Category Archives: Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects

The accents of smaller English-speaking areas such as British South Africa, the Carribean countries, and other places not in the British Isles or North America.

“Fourth Person:” You, One, Y’All

In most English speaker’s everyday language, “you” can represent an indefinite referent. That is, when I say “you never can tell” I don’t mean that you, the specific person I’m talking to, never can tell, but rather that “somebody never can … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Race and “Voice Quality:” A Skeptic’s Viewpoint

During an unrelated Google search the other day, I stumbled upon this Yahoo Answers query: Can you tell someone’s race from the sound of their voice? I was wondering if you could tell if someone was white or black etc by hearing … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 34 Comments

Irvine, The Prince, And Military Dialects

Food Network addicts will recognize the inspiration for today’s post, Robert Irvine, the energetic host of Restaurant:Impossible. From the moment I heard Irvine speak, I was more struck by his odd idiolect than his culinary acumen: Irvine is an Englishman … Continue reading

Share

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

Different Kinds of “Ah”

In linguist Tom Roeper’s excellent book on language acquisition, The Prism of Grammar, he makes this observation about Boston accents: In Boston, there are two forms of r-lessness, heard in two ways of saying ‘Harvard:’ ‘Hahvid’ and ‘Haavid.’ The first … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Prime Ministaw:” Jamaican Rounded Schwa

Most Anglophone Caribbean nations have dialect continua, with an English Creole at one end and some variety of Standard English at the other. I find Jamaica’s continuum particularly fascinating for the ways in which “Jamaican English” (i.e. Standard English as spoken … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Spread of a Slur

Jane Eyre complains of being “fagged” in Charlotte Bronte‘s masterpiece; a small road in northern England is named “Faggy Lane;” and who can forget Alfred Gurney’s heartwarming 1884 poetry collection, A Christmas Faggot? The preceding paragraph makes me cringe, no … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Joey Barton and “French-English Accents”

By now, I suspect many readers have watched Liverpudlian footballer Joey Barton‘s recent interview about his French debut. I have little to say about his accent, other than to remind everyone that this native Englishman has spent but a few … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

“Americanized” Non-American Novels

I’m reading (and enjoying) my first Inspector Rebus novel, Fleshmarket Alley, by Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin. Non-American Rebus fans may not recognize the book’s American title, as it goes by the more evocative moniker Fleshmarket Close in the UK. Why it must be spelled out … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 32 Comments

Higgins’ Boast

I heard rumors in college of a speech teacher with an exceptional knack for guessing dialects. He could supposedly pinpoint, within ten miles, where a student was from. “Ohio,” he would deduce. “About seven miles west from Akron.” “Bangor, Maine.” … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged | 44 Comments

South African ‘ee’

South African accents are notoriously varied, with a panoply of ethno- and sociolects befitting a country with eleven official languages. But almost all South African English is marked by its pronunciation of the ‘ee‘ in ‘fleece.’ In most English accents, … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 15 Comments