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 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 2
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I am convinced that it is a combination of "nature and nurture" as so many things are.

Yes, it's a result of various speech patterns mixing, but since we also periodically run into local "accents" which are identical to known biologically induced speech defects...and since people have been known to suffer brain injuries or other neurological problems that which resulted in what is called "Foreign accent syndrome," I have come to think that many sub-dialects and accents are due more or less to inbreeding.

One example I have run across is a a peculiar British accent, which apparently is so localized, that it is limited to a certain section of London, near the Thames. It is most easily recognized, because when the speaker says words containing an "R," it sounds as though they were trying to make a "W" sound, and only said teh "R" sound at the last second.
 southbc
Joined: 4/3/2013
Msg: 4
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 2:08:49 AM
Accents are certainly interesting things. It's odd how often they have to subtitle television shows - even those purportedly in English.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 5
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Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 3:35:17 AM
^^^It doesn't surprise me. Here in the D.C. area we have so many different NATIVE accents, that even those who grew up here have trouble understanding each other.

Favorite true vignette:

I was waiting for someone on a street downtown, and happened to be near a subway entrance. As several people were coming up from it, a young gentleman asked a series of them the same question, but it wan't until the fourth person came up, that he stumbled across one who recognized he was speaking American English.

What he repeatedly asked was:

"Skoo me mah. Zah teh fo dah neh?"

Since I work fixing things, and therefore learned many more dialects and accents than most, I knew right away what he was asking, but most of the people he spoke to thought he was from another country.
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 6
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 8:11:10 AM




Is it to do with where on the planet we are or what we hear?


I'd say the accent is acquired based on what we hear.

I've worked with foreigners who learned to speak English in different areas of the U.S. It is quite something to hear a Russian speak English with a southern accent, drawl and all, mixed with their native accent... lol The chinese who learned to speak English in the deep south should charge for speaking... :-)

Being close to Canada, I often hear French Canadians speaking French with a clearly identifiable American English accent, it completely changes the language.

The Swiss are very interesting. Most of them speak as many as five languages and they speak each one of them with the original (or very close) native accent, that is, German with a German accent, French with a French accent and so on. When they switch from one tongue to another, not only their accent changes but, even the tonality of their voice changes. It's surprising.

 m8t
Joined: 3/14/2013
Msg: 7
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 11:31:47 AM
Being raised in the melting pot of the world, we as Americans hear our share of accents.
Immigration has certainly brought a wealth of languages, along with the butchering of the English language.
However I will say that all the years I lived in the south proved to me one thing.
Americans themselves can butcher English better than anyone,
not that I dont love southern accents ;)
 _babblefish
Joined: 9/23/2011
Msg: 8
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 12:40:34 PM

Being close to Canada, I often hear French Canadians speaking French with a clearly identifiable American English accent, it completely changes the language.


that's because it is different, speaking quebecois isn't the same as speaking parisian (continental) french, with
quebecois, words are different as well pronunciation and accents. . and it wouldn't be
american english, it would be canadian (brit) english that had some influence as well as being isolated (1700's)

also, not sure what exactly you mean when you say swiss speak with a german accent, swiss german is
different as well, important to note that not all germans can understand each other with their
huge regional dialect differences
 justlookingvt
Joined: 5/8/2010
Msg: 9
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 2:19:43 PM





speaking quebecois isn't the same as speaking parisian (continental) french


To say the least.



with quebecois, words are different as well pronunciation and accents. . and it wouldn't be
american english, it would be canadian (brit) english that had some influence as well as being isolated (1700's)


I'm sure the Brits had some influence at some time but, the French Canadians speak with an accent that is significantly and _obviously_ closer to American English than the also obvious British accent. This is probably more obvious to a non Canadian than it is to a Canadian him/herself. As far as the pronounciation, their mispronounciation of a great number of words, and letters, is part of their accent. For instance, none of them can pronounce the French "u", they pronounce it just like an American would, which is a mess that doesn't come close to the actual French "u" sound. The Brits seem to actually do a bit better pronouncing the French "u" than Americans and Canadians do.



what exactly you mean when you say swiss speak with a german accent, swiss german is different as well,


The point is that the Swiss speak with an accent that doesn't make them sound like foreigners. When they speak French, it's not possible to figure out what part of France they come from but, their accent is clean French not mixed with the accent from the other languages they speak. The same is generally true of their German and the other languages they speak.



important to note that not all germans can understand each other with their huge regional dialect differences


Yes, but Germans can tell a German from a different part of Germany from a foreigner. The foreigner almost always has a distinctive accent which is obviously non-German unless they learned to speak it very early in their life. The same thing here in the U.S, we can tell if someone is from the north or the south but, we also know they are not foreigners, whereas, the moment a Russian or a French open their mouth, we know instantly they are foreigners even if they speak the language with perfect fluency.

 Irish Eyez
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 10
Accents
Posted: 5/21/2013 3:20:39 PM
Sitting at Heathrow awaiting my flight to Belfast, behind me, I heard two people speaking in a very heavy Belfast accent. My surprise was turning around to see two Asians.

I have an accent; it's 'sing-songy' and Northern Irish. Albeit I have lived in Canada for quite a while, I'll be damned if I am going to become totally 'Canadian-ized.'

Growing up in Northern Ireland, it was fairly easy to note where people came from regarding the dialect.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 12
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Accents
Posted: 5/22/2013 4:07:11 AM

If An accent developed due to say 3 or 4 differnt nationalitys all trying to speak the same language then surely we would have modern day examples of accents developing far from the land they would normally.


? We do. Several such examples have been posted. Not sure what you are getting at there.


I am sure Climate/ geography and something plays a big part in a countrys accent


Good luck with that. Now, I do think that, as I pointed out earlier, since physiology (i.e. birth defects and injuries) can affect a person's way of speaking, that certainly an environment might cause a shift in an isolated population's apparent accent, without any other accents playing a part. But I know of no humane and sane way to test that.

No, I think that you are overlooking how impossible it is for parents to keep their offspring from learning EVERYTHING that is around them, and not just what the parents would have them learn. Especially in a world as interconnected as ours is now, accents are actually fading away all over the place. It's really a shame, since the variety is so much fun.
 Paul9473
Joined: 2/12/2013
Msg: 13
Accents
Posted: 5/23/2013 1:42:06 PM
Firstly there is no Aussie accent. Just like there is no English accent. Each are a family of a range of accents, like you pointed out how the accents in England vary strongly from village to village, there will be a variety of Australian accents. Its a lot more subtle the geographical variation compared with Britain, and blurred with other factors, but it's there nonetheless. Australia was founded as a collection of colonies and grew up separate for quite some time. The most distinct one I can think of is how South Australians pronounce graph differently. Sydney you'll get a bit more of a****ey & Mancunian influence, Kiwi's have a strong Scottish influence. And of course there's the obvious case of interaction with the aboriginal people (27 geographically distinct language families) which influence not just our vocabulary but all aspects of speech.
I think it is virtually entirely what we hear in the formative years; minor changes to adapt later on in life. Geography just happens to correlate with what you hear, gives people identity and makes them resistant to adopting new changes. Third culture kids who've moved around from country to country that I've interacted with have all been almost entirely without any distinctive accent except traces that match that of their parents (what you hear in your developing years is primarily your parents after all).

Oh and Churchill was a homicidal maniac so there's no love lost from his opinions.
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