Tag Archives: class and accent

Piers Morgan’s “Hoity Toity” Accent

Politicians have a curious habit of mocking their own markers of privilege. How else does one explain Mitt Romney slamming Obama for attending Harvard, Romney’s MBA alma mater? Or G.W. Bush describing the “intellectual arrogance” he encountered while at Yale? … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

The Englishness of H-Dropping

Longtime readers may notice that I rarely discuss h-dropping. Novices might remember this accent feature from some unfortunate community theatre production of ‘My Fair Lady‘ in which the actress playing Eliza Doolittle bleats ”enry ‘iggins!’ Systematic h-droppers drop the letter ‘h’ at … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

Stating the Obvious About Standard English

Like many language enthusiasts, I was dismayed by two recent New Yorker pieces implicitly criticizing the field of modern linguistics. The first was a negative review of Henry Hitching’s The Language Wars: A History of Proper English, the second a … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Dialects and Registers

One afternoon some years ago, an overheard conversation on the subway piqued my interest. A few train stops before my apartment, a pair of young men got on the car and sat across from me.  After exchanging a few friendly greetings … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Foreign Accents

As much as I hate to admit it, ‘foreign’ accents don’t pique my interest the way ‘native’ accents do.  That’s not to say I don’t love foreign languages.  I’m fascinated by the grammatic intricacy of Navajo and the differences between … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

The 3 Types of Australian Accents

The Australian Accent is renowned for its lack of regional differences.  This is perhaps not surprising given that Britain settled the country fairly late in the history of the Empire (New South Wales was discovered over a decade after America’s … Continue reading


Posted in Australian English | Tagged , | 55 Comments

Sign of the Times: William and Kate’s Accents

Yes, even a blog about accents needs to touch on the Royal Wedding a little bit. I won’t spill more digital ink about the wedding, nor the wedding-mania that swept America this past week. I am, however, fascinated by the … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

Is the glottal stop bad for you?

You may not know what a glottal stop is, but you’ve probably heard one. Already baffled? Let me explain. Ever talk to someone from London who pronounced butter something like “bu’uh?” With the t becoming a kind of “grunt?” The t … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Rhyming Slang

It was inevitable: if you write a blog about English dialects, eventually you will write a post about Cockney rhyming slang. For you confused Americans out there, here is the basic jist of rhyming slang: 1.) Take any word in … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , | 7 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