Monday, July 21, 2008

How not to sound American

The BBC has an article today on how to sound American. Apparently I've been doing it all wrong for the last 23 years. People in the UK seem to be fooled though as they always think I'm American, even when I'm doing my best to sound English again. Americans aren't so sure, as they often ask me if I'm from Australia or New Zealand. I suppose, given my job, I really should work at perfecting my American accent - teaching newcomers to the United States how to speak English! (Of course, I always joke that they had to hire a Brit to teach 'proper' English!)

In the comments on the BBC article, someone noted that English people trying to do an American accent often put on a Southern American accent. For some reason my Dear Daughter often sounds like a Southerner. I have never particularly noticed her sounding English in the first place though - after all, she was born here and has spent relatively little time in the UK. Maybe the Southern accent is her overcompensating in trying to make sure she sounds really American? Is she imitating my accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South
The West
The Inland North
The Northeast
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

No, apparently not, so she's probably just imitating some character on TV!


Bluestreak said...

NIIIIIIIIICE. I took the quiz and my accent is "the lowest common denominator of American speech". I knew it! 100% from the West.

Maddy said...

Ooo I shall just have to have a go!

Marinade = oil and rice vinegar in equal proportions, tablespoonful of garlic, tbs of Herbes de Provence, tbs of wholegrain Dijon mustard = yummy.

Mmm said...

Very interesting. I laugh when people with thick Asian accents in the UK don't hear much of my accent and yet think somehow they are more English than I, with their own thick foreign heritage accent and all!

Kay said...

Thanks so much for visiting me. I had fun reading your post. Accents are very interesting to me because I first had a Hawaiian pidgin accent, then a Midwest Chicago accent and now I'm sort of back to Hawaii again. I just love the British accent!

Canoez said...

Well, in the whole scheme of things, I think you turn the accent on and off almost at will, although the longer you spend away from the UK, the harder it seems to get.

I can recall visiting a store selling British foods and other goods not commonly found here and we were the only people in the store other than the owner. A woman walked in with a young man. The next thing I knew, the woman was talking with a thick Scottish accent and there was this other woman speaking with a heavy English (northwestern...) accent. It was Almost American.

When she and her sister get together and start talking, the accent changes yet again!

Anonymous said...

Do you know I just took that test -and answering the questions as a 100% total English person, with a pretty standard (almost posh but not quite) well pronounced English, the result was:

You are from NEW YORK !!!!!

PMP !!!!

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