Monthly Archives: May 2011

Does Climate Affect Accent?

I have one last point to make about the accents in Fargo. After that film was released, I remember its dialect coach being interviewed on a glib entertainment news show (a la Access Hollywood). As I recall, she mentioned instructing … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | 18 Comments

The “Fargo” Accent: A Joke that Never Dies

It’s been fifteen years since Fargo was released in American theaters.  Set in rural Minnesota, the film turned an obscure American regional dialect into a national punchline, albeit a loving one.  Mention “Minnesota dialect” to an American, and they’ll give you … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 36 Comments

Pub vs. Bar: The Eternal Quandary

It’s Friday afternoon, a time of drinking and merriment throughout the world. As such, today’s post will focus on two words related to imbibing: pub and bar. Although similar in meaning, these terms seem to have different meanings depending on … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

The “Trubbow” with L-Vocalization

Listen to a three-year-old say “doll,” and it will probably sound like “dow.”  Along the same lines, a young child’s “trouble” becomes “trubbow,” “fall” becomes “foe,” “bell” becomes “bew.”  Or so it sounds to the average listener.  This  is what is … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , , | 79 Comments

Arrr, Matey! The Origins of the Pirate Accent

Ask people to imitate a pirate, and they instinctually adopt the “pirate accent” immortalized in film and television. This unique brogue is renowned for it’s strong “r” sound, as in “yarrr” and “arrrrr.” Pirate imitators may wonder, “What accent am … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

Was that a question? Belfast Upspeak

“Belfast upspeak” describes the upward inflection you find in Belfast English (and perhaps Northern Irish accents generally). In a nutshell, upspeak is the tendency to go up at the end of sentences? So everything sounds a bit like a question? … Continue reading

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Posted in Irish English | Tagged | 23 Comments

A Quick Break

I’m going to be computerless for the next two days, so I’m taking a short break from this site. I won’t be a presence in the comments section, but feel free to share! In parting, I’d like to share one … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Learn an Accent in 3 Minutes! (A Rant)

A while back I posted something about “accent savants” on Youtube. These are people with a knack for dialects who post videos of themselves imitating Cockneys, Americans, Irishmen or some other nationality. I find these videos harmless fun, even as … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Literary Dialect Transcription

We normally discuss spoken accents or dialects. But what about how they are written? Phonetic transcription isn’t so common in English-language literature these days. And that’s probably for the best. As a reader, I hate it when old novels spell … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Central Connecticut: A Strange New Accent?

I had a lengthy blog post prepared today but got caught up on a specific detail that I’d like to get your advice on. The clip in question is that of this college TV news reporter at Central Connecticut State … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , | 35 Comments