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Accents

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

What is it about accents? Everyone has a favorite accent. Whether you believe it or not, you speak with an accent — to people with other accents.

Take English, and variations of same.

Probably the most common accent in the US is the “mainstream” accent — think national TV newscaster and you’ve got it. We’ve removed most regional inflections from it and it is this accent that we force on the majority of people who want to hack it in the business world. Even in areas where other accents dominate, you have to speak a certain way or you’re not going to get ahead. The Western part of the country tends to speak mainstream, and it’s use is spreading. Unfortunately.

It is the Kraft processed American cheese of accents.

Another common American accent is what I call¬†rural¬†American. You’ll hear this accent in farming communities in many states. I’ve heard it in Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Ohio, and Oregon. There’s variations of rural, but when you hear it, you’ll know it. The strongest variation is Western, as in Texas.

The East has a rich variety of accents from Maine fisherman to Boston to New Jersey to New York and all parts in between. One of the things I particularly liked about living in Vermont and Massachusetts was the wealth of expressions and the number of accents. Never dull.

Then there’s the southern drawl, with its connotations of lazy hot summer days, and hospitality and warmth. Nothing better than a well applied drawl to make people stand up and take notice.

Outside of the US, the assortment of accents become richer. Canada has its own variety of accents, from the “oot and aboot” of Newfoundland to the use of “eh” as a catch all ending in other parts of the country. As Canada also has a French speaking population, a charming French accent is added to English within parts of the East.

The accents in the United Kingdom are striking. Cockney, Liverpool, Oxford, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Scot — the different dialects are so extreme, they’re almost different variations of English.

How about Australia? Everyone in Australia does NOT speak like Crocodile Dundee. As I found out working with several people from Australia, as with any other larger countries, you get variations, some more extreme then others.

We all have our particular likes and dislikes with accents. I like English accents, and find them very sexy. Same for Australian. Why? Don’t know, just do. I don’t think mainstream American is sexy, probably because I speak it. I’m also not overly enamored of stronger Boston accents, though I’ve become fond of them in time.

As just mentioned, I speak mainstream American for the most part, but sometimes the accent of my youth will surface. It’s part rural and part Canadian, somewhat Fargo in nature. I use ‘eh’ to end my sentences, and will drawl occasionally when I’m tired or in certain moods. I don’t quite use “oot and aboot”, but can come close. I pronounce “salmon” with the ‘l’ sound — everyone in the community where I grew up does. Sa-l-mon. Perhaps it’s our thrifty nature: don’t add a letter if you’re not going to use it.

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