Ok, Just kidding a bit referring to another thread!
Question: Have you been told you have a distinct accent and if so what state or region are you from that has that accent? I assume our members from other countries have a distinct accent though I have met some folks from Canada that to me have none what so ever.
PS- My family came to Texas from Poland in 1850 and we have no accent at all....even Texan.
My father was raised in Brooklyn, NY, but was born with a cleft palate and couldn't speak understandably. He had an operation at about age 12, and then learned to speak in elocution class.
My mother was a child refugee from Belgium to England in 1914, and learned to speak English with a British accent.
I was raised in New Jersey suburbs except for two years in Ottawa (that's in Canada, eh?)
My first wife was from Alice Springs, Australia.
During my working career, I spent six years in Minnesota and three in Houston.
So, what's my accent? I dunno!
Gilbert, Forget any accent. I need to know how you only had a nine year work career! Must have had a great pay scale!
Actually, everybody speaks with an accent, whether naturally learned, contrived, or the result of some abnormality in the speech centers. All this regardless of their "first" or "second" language etc. Most people are not aware of their own.
I really don't know why? But I have been told many times in my life that I have a Texas accent. People from Texas have many times asked me what part of Texas I am from. Yet, I have never lived in Texas, and only once passed very quickly through it (a very relative term considering the size of the state, it actually took nearly twelve hours, mostly at night). However? If I do have a Texas-like accent? I can't tell. I just sound like me.
Michael P, I had to laugh when I saw the title of the thread. I knew what it had to be headed toward, and why. I look forward to some of the bizarre comments some of our regulars will come up with.
Okay, so I am a bad guy. I do like some of the OT "back porch" threads. I also do believe those are a large part of what keeps this forum one of the more active, most interesting, and just plain decent, places on the internet.
In regards to that "other thread"? I am wishing wonderful results to its "OT" request. This forum always amazes me. The incredibly wide-spread experience and expertise that frequents this place, is simply fantastic! Where else in the world can one ask such off-beat questions, and actually expect a serious, and intelligent, answer?
I speak "Arkansas Hillbilly" very fluently. I also have a very good "Construction Boilermaker" vocabulary that can be used as the need arises (but not in mixed company ) I also speak "southern" very well. So does that make me bilingual
I am told I talk "funny". I have talked this way all my life and don't where it came from.
I sometimes have to repeat myself or explain myself.So if you hear me talk danged if I know where it came from.it just happened.
Kinda like my hiccups.
I used to could hiccup like a man. 1 day while working my helper hiccuped and it sounded like a 2 year old girl.I laughed at him and told him to get a cold ginger ale and try that again. From that day forward I have hiccuped with a squeak and a high pitch. :0
I am a Native-born Texan who was teased as a kid in Texas about how bad my drawl was. Even now, after living here in the East for almost 40 years I've lost a lot of it- but people still ask occasionally where out West I'm from. That drawl is still there. LOL I speak to my kid brother (61) in Rio Vista, Tx....darned if I understand half of what he is saying. Ha!
colloquialism: from the latin, a unique speech pattern from a certain local.
I called someone posting a car for sale on this forum. They lived in Wisconsin. His secretary answered the phone and busted out laughing and said "You are from West Tennessee". So I had spoke less than one sentence and this women not only knew what state I was from but which end. I was also raised in the construction business with no filter. I also speak southern well Y'all and I'm fixin' to go work on my car.
I was raised in north west New Jersey, and that is not Joisey. My wife was born and raised in Wales, UK and still speaks with a Welsh accent. Her brother speaks Welsh, wow what a different language that is !
I went to N.C., and they said I have a midwest accent! I guess it depends where you go.
I have an American accent, with a lot of four letter words!
One of my best friends in the world comes from Kentucky, between my Boston accent and his deep Southern drawl, its amazing we can communicate at all, Especially after a few adult beverages.
Donnie, Hillbillies cut straight to the point.
