It is very common to travel the US and find many different accents along the way. Someone may ask you, “What accent do I have?” because they may not think they have an accent at all.
The melting pot that is the US resulted in many different American dialects and accents. Just like in countries around the world, depending on the region, you will hear different pronunciations and usage of the same word. This is referred to as a different accent.
What is a dialect in contrast? It refers to different phrases, grammar, vocabulary and syntax rules for a particular region.
The US is known for its eclectic culture, and that comes through in the way people speak as well. Learn about the various American accents across the country.
American Accents by Region
Do you say, “Y’all” when addressing a group of people? Do you call all soda “coke”? What do you call athletic shoes? Sneakers or tennis shoes? How do you pronounce the word mayonnaise?
As Americans, we know from what part of the country a speaker comes by their pronunciation and usage of words. For a foreigner to this country, it is beneficial to learn the different American accents to better understand and learn the language.
New England Accent
New Englanders are unique in that a lot of them will leave the ‘r’ off of words. A famous jab at New Englanders is to ask them to say, “Park the car in Harvard Yard.” It will most likely sound like this, “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”
They also use the word ‘wicked’ to take the place of ‘very’ in a sentence. For example, “That was a wicked good game.”
Sometimes, they will add an ‘r’ to words that end in a vowel. The name Linda may be pronounced ‘Linder’.
The Midwestern accent came about because of influences of northerners and southerners that migrated north via the Mississippi River. Throw in some Scandinavian immigrants and the midwestern twang is born.
Certain one syllable words will be turned into two syllable words. The word ‘room’ might be pronounced ‘ro-uum’.
Another common midwestern pronunciation is the word ‘about’ which will sound more like ‘aboot’.
While the south can refer to an expansive area, each having their own names and pronunciations for certain things, you can usually pick out a southern accent. Unmistakably, you’ll hear them say, ‘y’all’!
The southern drawl can be detected anywhere south of Washington DC. You’ll hear words like ‘eye’ or ‘I’ pronounced ‘aah’. ‘I like you’ would sound like ‘Aah like you.’
Getting to Know American Accents
The complexities of the English language are further exacerbated by slang words and the many different accents around the US.
As a newcomer to this country, we can help you familiarize yourself with American accents. Visit our website to see what we have to offer.