T Nation

Accents & Accent Snobbery


Ireland is a small country but we have so many different accents. For example; if I drive 20 minutes down the road people speak with a completely different accent and this variance in accents continues from village to village and town to town and even across one city (we have small cities btw).

What is the US experience with this?

Just for a size comparison :wink: New York City has nearly double the population of the Republic of Ireland yet I can hardly understand some fella 20 miles down the road.

Come to think of it is there an accepted universal American accent?

What I mean is, is there an accent that is portrayed by your BIG media networks as being the accepted way to speak as an American?

We have it in the form of a our national broadcaster, which never represents regional accents across Ireland even the comprehensible ones. England has it in the form of the BBC - for instance you will never hear a Geordie or a Liverpudlian reading the BBC news!

Who decides this?


ass-to-mouth or it didn't happen.


We Americans don't have an accent. Unless you're from the far north...or the deep south...or the east coast. Unless you are one of those people, you're accent-less.


Is that your new catch phrase or have you got coprolalia?


I pretty much agree with this. In Texas itself, there are different accents. If I travel to north Texas, people can tell Im from the south since Im a white guy who has an southern/mexican accent. Though I cant tell


Texas is the one of the biggest states in the US so I would imagine there would be a difference in accents esp. from one end of the state to the next but in Ireland there is a noticeable difference when you travel even to the next town!


They find a neutral accent for national programs, one that can be easily understood by everyone. I suppose the accepted American accent would be the accent you find in most American films.


I have a neutral accent,basically because I went to a boarding school for my teenage years and so my original Cork city accent,although it was never very strong,got lost in the mix of all the other ones.So now I suppose I have no accent at all,just Irish.


I would say there are about 5 different regional accents in Texas, plus a particular way of phrasing things that is considered Texan. I saw this second part on a PBS special about US accents. Funny thing was they spent 40 minutes on Texas in the hour long program. Most of the rest was on California.

Each southern state has at least one distinctive accent, often more.

A friend of mine from London said I could be taken as a local in Western Ireland based on my accent, if that means anything to you.


I figured as much but the main thing I am getting at is who decides?

Is a neutral accent the one that you are accustomed to hearing most often? There are a lot of acceents that are easily understood but are not mainstream, why not use one of those?

On a side note:
The same can be said for all the evil fuckers in movies, their accents are always either a English or German, what gives?

Remember the film 'Alexander', they all had Irish accents! Weird wasnt it!

We are so accustomed to hearing classical greeks, romans whatever, speak with a specific English accent that anything to the contrary just doesnt fit.


I'm thinking that the network decides to use a neutral accent since it's to appeal to such a broad variety of people and the words will be pronounced correctly, correct in the American sense anyway. I hear the neutral accent the most in my daily life.

The English and German accent just makes the villain sound much more sinister lol. I don't know about that one, I've noticed it though.


The Indiana accent was considered the norm for broadcasting for quite a while, it was considered a non-accent. Funny that once accents became hip/acceptable here you started hearing more Texas accents from the male reporters.

I have quite a few students from the NYC area and there are different recognizable accents from the boroughs.

Just watched Valkire and was wondering why everyone had British accents. I guess it is that if you are really bad Germans you sound English. Whereas if you are a bad Englishman I guess you sound German.


Also, I was told that if I left Texas I would need to kill my accent and it was pretty true until recently. That said, on several of my teaching evaluations from students I was told to knock off the cowboy schict (sp?). So, some people still have issues.


Some Irish accents do have a heavy american sounding twang to them (like Northern accents or down in the South East so I can understand that completely. Western Irish accents for the most part are much higher pitched than most over here and sound very melodic, like part singing (somewhat) esp. Cork & Kerry.


I think movie accents have an historical basis to them. The US is the movie making capital of the world and your (US) experience with different countries is mirrored in the various stereotypes depicted in the movies.

From the 30's - 40's onwards Germans were percieved as evil bastards so it makes sense to have the villain with a German accent. The same can be said of the uppercrust English accent. Considering they were ousted from the US during the War of Independence and were a colonial super power back in the day it would make sense to portray them as the bad bastards. A lot of countries would think along the same lines.


I just want to say that I met a really hot asian girl with a british accent last night at work. OMGZOR THAT WAS SO HOT!


I think that while the authenticity of the accent is questionable the ability for an American to fake an English accent is rather easy so that might influence their choice. That and the English accent fits pretty well with some sophisticated super villain.

That's kind of ridiculous, it'd be funny if you could tell them "It aint no shtick, son.". I didn't know teachers would have to tame their accent, unless it's really thick of course.


I had to look up what coprolalia is. And yes, there is a definite possibility that I have it.

Fuck! Shit! Cock!


There's massive differences in the accents here, even among a small state like NJ- probably close to the size of Ireland.

Some people tell me I talk like I'm from Jersey City- which is distinct and seperate from talking like you're from Bayonne, or Staten Island.

In South Jersey, some folks actually have southern accents, which still amazes me. And the further you get towards Pennsylvania, the less New Jersey you hear at all- i.e. they say "Coffe" instead of "cough-ee" as we say where I am or "Waater" instead of "wuder" which is how we'd pronounce it.

Generally I think the media speaks with an East Coast accent. Nothing I hear on TV ever sounds like it has an accent to me, and I'm pretty perceptive about that.


In Canada the east coasters talk in an accent all their own. The rest of Canada sounds the same imo. Newfies are hard to understand, funny as hell though.

I've always wondered why news announcers in the US sound like me, very Canadian...no offence.

I know someone who lives in Pittsburgh and they don't pronounce their W's. Downtown sounds like dawntawn lol.