Just a little something from history - Military radio operators were often chosen from the upper-midwest.... Because everyone could understand them! No 'dangling participles' or vowels that don't sound like vowels, numbers too. My bride is from Kentucky, and I sometimes need her to interpret conversations with her siblings. Quite alright though, and good folk.
(John, I liked your video!)
'Cabin fever' sure seems to be takin' over...
I'm always impressed by how convincing some foreign actors can be in playing Americans. I would never have known that Brits like Will Poulter and Asa Butterworth and Aussies like Mel Gibson and Sam Worthington weren't American if I hadn't hard them speaking their native accents. On the other hand, Americans who can do other accents are less common. I thought Forrest Whitaker was a pretty convincing Brit in "The Crying Game", but I can't think of many others.
I end up sounding like whomever I live around. So it's been everything from Philly to Hawaiian to southern. But if I get excited or angry I revert to a very southern accent. I've mostly lived in Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Ya'll I ain't got a lick o sense but I'm fixin' to change the awl in my speedster, haha! And those things you push around at Walmart to carry your stuff are called buggies. And soft drinks are either called soda or Cokes (whether it's really a sprite or Mountain Dew or anything else). Pop is my great grandfather and what balloons do.
Marv, you're quite right that cabin fever has taken hold on some of us.
I'm from the foothills in North Carolina and my speech has a little "Appalachian" in it. My son-in-law was a military kid and lived all around the world growing up. He gets a kick out of hearing me talk. Cajun speech entertains me.
I was born and raised in the Chicago area, and I'm pretty sure that I still have a bit of whatever that is that they speak in Chicago. I'm pretty sure that the only thing I've retained in my speech from Chicago is my "ing's"! Instead of saying "walking, or talking or laughing for example, I guess I say walk'n, talk'n or laugh'n. Can't seem to get rid of that, HOWEVER, I know that I don't "chrow da ball like dem guys, nor do I refer to dem guys as "youse guys" either, etc, etc.
It's very strange though, that I can usually recognize someone from the Chicago area by their speech. There is a very distinct Chicago accent, and I can pick up on that so much easier now that I've been away from "dem guys" for nearly 60 years!
One other thing that this thread has reminded me of however, is kind of interesting:
Many, many years ago, when the Tonight Show was hosted by Jack Parr (....I know that very few will remember Jack Parr, but for you young guys, that was the host before Johnny Carson...)
Anyway, Jack Parr had a guest on the show that guaranteed that he could listen to anyone in the audience for a minute or two, and tell them within 50 miles, the location where they grew up. And he did it successfully with three or four different people, and by their actions and surprised responses, I was pretty sure that those folks were not just "plants" in the audience either. I don't think that would be possible nowadays however, because we're so much more of a "mobile" society nowadays.
Neat "OT" thread you started here tho' Michael,....I think accents and such are very interesting,.....harold
.....oops,....I should have said that he listened to any of the "out-of-state" people in the audience, not the "locals" of course!
Donnie, if you speak Hillbilly, boilermaker and Southern, that makes you Tri lingual!
Allan from down under.
I’m originally from Eastern Pennsylvania .. Northeast of Philadelphia. Growing up in Bucks County, twenty miles from the city we were very aware of the “Philly” accent and worked very hard not to have it. After years of traveling internationally and teaching, my accent has become “hard to place” according to my friends.
France (my wife) and I also spent a lot of time in the West of Ireland over the years and had a house in County Mayo. It’s interesting that when you spend a lot of time in a country where English is the first language but sounds different, you start to take on that accent just so that people there can understand you. It always took about a week for us to shake it when we came home after a long trip.
Ok so why is the commercial trend speaking actors from across the Pond. Why a doctors dressed up with white drug store lab coats. Last doctor I had with a 1947 Ford business coupe and a magjical black back dressed like myself? Think they watch TV too much!!
I was born in Newark, NJ and raised in a nearby suburb. In 1952, three days after my high school graduation, our family moved to Houston, TX. I still have just a little of that Joisey accent.
