Ever wonder how people sound in different parts of the United States? PBS’s extensive website, “Do You Speak American?” has a wealth of information about regional variation in American English. Not only do we use different words in different parts of the country, but our accents are different. You can listen to recordings from different cities across the US here. How does your city sound compared to the others?
Image credit: Robert Delaney
Regional varieties of American English are still going strong in this country, despite the homogenization of “broadcast speech” heard on the tv news. You might be interested to learn what your own biases are when it comes to labeling regional accents as “standard.” While linguists believe that every region has its own standard, there are socio-linguistic trends and preferences that make people believe one American accent is more typical than another. When you are trying to make yourself understood, your best approach is to strive for an accent that is comfortable for you, matches those with who you communicate the most, and has some of the elements used in American accent training such as slow rate and clearly pronounced consonant sounds.
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