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Old 05-05-2015, 02:30 PM
 
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People often say that Californians don't have an accent or that the "generic accent" is based on the way people talk in California, but I don't really agree. My family is from California and I can definitely pick out regional "California-isms" in the way they say things - things I've lost since moving to the Northwest.

One really typical and obvious thing in California is the tendency to turn e's into a's - for example "Al-A" for LA or "catchup" for "ketchup". I don't think this is necessarily unique to California but I don't hear it here in Oregon nor do I hear people from other regions pronounce those words that way. The way "picture" is pronounced is different in California too - almost sounds like a homophone for "pitcher".

Even though most Californians sound pretty close to "generic" American, you can say the same about many people in the urban South, Midwest, and East too. And even then, I can tell a generic American accent from Atlanta apart from one from Sacramento because of the lack of "Valley girl" inflection in the former, replaced with a faint southern or northeastern influence.
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I just talked to someone in San Francisco on the phone a couple weeks ago and I was really surprised how different her pronunciation of [o] was compared to what I normally hear in Minnesota and Iowa. Words like "go," "no," "show," etc.
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Ontario Canada
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Canadian English is the closest to General American actually.
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:53 PM
 
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No.

I've noticed Midwesterners sound different.
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Old 05-05-2015, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruhms View Post
No.

I've noticed Midwesterners sound different.
Yes and Californians sound different from them, so the idea they share a "Generic American" accent is just wrong.
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Old 05-05-2015, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini-apple-less View Post
People often say that Californians don't have an accent or that the "generic accent" is based on the way people talk in California, but I don't really agree. My family is from California and I can definitely pick out regional "California-isms" in the way they say things - things I've lost since moving to the Northwest.

One really typical and obvious thing in California is the tendency to turn e's into a's - for example "Al-A" for LA or "catchup" for "ketchup". I don't think this is necessarily unique to California but I don't hear it here in Oregon nor do I hear people from other regions pronounce those words that way. The way "picture" is pronounced is different in California too - almost sounds like a homophone for "pitcher".

Even though most Californians sound pretty close to "generic" American, you can say the same about many people in the urban South, Midwest, and East too. And even then, I can tell a generic American accent from Atlanta apart from one from Sacramento because of the lack of "Valley girl" inflection in the former, replaced with a faint southern or northeastern influence.
I'm born and raised in CA and know hardly anyone who says the examples you gave. "Al-A"? I've never heard that one before. People will often say both "catchup" and "ketchup", and "picture" is way more common than "pitchur".
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Old 05-05-2015, 05:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psr13 View Post
I'm born and raised in CA and know hardly anyone who says the examples you gave. "Al-A"? I've never heard that one before. People will often say both "catchup" and "ketchup", and "picture" is way more common than "pitchur".
The way it's said in California would just sound normal to you; I'm writing it how it sounds to me.
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:38 PM
 
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There's definitely a discernible California accent.

In Long Beach and Orange County, words like "house" and "now" sound like "haowse" and "naow" --very nasally and as if pronounced with a wide, flat "maowth" instead of a round one. This pronunciation is mostly limited to white folks, although it's not entirely uncommon to hear it among Asians and Hispanics as well. I always assumed this feature of California English was passed down through the generations from the original Midwesterner and Texan settlers.

Also, you hear a low-back merger, too (at least that's what I think it's called), so the vowel sound in words like bath and hat are slightly deeper and more drawn out than the General American pronunciations, but not nearly as deep or low as in, say, Boston or British English. This is, I think, the basis of the California surfer accent with the long, drawn-out vowel sounds.

Although less common, you hear words with a double "T" such as mitten and button pronounced as "mid-den" and "bud-den" among some white and Hispanic folks in this area.

But to answer your question, there is such a thing as a California accent, and it's definitely distinct from the General American accent, but perhaps not to the untrained ear.

By the way, if you speak English, you have an accent, whether you think you do or not. That's one of the features of the English language--everyone has an accent.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
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No way. Californians (and to a lesser degree, Oregonians and Washingtonians) pronounce all of their a-sounds as Os.

"Hi, I'm from Colifornia. Some people think we hov an occent, but I don't think thot's true ot oll."

"We're going up to Nevodda next weekend, then visiting relatives in Coe-low-roddo."
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Westminster/Huntington Beach, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennifat View Post
No way. Californians (and to a lesser degree, Oregonians and Washingtonians) pronounce all of their a-sounds as Os.

"Hi, I'm from Colifornia. Some people think we hov an occent, but I don't think thot's true ot oll."

"We're going up to Nevodda next weekend, then visiting relatives in Coe-low-roddo."
Never heard this in all my life. Did you base this off of a single person you spoke to?
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