Archive for December 2nd, 2013

I love stuff like this. I don’t think many people realize the US has a wealth of accents, thanks to the standardizing effect of TV and radio, beyond the stereotypical “Southern” and “Bronx,” for example. This article from the Washington Post provides a couple of category schemes. Here’s the map from one:

US dialect map

Naturally, having lived all over California my whole life, my accent and dialect is some blend of Southwestern and Pacific Southwest. But, I can perhaps hear traces in my own speech and my memories of my parents of “North Midland,” probably reflecting my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’s roots in Missouri and Ohio, with a trace of Pennsylvania German (Delaney’s “Region 12”); one of my mother’s German ancestors was a brewer there.

I recall from grade school seeing a movie about accents that showed a specialist deducing what small region of Manhattan a speaker came from by his accent and word choice. And I’ve heard that Southerners can tell which state in the old Confederacy someone comes from by his accent. (French Louisiana would be obvious, I guess.) I should look to see if there’s a detailed study of that, somewhen.

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