Do Americans have an accent?

Dirty_Zulu

Diabloii.Net Member
Do Americans have an accent?

I've never heard a Brit trying speaking American accent. More often the other way around.

Have any of you non-Americans mimicked a American accent?
 

Necrolestes

Diabloii.Net Member
BBC1 - Bringing you the best of British television...and this show too.

Dirty_Zulu said:
I've never heard a Brit trying speaking American accent. More often the other way around.

Have any of you non-Americans mimicked a American accent?
You haven't seen much British television, have you? Just about every one of the shows has had an "American" on it...typically, the actor playing the part blunts his speech affect (i.e. doesn't enunciate every syllable, speaks in slow and measured tones) and may speak in a Southern or Texas drawl (because they are easier to mimic than what Americans consider regular American speech). Then there's the new Fox show "House" starring Hugh Laurie, a British actor of some renown. His American accent is quite flawless (and having seen him in "Jeeves and Wooster" and "Black Adder", I can tell you that he has a pronounced British accent so he's doing a heck of a job on "House" keeping up appearances).

For the record, I am an American but I am also an Anglophile and I have, on occasion, mimicked a British accent (both Cockney and "upper crust"). I also believe that Americans do have an accent but it varies by region (i.e. Boston accent, Southern drawl, Pittsburgh accent, Texas drawl) and no one from those regions can hear that they have an accent. Only a non-native can hear the speech and vocal differences between their own speech and that of the native speaker.
 

SuggestiveName

Diabloii.Net Member
Jude Law attempted an American accent in I (heart) Huckabees. Australian/New Zeland actors and actresses fake American accents often as well. Nicole Kidman? It's not as rare as you might think.
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
valley girl 'round these parts

as for the brits, oh yea, all the time, Alan Cumming in Romy & Michelle 4 teh win
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
itsPizzarific said:
yeah the mimicked accents are southern and hillbilly and texan and other western and stuff. not like urban folks or anything.
depends whether you're using urban as a euphemism, Ali G yo
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
What ya'll talkin bout? Gol durn it, we heah in Oklahoma dun talk funnie at tal ...

;)
 

Freet

Diabloii.Net Member
Necrolestes said:
(i.e. Boston accent, Southern drawl, Pittsburgh accent, Texas drawl) and no one from those regions can hear that they have an accent. Only a non-native can hear the speech and vocal differences between their own speech and that of the native speaker.
Not true.

I live in Texas and I can "hear" a person with a southern or Texan drawl. The less educated of Texans have a more distinctive flavor to their accent due to the fact that they have not been surrounded by others that don't use "ain't" and aren't named "Bubba".

I was raised, at least partially, in the back woods of northeast Texas and was brought up to talk like that. Only when I began my higher education did I realize how foolish most of this sounded and chose not to add to the problem. I made a concerted effort to improve my vocabulary and diction because I wanted to be thought of as someone that could be taken seriously.

Don't get me wrong. I don't look down on those that choose not to follow my lead, but I realize that there are those that do and I don't need that road block in my way when trying to muddle though my life.
 

Freet

Diabloii.Net Member
Ash Housewares said:
mission accomplished
*cough*
Not here you goob!

I'm talking about in the real world. Why would I possibly care what someone named "Ash Housewares" thinks?
 

Sokar Rostau

Diabloii.Net Member
There are as many accents in American English as in the rest of the English speaking world combined. The base accent in most cases is Irish (County Cork I believe), which is why the "R" is so pronounced. Some accents have ethnic European influences derived from English as a second language, especially New York. The area with the least accent is around New England (I think that's where it's from) which is almost unchanged Queen's (King's) English in some respects.

In some southern States the accent is not derived from another language so much as a lack of education and a general low literacy in the past, so you have words like creature that become corrupted into critter and negro becoming corrupted into...well you know what that became. It's interesting that this low education connection is maintained given that whites (the 'educated') are not allowed to use that word but blacks (the 'un-educated') can say it as much as they want to.

