Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dialects at the Oscars

As has been noted more than a few times, last night’s Oscars telecast was a veritable cornucopia of accents. Best picture nominees features Boston English, Ozarks English, California English, Texas English, Received Pronunciation and, if you want to broaden the … Continue reading

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Australians do the Best Accents

I often use Google News to write this blog. Crude source of inspiration it may be, but searching for permutations of “dialect,” “accent,” or “language” gives me a wealth of material to ponder. There is one exception to this, however, … Continue reading


Posted in Australian English | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Dialects and Population Density

Since posting Americans: Intolerant of Regional Dialects? a few days ago, I’ve received a flurry of comments and questions about why Americans are less “accent conscious” than the British. There are many reasons that we don’t recognize the differences between … Continue reading


Posted in American English | 3 Comments

Why There are Less New York Accents in Movies

I hate how the mainstream media discusses dialects and accents. Journalists routinely fudge basic linguistic terminology, misquote experts, and indulge in all kinds of classist and/or racist assumptions. Case in point is this article Academy Award filmmakers need to make … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Americans: Intolerant of Regional Accents?

I often assume that the British are more accent-conscious than we Americans are. Let me put that more bluntly: I assume the British are more accent-intolerant than we are. There is a good bit of evidence to support this. Brits … Continue reading


Posted in Accent Reduction | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

Dialect Profile: The Cork Accent

(In this series, we discuss different dialects using actual video or audio samples.  This page uses the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For information about this notation, please visit my page of IPA Resources.) In Ireland, Cork means something more than the … Continue reading


Posted in Irish English | Tagged | 9 Comments

The Wild World of the English “R”

Compared to other languages, consonants in English don’t vary that much from dialect to dialect. Our vowels are all over the map, but our consonants don’t change much. For example, the English “m” hasn’t budged since the days of Old … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Is the Southern Accent Leaving the cities?

Immediately upon posting yesterday’s dissection of “y’all,” I came across a recent piece in North Carolina’s Cary News, titled Y’alls’ accent is fading. The article discusses the erosion of the traditional “Southern Accent” in urban areas. This passage sums it … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 5 Comments

The Remarkable History of “Y’all”

In contemporary New York City, it is common to hear local teenagers use the word “y’all.” A few decades ago, this word would have been confined to speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), who brought the word with them … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , , , | 53 Comments

Shakespearean vs. Modern English

For many years, there was a “standard” accent used by Shakespearean actors. In the UK, this was Received Pronunciation (RP), the “standard British” accent you hear among Oxford professors and in Jane Austen films*. In America, classical actors used something … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , | 9 Comments