend to retain the accent we grew up with. Young people first match the dialects of their parents, but then they often change to match their peers. These changes, though, are unconscious, he explains.

Linguists say there are about ten major regional accents in the US, such as New England, mid-Atlantic, Inland North, for the cities surrounding the Great Lakes, and the West, the country’s newest dialect. While some people sound more regional than others, everyone has an accent to some degree.

Some people are simply better at repressing some aspects of their local speech. The way they talk—their pronounciation of words (some “r-less” dialects on the East Coast may say “cah” rather than “car”) or choice of words (“pail” in the North versus “bucket” in the Midwest)—adds a local flavor and diversity to speech. But it can also contribute to misunderstandings and confusion (hearing the word “buses” as “bosses”).

While some people keep their regional speech styles because it’s the hallmark of who they are and a tie to their communities, certain accents may have negative stereotypes or societal prejudices associated with them, says Amee Shah, director of the Research Laboratory in Speech Acoustics & Perception at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Although there’s nothing wrong with a regional accent, some people become ashamed or self-conscious of them for either personal or professional reasons and they want to tone them down.

Shah, who has training as a speech-language pathologist and has designed an assessment tool to measure the severity of accented speech, offers “accent modification therapy” to clients. Shah says a strong accent might take six to eight months to modify, a moderate one three or four months, and a light accent a month or two.

“My goal is to help a client modify an accent, not to correct or reduce it,” says Shah.

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Posted: 17 September 2011 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yeah, my little sister is Korean and speaks with a U.S. southern accent.

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Posted: 17 September 2011 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Accent?  What accent?  eh?

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Posted: 17 September 2011 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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gray - 17 September 2011 07:05 PM

Accent?  What accent?  eh?

No accent, you non-American, you.

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Posted: 17 September 2011 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I moved from Missouri to Idaho, saw no real accent change.  There are people here in Missouri who have an accent, but most don’t really.  While in Idaho I asked a coworker if I had a southern accent, no I don’t, according to them.

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Posted: 17 September 2011 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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N E O - 17 September 2011 08:13 PM

I moved from Missouri to Idaho, saw no real accent change.  There are people here in Missouri who have an accent, but most don’t really.  While in Idaho I asked a coworker if I had a southern accent, no I don’t, according to them.

If I remember correctly, you have a Canadian accent.

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Posted: 18 September 2011 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You are Canadian.  raspberry

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Posted: 18 September 2011 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Meh.. I’m Californian, which is, linguistically speaking, the closest to unaccented American English there is.

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Posted: 19 September 2011 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m British, and you’re quite right, we don’t have *cough cough* accents.

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Posted: 19 September 2011 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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See, now that’s always been baffling to me.. you have an area the size of California, give or take, and yet you have such diverse accents as Cockney, Yorkshire, Scouse, and Londoner, within that relatively small area. Head a little farther, and you have Glaswegian, which may be the same language, but nobody’s certain yet…

It’d be like if I drove to San Francisco and everyone was swapping ‘U’ for ‘I’ and congugating gerunds by making little farting noises with their lips.

(Not to be confused with what’s known as a ‘San Francisco Accent’, which is a bigot term for ‘that person is probably gay’.)

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Posted: 19 September 2011 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The UK accents have developed over many years from small towns; the US accents have developed a lot quicker.

Cali - no accent? I don’t think so. The Valley accent or the Oakland accent are both quite distinctly different to one another.

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Posted: 20 September 2011 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Tah - 17 September 2011 08:42 PM
N E O - 17 September 2011 08:13 PM

I moved from Missouri to Idaho, saw no real accent change.  There are people here in Missouri who have an accent, but most don’t really.  While in Idaho I asked a coworker if I had a southern accent, no I don’t, according to them.

If I remember correctly, you have a Canadian accent.

Canadians don’t have accents.  Unless you are from the maritimes or Quebec. eh…  wink

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