Back in 1994, Sally Fields was making a TV movie, "A Woman of Independent Means") in the Houston area. Jack Thompson, an Australian actor (acting as Sally's second husband), and I were sitting together, discussing Model T's and A's of all things, when the phone rang. Jack spoke with a strong Texas drawl. The phone call was from someone in Australia and he switched accents to where I could barely understand him. I was quite impressed by this.
I'm from nc we usually need an interpreter if we are two states from home
I was born and raised in the deep South, and if I don't watch it, my accent can be pretty bad. You do learn to cover it up when needed. Job interviews, professional discussions, talking with Yankees that can't otherwise understand you , that sort of thing. We stay with friends at Hershey each year. I try to speak properly and clearly when there, but often fall back into my natural accent and then I get asked to repeat myself.
I am from Michigan. While in army basic training My drill instructor had a low pitch very southern drawl. I found it very difficult to understand any thing he said. I was always a little behind most others following commands because I needed to see what others were doing before I could act.
I am a native Floridian! I speak Southern and some Yankee. I joined the army and went to South Carolina,Virginia,Side trip to South East Asia,Alaska. Got out of the army tried Civilian life in Georgia got tired went in the Navy to finish my world tour. so the only two languages I speak with fluidity are Solder & Sailor. Good luck wit dat!
I come from John Noonan’s neck of the woods, and don’t want to go against him BUT I need to clarify his statement about having a Boston accent.
The arm pit of Mass has a mixed Providence RI, and Yankee accent.
The Boston accent is a mixture of Haaarvard Yaaaard, and constipation.
Although I live in the Northwest corner of New Jersey, where there are more farm animals than people, I was raised in Paterson, NJ (close to New York City) Accent?
My brother emigrated to Chicago in 1965. When the Vietnam War draft started he ended up in the USAF, even though he still held a UK passport. To avoid continually explaining his story he told people he was from Boston and most were happy with that.
A relative, deaf from birth, got cochlear implants. All sounds to her are amazing novelties. She soon said my wife's accent is far more rural than mine even though we're both born in the same town. But my parents weren't local and I went to boarding school with pupils from around the country.
A elderly relative used to visit from Glasgow Scotland and she was incomprehensible! She went to a shop near Windsor Castle and the shop assistant fetched their German interpreter.
I remember after 9-11 a couple New York fireman retired and moved to the county I worked in. 1 opened a pizza joint and the other I can't remember. Good folks but danged if I could understand them.
I had a college professor from Pakistan. He was a smart guy.Designed control systems in alot of US nuclear plants. I did well in his classes because i had to stare at him the entire time. His accent was so strong you had listen carefully. You could not take notes.impossible to write fast enough and keep up
I grew up in an Irish neighborhood in SW Philadelphia where most parents still spoke with a brogue, and we kids all picked up the non-italian Philly deez, dem, and doh’s.
I then went in the service mid-60’s and like the guy mentioned on Jack Paar, I think that I too learned each regional dialect very quickly to the point there was a difference in city West Va. And country West Va.
I then started to travel the USA (and world) for business at a time it was still rather rare. I learned to shed the Philly part and not to insult locals but speak what I called ‘Hollywood’ as…everybody understood the movies. There was an exception and that had to do with my work in Canada. There were quite a few projects in Canada, and I had a Professional Engineer seal for Ontario that was at the time a bit unique. I could ‘practice’ without a registered Canadian collaborator yet I was constantly challenged on this by customers, trades, and suppliers…Soooo…I just started speaking Canadian when I’d head north (which worked) and strangely had a bit of a hard time turning it off when I came this side of the border to home office.
Today the vast majority of folks have lost their regional accents and I blame that on cable TV for this. Remember that city West Virginia ‘accent’? Goes back to even then before even UHF. TV influenced that guy where the ridge runner country guy picked up everything without too much TV. Sure there has been mobility, but with that mobility all of the hard accents have been lost from Gen-x’ers until now.
