Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Rise of Creaky Voice

Sometimes when I’m writing a post, I stumble upon something intriguing enough that it makes me change topic mid-stream. Today is one of those days. I was going to look at the differences between General American accents among younger vs. … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 25 Comments

On the STRUT Vowel and Spelling

To put it mildly, the English language has a tricky spelling system.  It’s confusing, illogical, archaic and often just bizarre.  Case in point: in standard British English the letter o can, depending on context, represent nine out of the twelve … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged | 26 Comments

Can You be Bi-Accented?

Continuing yesterday’s discussion of the accents of transplants, I’m mulling over a related question: can someone be bi-accented? Just as there are bilinguals, are there some people who are native speakers of multiple accents? I should clarify. I’m not talking about … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 59 Comments

The Accents of Transplants

We’ve all met them.  The semi-British, the semi-American, the semi-Irish.  I speak, of course, of people who have left their home countries (or regions) for elsewhere, and whose original accents are starting to change.  Not only are their native regionalisms … Continue reading

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Posted in Accent Reduction | 62 Comments

“Um” in Different Accents

All dialects of English have “filler” words. Just to name a few: er, ah, um, eh, or the increasingly common like* and you know. We humans are a hesitant bunch, and these words offer brief moments of reflection. What’s interesting … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Twangs vs. Drawls

I would like to discuss a pair of very unscientific words that describe accents or dialects of English: twang and drawl. Both words are associated with the accents of the American South; one often hears of the “Texas twang” or the … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged | 21 Comments

A Brief Clarification About New Zealand Accents

I want to quickly clear something up about New Zealand accents, since the topic was touched upon briefly yesterday. In New Zealand English, the vowel in “short e” words like dress or bed moves very close to the vowel that Americans and … Continue reading

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

The Pin-Pen Merger

I used Ancestry.com for a few months, before it got a bit too expensive. One of the main family branches that I researched were (was?) the Kendricks, a family in Kentucky that has been in that state for several generations. … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

“Ayuh”: America’s Oddest “Yes”

Growing up in Southern New England, I heard tell of a near-mythical dialect feature from Maine and other places further north: ayuh. This word is the informal version of “yes” in Maine, and, unusually for semi-archaic dialect words, it has … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 39 Comments

Swallowed ‘r’ in Glasgow

I have a very quick request, for you budding amateur phoneticians out there. After yesterday’s conversation touched on Glasgow English, I looked for a few samples of this accent on YouTube. Glasgow is perhaps the only city in the English-speaking … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 6 Comments