Americans seem to have a very hard time trying to get their tongues around the antipodean accents. Indian English seems to come easy, South African a little more difficult, and Kiwi a bit harder but for some strange reason Americans can't seem to tell the difference between a Kiwi and an Aussie accent and in both cases pronounce words in a very mechanical way (G'day mate is NOT pronounced Gidday (or, worse, Goo Day) mite but G Day Mayt). Many Australians were rather embarrassed when Americans said how perfect Merryl Streep's 'Australian' accent was in the film Evil Angels - to us she sounded like she was from rural New Zealand. Kiwi's pronounce six (6) as sex or chips as chups and have generally confused vowel sounds (which has led to the constant digs by Aussies that Kiwis share their sheep (in orgies) while we just shear them). Other times American attempts at the Kiwi/Aussie accents end up sounding like Cockney London types.
 
What I can never quite understand is where Aussies and South Africans (and some Brits, for that matter) find an "r" at the end of the word "no." To my ear, they always seem to pronounce it "nohr" or something along those lines.

At any rate, foreigners mimicking American accents? Lets see.

Nicole Kidman's been mentioned.
Charlize Theron is South African.
Catherine Zeta Jones is Welsh (listen to her T Mobile commercials, the accent comes out there).
Kate Winslet is British.
What's-his-face-who-played Agent Smith in the Matrix. Not quite an American accent, but it fooled me into being shocked when I heard him later.
Damien Lewis (was in Band of Brothers--not to mention about half that cast).


Anyway, that's just a smattering. I'm sure more meditation on the matter will come up with many many more.
 

toader

Banned
Yea, I would have to vote NO that there isnt an American accent.

Maybe specific regions of America have accents, but there is no one accent imparticular.

Ive heard other cultures try an American accent, which is pretty amusing. They just basically talk slower, and generally sound like a robot.
 

maccool

Diabloii.Net Member
Sokar Rostau said:
In some southern States the accent is not derived from another language so much as a lack of education and a general low literacy in the past, so you have words like creature that become corrupted into critter and negro becoming corrupted into...well you know what that became. It's interesting that this low education connection is maintained given that whites (the 'educated') are not allowed to use that word but blacks (the 'un-educated') can say it as much as they want to.

Funny, I learned that the low country Southern accent came from settlers with roots in Southwest England (Dorset and Somerset) and the Appalachian accent is derived from the Scotch-Irish settlers.

Your stereotyping makes so much more sense than immigration patterns and linguistic studies because everyone knows that Southerners are stupid; just like all Australians are criminals. I will now believe you instead because ignorance is so much better than fact.
 

LunarSolaris

Diabloii.Net Member
I would agree... I've tried to emulate the Aussie accent on multiple occasions with no success. I usually digress into some bastardized english/cockney blend that sounds rather pathetic.

As to the original topic about American's having accents - as has already been pointed out... absolutely we do. In fact, I've heard many Brittish describe the american accent as very "flat" sounding (and in one interview they demonstrated by putting a finger up to their lips to impede pronunciation). However, I've heard many Brittish/Aussie/Irish, etc. emulate the american accent very well, and conversely some american actors emulate others.
 
maccool said:
Funny, I learned that the low country Southern accent came from settlers with roots in Southwest England (Dorset and Somerset) and the Appalachian accent is derived from the Scotch-Irish settlers.

Your stereotyping makes so much more sense than immigration patterns and linguistic studies because everyone knows that Southerners are stupid; just like all Australians are criminals. I will now believe you instead because ignorance is so much better than fact.
You mean people don't say "ain't" in the south cause they're all inbred?

Phew. I was starting to think I might be inbred when I heard a cousin say it the other day.

EDIT: In terms of doing foreign accents, I find that the more outrageous they are, the easier they are to do. Scottish, for example, I find very easy to mimick--I just can't figure out the language enough to be convincing. Similarly, I can do a spot-on Dublin Irish so much so that when I was in Dublin I kept getting asked if I was local, because I looked American but didn't seem to have much of an accent. All by accident, btw. My mother pointed it out to me on the second day of the trip that I was slipping into an Irish accent every time I talked to someone. Must've been the Guinness loosening my tongue. I can also do a great Pakistani, but its the more subtle ones that kill me. My British, unless way overdone, is god awful, as is my South African, Indian, or Aussie. Just an interesting observation.
 
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