• Culture and Entertainment

    U.S. and North American Accents

    The Wired Accent expert Erik Singer that I mentioned in earlier posts has a series of three videos going into depth of the various U.S. accents. I didn’t know there were so many. He speaks in the accents when describing them as well (so cool!) It is SO fascinating. Obviously, he can’t hit every single accent. He doesn’t really touch the upper South (my area) and only briefly touches Appalachia (I don’t think all of Appalachia is the same). He gets to Canada in the third video (Newfoundland sounds quite Irish to my ears) briefly.




    There are SO many details that are things I’d wondered about or never heard of such as that North Carolina island accent that sounds British and the New Orleans, New York similarities. Louisiana has a particularly rich medley of accents from various places it seems. And the similarity between an Alaskan accent and the Minnesota accent.

    Also, the Northeast New England with “Mary,” “marry,” “merry” which are all pronounce differently (how?!!! I can’t even reproduce that believably!).

    He discussed accent changes on certain sounds both an early one and a recent one that is going on now. I’ve felt like younger people are losing regional accents, but I think he said that is not uniform? He also discussing “general American English” and how its a group which is more just less distinctly regional rather than actually one accent, I think he said. And he points out that the newer regions of the U.S. in the west have more one general regional accent.

    He featured experts on in African American and Native American accents and languages as well, but they didn’t speak in the accents and only showed short clips of people speaking certain words, so I didn’t feel like I really heard these accents.

    I just learned about Miami English in the last year or so, just by listening to Miami Youtubers, so it was interesting to hear about that.

    I found it ironic that while they add the accents these ethnic groups have developed for themselves, they use the term “Latinx” which did NOT originate from nor is majorly used by Latin American people. Is not that actually cultural imperialism?! It’s also just linguistically absurd.

    Also, for humor and Hollywood stereotypes, here is a comedian talking about Hollywood’s two southern accents: the Redneck (there is more than one of these in reality) and the Plantation accent (the feminine version is the Southern Belle) (I’ve never heard a real person use that, I think it did exist, in the Wired videos, it sounded like it still exists in Louisiana). Then when he talks about the “rich” people accent . . . reminded me of how obnoxious I found Daniel Craig’s accent was in Knives Out.

    (Upper) Midwest meets (Upper) East Coast. Brilliant. I’ve been to neither of those areas (I’ve heard both accents I think, I’ve heard upper Midwest and thought it was East Coast . . . I’ve also thought it was Canadian, nope much stronger than any Canadians I’ve heard), and I still think this is hilarious.  “Ma, no I’m still in . . . where are we?” “Wisconsin,” “Canada.” I’m crying.

    His whole Midwest Guy in series is a scream. Los Angeles, “I was gonna to go for a run but then I looked at the smog and figured it would be healthier to stay at home and eat a cigar.”

    Also his First time I realized I had a Wisconsin accent. I was literally in tears at this point.

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    I feel like I’ve linked all the Wired videos this guy has done. I wish he had his own channel with videos on all the different accents. It’s just so fascinating and lovely listening to an expert, everything I’d heard/read before was from the perspective of casual observer.

    Anyone notice in older tv shows and maybe also movies, actors were allowed to keep their regional accent? I just noticed that last year when watching Monk and listening to Sharona’s strong Boston accent. And later hearing the accents in Clueless. You can tell when accents are real vs. oh, I don’t know maybe Daniel Craig’s awful accent in Knives Out.

    I feel like now, everyone’s accent is “polished” out (Well, not Tommy Lee Jones, but then he is of the older generation of actors wait, those Texas actors in Supernatural still sound Texan too, I guess you can’t streamline Texans), actually everyone’s enunciated is polished out too, maybe because they don’t really hire people from the areas they are portraying. Are we all going to eventually sound Standard American, whatever that is? I hope not. How boring.

    Midwest Translation. I found this on Fernway’s Call blog. This is very specific to the upper Midwest, and I didn’t even know this accent existed until the last few years (and it really can be that strong although he’s obviously exaggerating his own personally; I, um, thought someone at one of my jobs was from the Northeast, don’t kill me, turns out he was from Minnesota, both are super nasally).

    By midwest, I was usually thinking Ohio Valley-Missouri and the flyover states. Needless, to say any Midwesterner I hear sounds NOTHING like that, it’s going to be “neutral,” country, or southern. I think the real American “neutral” (what newscasters are/were trained in) is the Salt Lake city/Utah area accent (per my favorite Albion’s Seed).

    Canadian accents can have a slight resemblance to the upper Midwest accent. Also, I felt like more of this type of thing could’ve showed through on That 70’s Show! That would have made it much more authentic, so would’ve hiring people from that area. I mean a few people had a performed accent, but I mean, I wanted more regional stuff, just day to day differences. I feel like they thought adding in beer all the time was Wisconsin enough.

    This pdf from the census bureau is the actual geographic regions of the U.S.


  • Culture and Entertainment

    If Digital Assistants and Such Were Southern and Other Funny Southern Things

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    The slow driving when there is a little rain. Yeah, that is me. When a few snowflakes caused the car to eject him, oh my word. We aren’t this far south, but I remember people scorning Atlanta when a few inches of snow basically stopped city traffic. Look, it makes sense for Northerners to invest in 4-wheel drive, and Northern cities in tons snow plows (we have a few), but Atlanta and around, that would be stupid.

    Amazon Echo for Eastern Kentucky

    “Fancified Pringles Can”

    “Your unintelligent personal assistant”

    Humidity. Well, the video is funny because it’s accurate but wow, humidity makes everything feel so much hotter. Don’t look at the temperature on the weather app, look at what the humidity is going to make it feel like.

    Our “overreaction” to a slight chill in the air. I’m so hot-blooded, I personally don’t react like this. Actually, where we are we do get seasons, but we make get all of them in one day. Way back in college a student from Boston was laughing at our “cold.”

    Country sounds to get you to sleep. “In Memaw’s arms.” The tornado siren and train. I put crickets on my sleep sounds recently.

    Things to Do in My state. Strike out “ope” and put “coke” for all soft drinks and this is what I saw on FB for my state. The deer thing, my stars its carnage.