“What accent is that?” Can you tell the difference between American Accents and other accents?
It’s a simple question, but one that makes us scratch our heads. For those who grew up in the New York or anywhere down south, we know it’s the first thing someone notices as soon as we open our mouths.
But is there more than just the stereotypical American accents? Some Americans would say no while others beg to disagree.
If you want to learn more about the American accent and what the general American accent is, read on!
General American Accent
If you hear someone speaking and you know they are American, but can’t quite place where they are from, that’s a general American accent. By definition, a general American accent is one that is not categorized by a specific region, ethnic group, or socioeconomic status.
A great example of general American is what we hear on the news. Most newscasters and news anchors are expected to speak the same way; this goes hand in hand with the belief that anyone can turn on the news from anywhere in the US and it will all sound the same.
Stereotypical American Accents
Outside of the general American accents are the stereotypical American accents. These accents are found all over the country but are found mostly in the New York, New England, and southern areas.
The way these are differentiated is by the pronunciation of certain letters or even by dropping them altogether. Keep in mind that while one area of the United States might pronounce a word one way, another area will pronounce it completely differently. It’s important to know the pronunciation differences between American accents.
United States Accent
Though some people might work hard to speak with a general American accent, they aren’t able to erase their dialect completely. Some people, like Colbert, work on their accents or change it altogether so people hold them in higher regard or they sound smart.
Not only do accents differ depending on location, but phrases and even names of things are known as something different in other regions. What’s known as a lightning bug near Ohio and Tennessee is referred to as a firefly on the West Coast.
To answer the ever-popular question: are all American accents the same? From New York to California, we say no. While most may talk with a general American accent, everyone is born with one type of dialect or another.
New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and New Englanders will all agree their accents differ very much from one another. Someone new to America might think that a Texan sounds similar to someone from Georgia.
Disregarding newscaster accents who work to speak the same way on purpose, their dialect may still stand out.
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