The Origin of the American Accent

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Challenger78, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    From what i see on TV and hear, there are two types of accents.. coming from Australia, i can't really tell the difference other than ones harder to understand than the other. I think ones called Bostonian and the other the deep southern drawl... ?

    So what are they and how'd they originate ?.. Anyone know ?
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  3. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    don't forget the NY/NJ one. And I think Boston's is different than Maine's.
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  5. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Ok.. So how do they all sound different ?. I know the southern drawl is distinctive but i'm only hearing of the NY and NJ one now..
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  7. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    I'm not an American, but I would guess that the accents evolved from the original immigrants that were a mixture of English, Irish, German and other Europeans. As the immigrants gravitated into their own ghettoes, they had to learn the 'local' existing English with its associated accent, add to that their own 'foreign' accents they ended up with unique regional ways of talkin y'all.
  8. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Any particular reason for the long drawl thats present in the southern regions of USA ?
  9. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

    Nope. That's like asking you if there's any particular reason of the difference between the Aussie accent and the British accent that the Australians came from? Any particular reason for the difference in the South African accent?

    I live in the South. I don't think I have but maybe a very slight accent. Most of my family has a noticeable accent. People down here say that I don't, but my friend from Minnesota, she can tell I have a slight one.
    Speaking of which, she has a Northern accent. She sounds like the characters in that movie Fargo.
    I can also tell the accent of NJ/NY'ers. People from Boston and the New England area also have distinct accents.
    Even within an area of a certain accent, i.e. Southern accent; you still have diversity.
    Here in TN, the accent is more of a twang than a drawl. Drawls are more NC, SC, and GA the 'Ahhhh doo deeclaya' is a drawl. "Howdee y'alll" is more of a twang.
    I could describe them better if I could speak it rather than type it.
  10. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Of course you have diversity, but accents didn't just happen by themselves.. they have to have had some sort of stimulus no ?.
    Just guessing here, but it occurs to me that accents can occur just through a mash of cultures. eg, Singapore, The english accent there combined with the three asiatic languages there, have produced their own unique accent, different from Chinese (english) accent and other accent.

    Ok, what causes the difference within one single language ? chinese or English ? .
  11. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

    You do know that every language on Earth has dialects, don't you? Mandarin Chinese is a dialect of Chinese. German has its Bavarian dialect and the dialects spoken by German speakers in Switzerland and Austria.
    French has the Creole and Cajun dialects. And Spanish; I'm sure Spanish people have a slightly different dialect than Cubans or Puerto Ricans or Mexicans. Portuguese and Italian are slightly similar to each other and Spanish, but by far not the same.
    It happens when a group of people are in one area and just start making up slang. Haven't you ever been with your group of friends and you all have your own slang, own inside jokes and what not? Don't street gangs have their own signs and code and what not? I think that's where language dialects come from. It sort of evolves over time.
  12. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    Australian accent had many other influences than just British( Irish was a strong influence) not to mention a huge socio-economic difference( original white Australians were deported prisoners) add to that a huge geographical isolation whereby a tangential direction could flourish.

    South Arican accent was hugely influenced by the Dutch.

    I'm just guessing but I imagine the U.K would have at least 50 distinguishable accents, probably many more.
  13. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    From Wikipedia

    For dialects of programming languages, see Programming language dialect.
    A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers.[1] The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class.[2]

    In popular usage, the word "dialect" is sometimes used to refer to a lesser-known language (most commonly a regional language), especially one that is unwritten or not standardized.[3] This use of the word dialect is often taken as pejorative by the speakers of the languages referred to in that way since it is often accompanied by the erroneous belief that the minority language is lacking in vocabulary, grammar, or importance.

    The number of speakers, and the geographical area covered by them, can be of arbitrary size, and a dialect might contain several sub-dialects. A dialect is a complete system of verbal communication (oral or signed, but not necessarily written) with its own vocabulary and grammar.

    A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect. Other speech varieties include: standard languages, which are standardized for public performance (for example, a written standard); jargons, which are characterized by differences in lexicon (vocabulary); slang; patois; pidgins or argots. The particular speech patterns used by an individual are termed an idiolect.

    A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (phonology, including prosody). Where a distinction can be made only in terms of pronunciation, the term accent is appropriate, not dialect (although in common usage, "dialect" and "accent" are usually synonymous).
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    I don't know how many accents there are in the UK, but it would be in the hundreds. In Liverpool, the women's accent is different to the men's!
  15. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I've heard of dialects. but isn't that just due to displacement ?.. So basically all the accents are just random bits of peoples slang and inside jokes?.
    Out of curiosity, what types of slang make you different from the NY or NJ accents ?
  16. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Seriously ? whoa... Man i wish there was a youtube video of people with different accents.
    Apologies Mikenostic but something about the southern drawl makes my skin crawl..hence my fascination...
  17. Why? Registered Senior Member

    Don't forget about the midwest accent. And I'm sure there are others within the U.S. The strongest, however, is the Southern accent followed by the New England accent.
  18. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    But what caused them ?
    Any light on this matter would stop me from cringing..
  19. kevinalm Registered Senior Member

    And the northern (Minnesota/Wisconson) accent, which is basically just imported from Canada.

    The midwest accent is generally considered to be the easiest to understand for the majority of Americans, so the networks like to hire tv anchors from midwest stations.
  20. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

    Southern slang:
    -I 'reckon' (means 'I guess so')
    -britches (pants)
    -soda (pop, coke, soft drink)
    -drawers (underwear)
    I know there are a poopload more, but I can't think of any right now.

    Northern slang:
    -ayyy ohhh. ohhh ayyy
    -fuggetabout it
    -you got a problem with that
    -bada bing bada boom

    California surver/valley slang:
    -hang ten

    I swear you must not have any friends whatsoever. Because if you did, you would have understood when I brought up slang within a group of friends. If you had friends, you would most definitely have your own little slang terms and inside jokes that no one outside of that group would fully understand.
    Now, apply that principle to, say, a group of settlers in a village and stretch it out a couple hundred years, and you will have your dialect.
    We don't have tape recordings of voices from the 18th and 19th century so we can't really tell when people that lived in the South, acquired their accents.
  21. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    I understand what you mean about the inside jokes, so you mean its like an enlarged version of the gringo slang that mexicans like to use..just with different words.

    Yeah, My friends slangs is pretty universal amongst gaming nerds...I've heard of surfing slang but haven't actually gotten down any words.. should be similar to californian slang i guess.
  22. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

    Exactly. It's not like as soon as the settlers got down South and got out of their wagons, they immediately started sayin' 'howdy', 'yall', and 'britches', etc. I'm sure the transformation took at least a few decades.
    I'm sure British people didn't immediately start saying 'g'day mate' upon setting foot on the Australian continent.
  23. oreodont I am God Registered Senior Member

    Southern Cal accent sounds like: ¿Qué pasa?

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