A side that is cute…I lived in Northern Illinois for a bunch of years. My oldest son was born there and learned to speak there. We moved east to NJ in ’82 and when he had his eval for school entrance they told us he needed remedial speech before mainstreaming! We were surprised at this because he talked fine to us! I asked for some examples and their reply was, “He pronounces ROOF as the sound Ruff…sandwich as sammich…and washcloth with something unrecognizable!” I tried hard to keep from giggling and then said, “Guess we forgot to tell you, he was raised in Northern Illinois, just outside of Chicago, and we just moved here.. Their collective response was “ohhhhhhhh….” And he magically was mainstreamed straight away (grin)
Like Gilbert Fitz, I dunno what my "accent" is. We had a few very pleasant phone conversations, all I can say is I'd peg him for an "easterner". Maybe he'll tell me about my speech patterns ?
John, thanks for posting the link to Pattys song... That is exactly how our house sounded in the days when there were only 2 TV stations. (2 stations only if the weather was right) If you wanted entertainment, everyone got out the guitars, fiddles, banjos, dulcimers, mandolins, sitting in every corner of the house. Even a hammered dulcimer if grandma felt like playing. My cousin Kathy does a version of "You'll never leave Harlan alive" that sounds just like the one in Patty Loveless link. I could close my eyes and see Kathy singing that song in my Mom and Dads house back in the 1960s and 70s. My cousin Kathy even looks like Patty Loveless. It sent chills up my spine.. Everyone in our family "plays" something. We were heavily influenced by Arkansas "hill country folk", old Appalachian folk ballads, and old Grand Ole Opry. It makes me sad that the new generation is not "picking up the torch" Most of the younger kids in the family are somewhat interested in playing but they do not have the drive and desire needed to really carry on the music. There is just too much going on today for families to get together like we used to do in the "hills of Arkansas" We still get together a few times a year, or we go to Mountain View Arkansas and "pick on the courthouse square" every now and then, for the "city folks" and "tourists" who want to hear the "old music". But its just not the same .... Oh well I need to get back in the shop, cabin fever is settin' in
Years ago the recently passed John Hillerman (Higgins from Magnum P.I.) was on one of the late shows, probably Carson, recounting how he had received a nice piece of fan mail complimenting him on what a good representative he was of the English people. Then straight as can be he says, "I was born and raised in Texas".
My dad was a very gregarious guy, who seemed to enjoy and get along with everybody (well.... except for one of his sisters).
But he had a funny habit of picking up the accent of anybody he spoke with. If he was speaking with someone from Boston, within minutes you'd think he was from Boston too. If you listened to just his side of a phone conversation it was often possible to guess who he was talking to by the accent he assumed.
My mother was hugely embarrassed by his behavior because she was afraid people would think he was mocking them. But he was a very considerate person, and making fun of another would have been far out of character. He never seemed to be aware of his accents.
Yinz sure do have a funny way of pronouncing certain words.
I remember hearing about a radio program similar to what Harold talked about. The guest would read a list of words and the expert would say where he was from. It has to do with isoglosses, defined in Google as "a line on a dialect map marking the boundary between linguistic features." For example, there is a line that runs east and west near the center of the country. North of the line, "egg" is pronounced "egg" and south of the line, it is pronounced more like "aig." There's another one that runs along the Appalachians. West of the line, "merry," "marry" and "Mary" are pronounced the same, east of the line each one is pronounced differently from the others.
Interesting stuff, language...
I guess I need to chime in here. I have often been told that I have a distinctive voice, now as to what that means, I don't know, to me I just sound like everybody else. I had a Speech Professor in College who did the recognition thing, and did it very well, he didn't miss many, then he got to me. My People came to Texas in the very late 1700's, liked what they saw, went back home and married local girls, and came back to Texas, so I suppose I talk "Texas". My kids used to have me talk to them, specific words like Hog, Frog, Talk, Walk and etc., and just crack up. There was a man in California who used to call me on the telephone, just to hear me talk, and to me, he sounded funny. A boy I went to College with, went on to become a Preacher, now dead, once upon a time I was in a big gathering of people, many miles away from our last meeting and some 30+ years, and he walked up and grabbed me. I asked him how did he find me, and he said "I would know that voice in Hell". Well, won't be long and we can try that again. Most of my Paternal kin were puro Scotch-Irish, and talked like it. My Grandparents raised me, and if I ever got separated from them in Town, all I had to do was listen, and I could hear that voice and wouldn't be lost anymore. It was kind of a whiny, high pitched, very distinctive to that area of Texas, just about gone now though. My neighbor from Alaska invites me over periodically just to talk and listen to me, says it doesn't sound funny, just different, and just what he always imagined a Texan to sound like. When I was still flying airplanes, I hated getting a girl Tower Operator, I just couldn't understand them, they talked a 100 miles and hour, and real high pitched. Just as well I don't fly anymore, we had some spirited conversations at times getting them to repeat stuff to me. I think I will get a tape recorder and hear what I sound like.
