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The american accent

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Davidoc, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. I live in northern virginia, and I'm used to speaking what I think's called an american/midwestern accent. From my point of view, it seems as if there is no accent at all, and other accents from around the world or within the country seem to have twists on them, while my accent seems flat.

    Now, what I would like to know, is if this flat accent is really flat, or is it just flat from my point of view because I've grown up with it. Does everyone view their own accent as flat, or is this an anomaly with the midwestern/US accent?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Everybody thinks their "accent" is flat, and everybody else's "warped".

    We were taught British English (received pronunciation, aka BBC English), and I guess the rest of Europe too, so all Americans speak with an "accent".
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes - I think everybody in Europe hears BBC English as neutral and all Americans have very pronounced accents. As soon as an American opens their mouth, anywhere in Europe it is immediately obvious that they come from North America - although most people wouldn't know which part - they would know they are not English!!

    I visited Russia when it was still very much Communist and I was with a group of young British people and we were treated very well. Welcomed and even given preference over locals, everywhere.

    But we met some Americans in Moscow and they didn't look that different to us - Levis and T-shirts, but they mentioned how they had been very badly treated even by Police. Turned off buses and even struck with truncheons/batons.

    But the only way the people could have told was from their accents - like on a bus - and English accent was accepted, but American was a reason to be loathed.

    Funnily enough - we also discovered (by accident)a black market trade in records - and the most desired - highest prices - were of course all American!! One stall-owner really treasured a Neil Sedaka single as a prized possession! ;)

    Whereas recordings of great Russian orchestras playing Tchaikovsky etc. were very cheap and I bought several home!!
  4. what accent? ;)
  5. Then of course there's American "broadcast English" which is supposedly "accentless" so everyone in the country will understand what's being said.
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Eastern standard diction.
  7. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Hint: If they sound stoopid then they're from the south.:bag:

    Just kidding, really:D
  8. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio

    :D ;)

    don't make me come an' git y'all!!
  9. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I can usually tell where someone comes from (within the States) by their accents. Hell, here in Pennsylvania, they're different from one end of the state to the other! To some extent I can differentiate between where individuals whose second language is English learn from. I can tell that my German instructor from a few semesters ago and a Pakistani gentleman I used to work with learned the English language from Britons...
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Does that explain George Bush? That would be very useful for us, as he is visiting us this week - maybe the Police could explain that it's just his accent, to the hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors on the streets!! ;)
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    :D ;)
  12. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Well consider that most automated messages, commercials, and other nation-wide recordings of voice have the "no-accent" Midwestern accent. I mean, the voicemail for Uncle Billy's Rib Shack in TX might have the southern twang to it, (Do people still say "twang"?) but call national level businesses and you'll hear no identifiable accent. Which is the midwestern accent. :D

    Or listen to those infomercials (You know, with the blue screen at the end- "Send check or money order for three cassettes or two CDs"), those have midwestern speaking people as well.

    I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the original post, but I always found it interesting. :D
  13. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Good story. :D
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Like ya know, Californians have the REAL american accents ya know? like, it's totally the most normal of all american accents......oh wait I live in BAAHHSTAN now :meh:
  15. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Do they still say "Wicked Pisser" in Boston?
  16. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    Coming from a good, middle class, pseudo bohemian london family, I of course have no distinguishable accent, and talk in correct, BBC English.

    Oh and Bruce, I cordially invite you to spend the night with us in Green Park keeping Bush awake with shouts of "OI BUSH WAKE UP" :p
  17. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Actually I have a pretty funny accent, given that my mother is British and my father is from the Carribean.

    It's still pretty much an "Ottawa Valley" accent, which is almost the same as the rest of Ontario with a bit of a twang.

    People in the UK think I'm American, but Americans always somehow know I'm Canadian (must be the way I say "eh" a lot :meh: )
  18. JMX, you beat me to it! That story was just on the radio about an hour ago.

    Everyone feels that they speak correctly, but that's just human nature.

    I think I sound just fine when I speak, but when I hear my recorded voice played back after I leave a message on someone's machine, I think, "My God what a horribly thick New York accent I have!" What am I supposed to sound like? :D

    For example: I say the word, "There," as "Dere" No TH at all. I say "Dollar," as "Doll-a" No R at all. And yes, I say, "Stoooped," not stupid.

    I once read that for as big as The U.S.is, there are only about 5 regional accents here.

    Now, a serious question: Why do so many non-Americans sound like Americans when they sing? :confused: Not always, but more often than not.

  19. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Because you model your singing English after American pop/rock.

    On a side note: I saw Canadian Genesis cover band The Musical Box 2 weeks ago. The singer recited the same texts Peter Gabriel used to do and tried to make it sound British - the impression I got was instant Monty Python. :p
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    Primary TB Assistant

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