Can someone please explain how accents work?

Originally published at: Can someone please explain how accents work? | Boing Boing


In Japan, this movie was called simply “White Voice.” It’s weird, but a good take on the topic.


Yous gotta knows the place theys froms, then yous know.


No matter what Ringo there has stated, we seattlites have no accent. We’re the boring baseline. The tedious run-of-the-mill. All other more interesting English speakers place color upon our bland means of ordering an espresso (“double tall mocha almond milk”) [wink emoji mauve skin tone]

(“you old fool! the lack of an accent is an accent!”)


As someone from the south who doesn’t have an accent, learn to fake one if you live there and don’t have an accent. People talk about southern hospitality a lot, but you definitely get better service and better responses if you have a southern accent.

1 Like

in contrast, I mostly grew up in Michigan with the somewhat “neutral” Midwestern thing but some MI nasal stuff. I moved to Nashville at age twelve and then on to Knoxville for university and most of my twenties.

in my time down here, I wasn’t immersed in thick accents all the time but I always had important people in my life that had a prominent accent. I assumed my accent would never change but I noticed that I picked up the dialect first (“fixin’ to,” “y’all”) in my mid-twenties. my jr. high school district had a pretty thick accent for urban south, but in highschool, the accent was generally more neutral but with maybe 20% of the kids and teachers southern-sounding. at UT, it was a similar situation on campus but the general population of Knoxville was predominantly southern-sounding to various degrees.

in my late twenties my accent started to change, helped along by my workplace being owned by a family from more-rural Strawberry Plains with that pleasant Appalachian accent.

I never lost the Michigan thing, either; so now I fluctuate. I have a dog and when I vocalize it, it’s pretty much always “dawg” at this point, for example.

1 Like

I attended Basic Russian at the Defense Language Institute, a year-long course. Along with Russian and Ukrainian instructors, I was surrounded by people from all over the States and its territories. Not only did I learn much about my own country’s accents, but also the few regional dialects of the Soviet Union. So lucky to learn about the sociolinguistics of the whole situation.

My “neutral” Midwestern accent drove my first instructor to near madness. It seems we don’t open our mouths enough for Russian vowels. My mouth felt more gymnastic after his lessons.


I don’t watch much BBC stuff because I don’t like to concentrate on figuring out the humor through their accents but…

We got hooked on Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, we both have found it much easier to watch shows where the people have heavy British or Irish or Scottish accents.

We now enjoy the accents, understand what they’re saying and have started using some of the words.

Our favorite is cheeky.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.