I have been told that I have an Oklahoma accent, however, I have never even set foot in that state nor have any of my family. My father was born in Los Angeles and so was I. I don't speak with any accent, at least that I am aware of.
I think it was caused by my grandmother who thought that everyone should be right handed. I was switched from left to right hand at a very early age. I think my slow speech is caused because I think with one side of my brain and have to send every word to the other side before I speak! It has also left me left handed in both hands. That is clumsy. I turn screws with my right hand but pound nails with the left. I kick with my right foot and swing a bat right handed but throw with the left hand.
When I was in the service they partnered with me a guy from Louisiana thinking being from Georgia I could understand him. Ugh. His Creole was sooo thick it was hard to understand him. I used to make him mad just to hear his French English mix of verbiage. He was very funny and a good man. Had a heart the size of Texas.
Donald, your reference to funny pronunciations brought back memories of a discussion had with a host lady in Spokane WA. She said she was preparing vegetables for an Irish stew, which she prononced as stoo. I pointed out that the correct pronunciation was styoo, but she would not have it. Until I asked her if, when she went to church, she sat on a poo!
Allan from down under.
Spent most of my life in Minnesota. Most folks think we just arrived from Sweden or Norway if we visit out east or down south. Its fun just to add a little touch of "you betch ya" and "skole" every now and then. In the west and southwestern states I don't see that much difference. Too many transplants I think. The movie "Fargo" did not help our image a bit. The out of towners that were here for the super bowl were a great bunch of fans and we enjoyed the accents as well. Happy motoring.
Norm K, You are much like my dad. He was raised by his grandparents, also forced to behave right handed in spite of being born left handed. He also did many things left, and many things right, and more than a few he could switch. I was born right handed, however, probably due to his influences, I also do many things left or switch.
I am enjoying this thread. So many wonderful comments by wonderful people. And as I have said many times in the past, I love linguistics! Just another fascinating area of cultures and history.
Thank you all! And keep it up.
I never got out of the northern part of southern Missouri until I got in the army with a bunch of New York and Jersey Jews, now that is a shock Had one Jersey jew bought a note book and would come and set on my foot locker and say start talking so I can write it down and tell the family back home how hill billies talk.
It's interesting how some people take on new accents when surrounded by people with a different accent. I really don't think i could loose mine. My sister in law? Nuther story. Born and raised in AL, but married a guy from Boston, MA, and moved up there when they got out of the service. She now sounds like she was born there. Her in laws say she has a southern accent, but when pressed on that subject, they admit it is not the accent. They admit she sounds like them. It's the words she uses that are southern, only spoken in a Boston accent. Fix'n to go to the store and push a buggy around, but in a Boston accent.
When I was in ET school in the Coast Guard in the late 60's, I was in New England for nearly a year. We got weekends off, and sometimes I went to a friend's home in Bar Harbor, Maine. My buddy's Mom and I were usually the first ones up in the morning, so we would sit at the kitchen table and visit over cups of coffee. We'd sit, and sip, and visit, both laughing continually about how the other spoke. Good times.
Allan B., just curious, do you pronounce the same "eeoo" for :
blew, chew, slew, dew, grew, Jew, flew, or new - just to name a "few" ?
Seems to me it's shaky ground to expect logical regularity in the English language. Of course, those who don't speak the same way I was brought up are all "iggorant furriners". ; )