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Old 06-01-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,087,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There is no single "American" accent or way of speech. Carver's "American Regional Dialects" gives a fairly decent breakdown of the diffusion patterns. I have totally freaked people out by listening to them talk for a few minutes, then telling them where they grew up, sometimes to an individual county or city. Idiomatic phrasing can be quite local.

My cousin in Vermont speaks the same dialect as some of the coal miners back in the hills of Pennsylvania, which is almost identical to Elizabethan English, as would have been spoken in the time of Shakespeare. Isolated farms and communities kept the old ways.

The increased homogenization of dialects began with the introduction of radio in the 1920s and 1930s, and continues on today with other forms of mass media influence. Regionalisms are often as much a matter of pride of heritage or group membership now as an honest useful speech pattern.
No but there were shared features among the American accents. Today, the regional varieties continue to converge. In the South, I notice that southern dialects are converging into one almost generic sounding 'country music' southern accent. The classical non-rhotic accents of the Tidewater, Piedmont, Low Country or the Delta are becoming things of the past. In the bayous of Southern Louisiana the Cajun dialect hangs to to life but sadly it might be a matter of time before it sinks forever beneath the murky depths of the boggy cypress swamps like a gator on a still moonlit night.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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On that video, the confederate Solider sounded (at times) like he was from England, (grandparent age roughly) but I wouldn't be able to say where as I don't hear any different accents cos south of England is just one big accent bar West country. (Farmer/Pirate accent)
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:31 PM
 
32,516 posts, read 37,198,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There is no single "American" accent or way of speech. Carver's "American Regional Dialects" gives a fairly decent breakdown of the diffusion patterns. I have totally freaked people out by listening to them talk for a few minutes, then telling them where they grew up, sometimes to an individual county or city. Idiomatic phrasing can be quite local.
This. There is NO single American accent or dialect.

Harry, Can you do this for various parts of the country?
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:07 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,087,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meowool View Post
On that video, the confederate Solider sounded (at times) like he was from England, (grandparent age roughly) but I wouldn't be able to say where as I don't hear any different accents cos south of England is just one big accent bar West country. (Farmer/Pirate accent)
I didn't hear much English in his accent, and I'm familiar with English accents, but I could see how most Americans could think of a Virginia accent as sounding a bit English.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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Quote:
On that video, the confederate Solider sounded (at times) like he was from England, (grandparent age roughly) but I wouldn't be able to say where as I don't hear any different accents cos south of England is just one big accent bar West country. (Farmer/Pirate accent)
At times it seemed to me that now and then he sounded a bit like Franklin Roosevelt, who spoke with that slightly British inflection upper class northeastern Americans adopted.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
This. There is NO single American accent or dialect.

Harry, Can you do this for various parts of the country?
Much of it. Some areas are much harder than others, largely because of migrations and mixing. I wouldn't be able to do Northern California at all, but the Northeast is pretty easy from Maine down through Cape May. Florida is funny, because you can hear the Northeast snowbirds on the east coast, and the Chicagoans and midwesterners on the west coast, and southerners up around Panama City.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
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quote: "At times it seemed to me that now and then he sounded a bit like Franklin Roosevelt, who spoke with that slightly British inflection upper class northeastern Americans adopted."


Yes, he doesn't sound Southern to me, in fact, he sounds like some native Rhode Islanders....
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:26 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
quote: "At times it seemed to me that now and then he sounded a bit like Franklin Roosevelt, who spoke with that slightly British inflection upper class northeastern Americans adopted."


Yes, he doesn't sound Southern to me, in fact, he sounds like some native Rhode Islanders....
There were and other varieties of Southern English. His isn't the cornbred Hollywood southern that is a caricature of Texas or Tennessee, but no less southern. In fact it was the original southern, but there is a continuum along the East coast, with Richmond, the old Northern Virginia accent, Baltimore, Philly, New York then Boston. The tidewater accent shared more in common with the Baltimore accent than Texas.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,539 posts, read 21,271,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Much of it. Some areas are much harder than others, largely because of migrations and mixing. I wouldn't be able to do Northern California at all, but the Northeast is pretty easy from Maine down through Cape May. Florida is funny, because you can hear the Northeast snowbirds on the east coast, and the Chicagoans and midwesterners on the west coast, and southerners up around Panama City.
Born and raised in socal. I can't define what it was, but when we visited nocal, up past Redding, there was a definate difference. I'm talking people who had lived there a long time. One huge difference is they didn't talk really fast. They did slur all the words together like socal.

One dead giveaway with california is that 'the'. We don't take 91 when go go somewhere on a freeway. We take 'the' 91. It still sounds wierd to not hear it here.

I saw a program about Shakespeare once, and they were at Colonial Williamsberg. The people who work there try to speak in period. It's apparently very close to the intinations that Shakespeare himself spoke, and certain of his writing had rythems and rhymes which it does not in 'proper' english. I'd love to hear some of the backwoods area language reading shakespeare to see what we are missing.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:13 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,087,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
Born and raised in socal. I can't define what it was, but when we visited nocal, up past Redding, there was a definate difference. I'm talking people who had lived there a long time. One huge difference is they didn't talk really fast. They did slur all the words together like socal.

One dead giveaway with california is that 'the'. We don't take 91 when go go somewhere on a freeway. We take 'the' 91. It still sounds wierd to not hear it here.

I saw a program about Shakespeare once, and they were at Colonial Williamsberg. The people who work there try to speak in period. It's apparently very close to the intinations that Shakespeare himself spoke, and certain of his writing had rythems and rhymes which it does not in 'proper' english. I'd love to hear some of the backwoods area language reading shakespeare to see what we are missing.
It's commonly said that American English is closer to the English of Shakespeare's time than modern Southern English English, or 'Estuary.'

It's also said the Australian accent is close to what Cockney sounded 100 years ago. You know what? I've seen black and white films from the 1950s and earlier depicting Cockney accents and they sound eerily close to Australian.

It's a pity we can never truly know how people sounded prior to the late 19th century, it's all speculation, although we have a few clues.
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