A fun video for your Friday, as citizens from each of the 50 United States demonstrate their local accents. A common thread that runs throughout is that very few seem to realize that they actually do have an accent, which probably tells us something about the way we think, and how familiarity and only being exposed to those similar to oneself can create incorrect impressions of what’s “normal”.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

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9 Thoughts on "Regional Accents of the United States"

There are so many more in Missouri – or Missourah, as they would. 44 is pronounced “farty-fahr”. Corn on the cob is “carn on the cob” When you make pancake batter you “stare it up” with a spoon instead of stir. You “wrench ” your hands in the “zinc” instead of rinsing your hands in the sink.

Accents are just a particular way of pronouncing words, so it’s always been strange to me when people say “I don’t have an accent” almost like it’s embarrassing to have one. Everyone does and that’s part of why language is so interesting and beautiful. The person from NJ saying he doesn’t hear it is more understandable–being from NJ myself, there are definitely a variety of accents depending on where you are in the state!

I loved the way this video was put together, flowing from one to another and cross-crossing the country–I expected an alphabetical or geographical flow. I thought Connecticut got a bit of a short-shrift. The biggest thing I notice here (being an outsider) is the dropping/shortening of Ts in the middle of words New Bri’un (New Brittain), Shel’un (Shelton), mi’en (mitten). I read an interesting piece about how the more southern sounding accepts start once you are south of I-70, which runs right through Columbus, OH, where I grew up. It’s true. My relatives from Southeastern, OH, have noticeable southern twangs!

Can confirm. Grew up in Columbus and now live in Cincinnati. I didn’t know I was moving to the South!

I was disappointed to see Louisiana get such scant attention in this video. Northern Louisiana mostly sounds just like Mississippi or East Texas, but the further south you go, the Cajun influence is palpable, and in New Orleans, it’s a complete melting pot of pronunciations, slang expressions, ethnic inflections.

One of my favorites is how much the New Orleans accent resembles the Brooklyn accent.

David, exactly. Visitors are often surprised to learn that Italians (mostly Sicilian) emigrated in large numbers directly to New Orleans beginning in the mid-1800s. There’s a lot of similarity between accents in those two locales, but many others as well.

There are multiple New Orleanian/GNO regional accents, all of which are quite different from the variety of accents across surrounding Acadiana, Florida Parishes, and the deadmans land of the northern part of the state. The NOLA one that sounds New York/New Jersey-esque (the Y’at accent) is limited to only a few social groups, and has different stress patterns to boot. See the documentary “Yeah You Rite” (http://cnam.com/project/yeah-you-rite ) — there are some good clips on YouTube.

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