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Originally posted by Nosred
(in these accents 'sauce' might be pronounced the same as 'source' and 'spa' pronounced the same as 'spar').
Originally posted by Nosred
reply to post by stillsearchin
That's true. Different accents for different parts of the country are caused by where the settlers came from. In Louisiana they have a more 'French' accent. People in Boston changed their accents along with the British because they had more contact with the British than other parts of the country.
Originally posted by EnlightenUp
The isolation causing "freezing" idea does not hold water for me. I would propose it was the opposite and due to integration of people of varyious accents who spoke a native language other than English. There's no good reason to suppose an accent would entirely "freeze". They should both evolve in mutual isolation.
If you listen to the accent in places like Minnesota, they it sounds mixed with a Swedish accent. In the midwest, it probably averaged-out with German and others. In south, I don't know.
I had noticed East-coast seems a bit more to resemble the general British accent more, yes, but it is still very, very different.
I also notice that accents have changed since my grandparents' time. If you listen to older movies or any radio recoded from the time, they speak differently. Much of it sounds a bit more British.
Britian, being as relatively small as it is, has a variety of accents.
The evolution of accents never really stops. I suspect if you time-traveled 200 to 300 years in the future, people would sound different yet again.
Originally posted by no special characters
Clearly the US accent is a mixture of lower class Irish and some traces of British English.
Originally posted by Nosred
A very large change took place in some accents of England that seems to have started in the seventeenth century. Speakers in parts the south and east of England started to pronounce /r/ only when it was followed by a vowel. (etc)
Originally posted by Electric Crown
my wife was originally going to go into broadcast journalism and from what she told me, the preferred regional "accent" for a broadcaster to sound like is from the mid-west. I guess it's something about having the least "accent" in the U.S. or something. I'll try and look this up though.
I just always thought it was funny because she would listen to how I said things and try and copy the way I said them since I am from S.E. Michigan and I guess i spoke "the right way". weird huh?
Originally posted by Lurch
There was a programme on TV in the UK recently about the Amish. It was interesting to me to hear that their accents clearly had a Germanic influence to them. They all sounded like my German friends when they speak English, it was pretty weird. People say that the Boston accent sounds Irish but I don't hear the similarity at all - however I could clearly hear the German in the Amish accent. Obviously the more tight-knit the community, the stronger the accent remains. With much of America being such a melting pot, no doubt this has diluted the early accents, which probably more closely resembled British, Irish etc.
Incidentally, I've long though that a strong Northern Irish accent most closely resembles an American accent in the UK, although obviously they're still very different. I think people outside of the UK would be surprised at the huge amount of different accents within our small island. I'm from Newcastle and have what's known as a Geordie accent - I used to work in a supermarket in my home town and occasionally coaches from Scotland would pass through and stop to buy something. On a couple of occasions, I had customers from Glasgow who I literally could not understand a single word they were saying. And Glasgow is only 150 miles north of Newcastle where I'm from. Mind you, people down south probably can't understand a word I say either.
The two most commonly taught accents (in the world as a whole) are both rather artificial: 'General American' (more or less a Mid-Western and West Coast accent, and used by some high prestige speakers outside this region too); and the British accent 'RP' (which developed in the private boarding schools of the nineteenth century, and is associated with high prestige groups in England). Both these accents are used over a wide geographical area, though in world terms both are regional accents (General American is a US accent, and RP is an accent of England). They are heard more, by more people in the country, than are accents which are associated with a smaller area: so people are familiar with them. These accents are the ones transcribed in dictionaries. Because they are used over wide areas, and used by people of high social class, they are seen as being suitable to teach to foreign learners of English. For this reason, they are called 'reference varieties'.
One island of early Scotch-Irish English speech was left behind and preserved during the push west. This special, archaic variety of English is known as Appalachian English. It preserves many archaic features that date back to earlier stages in the development of English in Britain. Forms thought to be substandard today are actually the outmoded standard of yesterday. A good example is the use of double negatives such as 'not nobody.' Linguists have dubbed this variety of English as "American Old English" or "American Anglo Saxon". Other mountainous, relatively isolated areas of the American East show a similar preservation of archaic speech. Mario Pei, a popular writer on linguistics, said that "The speech of the Ozarks comes closer to Elizabethan English in many ways than the speech of modern London."
--Retention of preposition in the progressive aspect: I'm a talking to you.
--propensity to use compound nouns: men-folk, man-child, kin folks
--fixin to, pert near, afeared, beholden (indebted), took sick, upped an, mess of (lot of)
--Rhyming euphemisms: swan, swanny = swear, land sakes alive, golly, dad blamed.
--Special distance words: This here, that there, that yonder.