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View Full Version : What do these dialects of English sound like to you?



Hwt
December 1st, 2009, 10:49 PM
At the moment, I am quite curious as to what languages these very different dialects of English sound like compared to other languages. What language family would you place these various dialects in if you heard them for the first time?

Note: To save space, and time, I'm only going to list well-known, and very broad, dialects.

Northeastern American English (The dialect spoken in New England)
General American English (The stuff you normally hear come out of a non-local newscaster's mouth)
Southern American English (The dialect spoken in the southern United States)
Midwestern (Non-General American; stuff you hear in places such as Wisconsin, or perhaps Michigan.)

Canadian English

British Received Pronunciation
Cockney English

Scottish English
Irish English

Australian English



Example families to compare to:

Romance
West Germanic
North Germanic (Scandinavian)
Slavic
Semitic
Uralic
Altaic

For simplicity, I only included the language families I am the most familiar with, feel free to add in others that you think these dialects sound more like.

Sealbhach
December 2nd, 2009, 12:26 AM
I don't really get this. Is the question addressed to people who aren't native English speakers? I would think all of these accents would sound Germanic Scandinavian since that's kind of where the roots of English are.
.

lisati
December 2nd, 2009, 12:30 AM
I sometimes can't tell the difference between a Canadian accent & a "generic" American accent. And there are differences between the way Australian English and New Zealand English that are sometimes missed by those not familiar with either.

BloGTK
December 2nd, 2009, 12:33 AM
Well, the Midwestern American accent definitely have some Scandinavian influences, especially far northern accents. Although very few Minnesotans talk like the characters in "Fargo"... :)

JDShu
December 2nd, 2009, 12:39 AM
I sometimes can't tell the difference between a Canadian accent & a "generic" American accent.

The Canadians who live in Toronto pretty much speak in a Standard American accent. Its when you go towards the east coast that you start hearing something distinctive.


And there are differences between the way Australian English and New Zealand English that are sometimes missed by those not familiar with eitherNever been to Australia, but I hear the difference is Feesh and Cheeps vs Fush and Chups? :P

JBAlaska
December 2nd, 2009, 12:47 AM
Let's not forget the California dialects:

NorCal (Santa Cruz to "Over the Hill"-Silicon Valley)
SoCal (LAX to Santa Monica Bay-Gardena)
South Central (Crenshaw and Weston)
San Fernando "Valley Girl" (Valspeak)
East LA (Chicano American)
To name just a few...

Hwt
December 2nd, 2009, 12:52 AM
I don't really get this. Is the question addressed to people who aren't native English speakers? I would think all of these accents would sound Germanic Scandinavian since that's kind of where the roots of English are.
.

The question is directed towards anyone who has heard any one of these dialects, and a few members of the language family that they would think it sounds the most like.

Also, the dialects of English I put up there are not the only ones that can be compared. Feel free to post any dialects that you wish to discuss.

mamamia88
December 2nd, 2009, 12:52 AM
how do you describe a sound on a text based medium?

Hwt
December 2nd, 2009, 12:55 AM
how do you describe a sound on a text based medium?

Well, a number of ways. You could recall what they sound like, and post what language groups that you think the dialects sound the most like. Or, you could also look up some examples of languages on YouTube or another video site, and post what language group the various dialects sound like they're from.

lisati
December 2nd, 2009, 12:55 AM
Never been to Australia, but I hear the difference is Feesh and Cheeps vs Fush and Chups? :P

That's probably the main difference that people pick up on. I'm also aware of some sheep jokes, but since this is meant to be a family-friendly forum, we don't need to go there.

Paqman
December 2nd, 2009, 12:59 AM
Feesh and Cheeps vs Fush and Chups? :P

Bang on.

Lol @ the OP's vastly truncated list of English accents, btw. I wouldn't say either cockney or RP were widespread. Cockney accents aren't even that common in London.

slumbergod
December 2nd, 2009, 01:00 AM
The Best: New Zealand English
Very Good: British English
.
.
.
The Worst: American English

pasti
December 2nd, 2009, 01:02 AM
in response to mamamia88, like this:-

http://www.askoxford.com/contactus/wotd/pron/?view=uk

PacSci
December 2nd, 2009, 01:40 AM
Well, New England English tends to move around the R's. For example, "Mark" becomes "Mahk", but "pizza" (pete-za) becomes "pizzer" (pete-zer). Since I live in NC and my church's pastor is from Boston, I hear this one a lot, but now that I've gotten used to it, it's becoming harder to pick out specific examples.

I am a bit more of an expert on Southern English, at least in the Carolinas region. For one thing, it tends to draw out words a bit, whereas more northern dialects are a bit sped up compared to the South. In extreme cases of a Southern accent, there's a bit of a drawl. Sounds are frequently dropped from the ends of words, for example, "hunting" (hun-ting) becomes "huntin'" (hun-tin or hun-in with only a hint of T). Many distinctly Southern words are formed in this way, such as y'all ("you (plural)" => "you all" => "y'all").

