Tag Archives: prosody

“Every Man Thinks He’s a Tenor In Cork”

In my college “dialects” class, our instructor played a recording of a talented Irish actor imitating various Irish regional accents. When he got to Cork, he wryly observed, “In Cork, the voice always seems to be higher–every man thinks he’s … Continue reading

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Posted in Irish English | 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

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Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 34 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

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

Yes/No Intonation: The Pennsylvania Question

I lovingly tease my wife for having the most General of American accents I’ve ever heard. She grew up in an area with a unique dialect (the Philadelphia region), yet betrays little of this upbringing in her speech*. Except, that … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged | 14 Comments

-ness: A Darn Productive Morpheme

The English lexicon contains numerous nouns formed by adding the suffix ‘-ness‘ to an adjective: ‘weakness,’ ‘fullness,’ ‘brightness,’ and countless others. And at least in American English, we find creative new uses of ‘-ness’ all the time, which seem to be … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Vocal Fry

I don’t have time for a full-on post today, but I would be negligent if I didn’t point out the recent buzz on the web and elsewhere about ‘vocal fry.’  This term, which is more or less synonymous with creaky … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Polar Bears and Cross Dressers

One of the handful of slips the excellent British actor Hugh Laurie made on House (he speaks with an American accent on the show) was when he had a line with the term ‘cross dresser.’  Every vowel and consonant was technically correct, … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Is the Welsh Accent “Foreign?”

The Welsh accent is a mystery on American shores.  Numerous Welsh celebrities have made the US their home: your Hopkinses, Burtonses, Zeta-Joneses, and just plain Joneses.  Yet Americans have few of the preconceptions about Welsh English that we do for … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 24 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 | 22 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