Though one thing I've found about Southern English is that many of its distinctives are really based on nonstandard words and constructions, like "fixing to", and the accent is a somewhat more minor factor. Of course, there is much ridiculous detail on this subject at the Wikipedia on Southern American English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_American_English).

But really, in terms of vocabulary and syntax, all English sounds roughly the same. I don't really think of any different language families I would put separate accents or dialects in.

lisati
December 2nd, 2009, 01:46 AM
Well, New England English tends to move around the R's. For example, "Mark" becomes "Mahk", but "pizza" (pete-za) becomes "pizzer" (pete-zer). Since I live in NC and my church's pastor is from Boston, I hear this one a lot, but now that I've gotten used to it, it's becoming harder to pick out specific examples.


I agree, but there is some regional variation. Down south, towards Gore and Dunedin, your can hear the Scottish influence in the way they roll their r's.
Where I live there's more of a Polynesian influence, which I'm not sure I can adequateley describe.
I think of "pizza" as something like "pete zuh".

Chame_Wizard
December 2nd, 2009, 01:56 AM
I love British English(since Doctor Who episode "Rose" in 2007).:popcorn:
And general USA English.

Hwt
December 2nd, 2009, 02:17 AM
I am a bit more of an expert on Southern English, at least in the Carolinas region. For one thing, it tends to draw out words a bit, whereas more northern dialects are a bit sped up compared to the South. In extreme cases of a Southern accent, there's a bit of a drawl. Sounds are frequently dropped from the ends of words, for example, "hunting" (hun-ting) becomes "huntin'" (hun-tin or hun-in with only a hint of T). Many distinctly Southern words are formed in this way, such as y'all ("you (plural)" => "you all" => "y'all").

Though one thing I've found about Southern English is that many of its distinctives are really based on nonstandard words and constructions, like "fixing to", and the accent is a somewhat more minor factor. Of course, there is much ridiculous detail on this subject at the Wikipedia on Southern American English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_American_English).

Well, I'm from Texas, so I believe I can help point out some of our interesting words.

Y'all ( you all)
Y'all're (you all are)
Y'all'd (you all would)
Ta (To; pronounced like tuh)
-in (-ing)
Jew (You after a d sound in the word preceding it, except when preceded by the present or infinitive form of do)
Jer (Your after a d sound)
Chew (You after a t sound in the word preceding it)
Cher (Your after a t sound)
Zat (That after a sharp s/z sound in the word preceding it, the z is pronounced very softly, though)
Zem (Them after a sharp s/z sound in the word preceding it, very sharp and distinctly pronounced)
Zairs (Theirs after a sharp s/z sound, " ")
Yew (You; pronounced like the tree)
What're (What are; sounds like Wuhd der)
What'd (What did)
What've (What have)
're (are)
'd (did)
's (has, is)
've (have; pronounced like dove, with a very deep uh sound; almost like a grunt.)
our (pronounced like are)
Yer (Your)
Yers (Yours)
Fer (For; pronounced like fur)
Thuh (The)
Awl (All)

There're moor, buht ar vernaquler is so thick, that I dohn't have thuh time ta write them awl down.

I'm goin ta wait fer moor replies.

amazingtaters
December 2nd, 2009, 02:30 AM
Well, the Midwestern American accent definitely have some Scandinavian influences, especially far northern accents. Although very few Minnesotans talk like the characters in "Fargo"... :)

Fargo is in North Dakota. I've always wondered why the movie took place in MN.

I would say that the Midwest American is the most neutral, at least if we're talking about people from urban areas. For instance, people from Kansas City and Indianapolis really don't have much of an accent, their speech is rather bland. St. Louisans have abit of an accent, but not to the extent that a New Englander or someone out of the deep south would have.

this is new york not l.a.
December 2nd, 2009, 02:40 AM
For some reason here in upstate New York everyone has adopted a southern/redneck accent mixed with some "bro" talk.

Examples:

Bud as in Buddy turns into Bawd or Bahd. Unless you're talking about bud light. Then bud is pronounced correctly.

Man has turned into Mang.

Creek has turned into Crik.

Bro as in Brother has turned into Brah or Bray.

Roof has inevitably turned into Rough.

Typical sentence here:

Typical upstater: Hey bawd, lets go down to the crik and drink some Bud Light.

Me: Nah dude. I'm just gonna stay home and have some PBR and listen to music.

Upstater: PBR? Wha-chew talkin' 'bout mang?

Marvin666
December 2nd, 2009, 02:45 AM
I live in southern ohio, and here most people here (including me) pronounce words as written. No yall, dem, waz, wut, crick (creek), etc. People here don't even use the "word" ain't. If you go to ketucky, or talk to somebody from there, they do use crik, ain't, taters (potatoes), etc. I normally here people here pronounce sony with a short o, but in kentucky, it's usually a long o.

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 2nd, 2009, 02:48 AM
Well, I'm from Texas, so I believe I can help point out some of our interesting words....

You forgot one of my favorites.

English: "I must."

Texan: "I'm gonna hafta."

Rough translation: "I am going to have to."

Example usage: "I'm gonna hafta hunker down and get it done."

chousho
December 2nd, 2009, 03:12 AM
For some reason here in upstate New York everyone has adopted a southern/redneck accent mixed with some "bro" talk.
Ugh, we get this in the southern tier (Binghamton area) we get this. I think it comes from having a mix of middle-of-nowhere NY/dem city folk/MTV mentality. I can hear a mix of different ways of speaking from one person. Also, how on earth did redneck talk become adopted up here, anyway? That still confuses me. *shrug*


Jew (You after a d sound in the word preceding it, except when preceded by the present or infinitive form of do)
Jer (Your after a d sound)
Chew (You after a t sound in the word preceding it)
Cher (Your after a t sound)

The funny thing is that this is a natural langauge phenomena, at least I think. In Japanese if you place a "t" with "ya", "yu" or "yo" you get "cha", "chu" and "cho". The same with "z" and the above giving you "ja", "ju" and "jo".

So "won't you" becomes "won'tcha", "did you" becomes "didja", etc.


About Southern dialects: I'm going soley off what I've heard, but I was told that the people who live in the South kept an older way of speaking from before, while those in the north (Boston, NY, etc) picked up other ways of speaking from being in contact with different people through trade. Or something along the lines of that awkward sentence I just typed...

this is new york not l.a.
December 2nd, 2009, 03:17 AM
Ugh, we get this in the southern tier (Binghamton area) we get this. I think it comes from having a mix of middle-of-nowhere NY/dem city folk/MTV mentality. I can hear a mix of different ways of speaking from one person. Also, how on earth did redneck talk become adopted up here, anyway? That still confuses me. *shrug*

I have no idea. One day I just woke up and everyone was talking like that.

Hwt
December 2nd, 2009, 03:20 AM
The funny thing is that this is a natural langauge phenomena, at least I think. In Japanese if you place a "t" with "ya", "yu" or "yo" you get "cha", "chu" and "cho". The same with "z" and the above giving you "ja", "ju" and "jo".

So "won't you" becomes "won'tcha", "did you" becomes "didja", etc.


We don't replace our long u sounds with schwas, though. It just changes the first consonant. Did you -> Did jew



About Southern dialects: I'm going soley off what I've heard, but I was told that the people who live in the South kept an older way of speaking from before, while those in the north (Boston, NY, etc) picked up other ways of speaking from being in contact with different people through trade. Or something along the lines of that awkward sentence I just typed...

I wouldn't be surprised, as most of the immigration from other countries came to New York in the United States' earlier years. A lot of people in the early South were second sons, debters, and criminals. To be honest, if you really listen to it, you can hear a bit of similarities between a cockney accent and a Southern American English accent.

By the way, a few people from Northwestern Germany that I have talked to have said that the dialect of English spoken in the Southern United States sounds a lot like Bavarian German. So perhaps your theory is correct. ;)

Marvin666
December 2nd, 2009, 03:23 AM
I've actually flipped through a german-english dictionary before, and the words did resemble a very strong southern accent.

PacSci
December 2nd, 2009, 03:37 AM
I agree, but there is some regional variation. Down south, towards Gore and Dunedin, your can hear the Scottish influence in the way they roll their r's.
Where I live there's more of a Polynesian influence, which I'm not sure I can adequately describe.
I think of "pizza" as something like "pete zuh".

Um...I think you have New England (the Northeastern region in the United States consisting of the states Massachussetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut) confused with New Zealand (the nation in your avatar). Of course, since you're used to hearing New Zealand and I'm used to New England, that's probably the source of the confusion. (And probably Boston isn't that recognizable when it's a city on the other side of the world.) Though it might be interesting to hear a New Zealander and a New Englander side by side. :-D

lisati
December 2nd, 2009, 03:52 AM
Um...I think you have New England (the Northeastern region in the United States consisting of the states Massachussetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut) confused with New Zealand (the nation in your avatar). Of course, since you're used to hearing New Zealand and I'm used to New England, that's probably the source of the confusion. (And probably Boston isn't that recognizable when it's a city on the other side of the world.) Though it might be interesting to hear a New Zealander and a New Englander side by side. :-D

My bad. Perhaps I could have said "there is regional variation here in New Zealand,..." My intent was to agree with the lazy "r". Perhaps I should learn to proofread my posts better!!!! :)