5 Real American Accents You Need to Understand


Aww yeah, guys! Today we are learning about  5 of the Most Important American Accents!  

So if you watch this lesson until the end you will  be able to understand Americans more confidently,  

you'll be able to differentiate between these  different accents, and you might even be able  

to spot where a particular American comes from. Alright, so before we get into any of that,  

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So, as an English learner I'm sure that you've  heard the terms British English and American  

English. But these are such broad classificationsbecause really in each type of English like this  

we have a wide range of regional varietiesSo you might have already seen that Andrea  

actually did two videos covering 10 Different  Real British Accents. Now an accent is comprised  

of the words that people from a certain area  use, as well as pronunciation differences 

In this lesson I'm going to show you 5 Real  American Regional Accents, and those are  

New York, the Midwest, the SouthTexas and Southern California

Now you probably know there are many varieties  of British English sometimes it even changes  

with a 20 minute drive in the car. It's hard to  say how many varieties of English there are in  

the United States but it's certainly lessIt depends on how you want to cut the pie  

or, in other words, where you want to set the  limits of where one accent ends and a new one  

begins. I was shocked that in one articlesaw counted more than 20 American accents

Alright, so first let's take a look at the New  York accent. So actually we did a poll and you  

guys told us that this was the American accent  that you were most interested in learning about,  

and in fact in New York City  alone there are actually several  

different accents that you can findSo if you would like to learn more  

just about those different varieties be sure  to give this lesson a like to let me know,  

and we'll make a lesson on that, alright? So when I think about the New York accent  

certainly one of the first things that comes  to mind is that people who have a thick New  

Yorker accent often don't pronounce their R'sNotice how George from Seinfeld pronounces park

This phenomenon is called roticity or artfulnessNow maybe you know from our UK accents video  

that in most UK accents they don't pronounce  R's. So they have non-rhodic accents. American  

accents are rhodic, with the exception of some  New England accents and some African-American  

vernacular accents. Let's check out Robert  De Niro's New York accent in this movie.

Now let's look a little bit at the history  of why most American accents kept their R  

while British accents became non-rhodic. So when in the 17th Century Britain  

colonized America nearly all dialects  of English were rhodic and most north  

American English simply remained that wayAccents in Great Britain on the other hand  

evolve to drop the R when  it's in the final position

Now let's look at a clip  of an authentic New Yorker.

Did you notice the way he says what are you doing

Now let's listen to how Robert De Niro  says where did you get this what's this.

Nowadays this is a common  occurrence in colloquial English,  

but is especially prominent in different New  York accents. So when we have a T followed by a  

Y sound it actually morphs into a CH  sound. So what to you will become what you,  

but you becomes but you. And the same thing  happens when we have a D sound followed by Y  

sound but instead of becoming a CH it becomes a  J sound. So where did you becomes where'd you

Now we'll watch a clip from Friends where three  characters have a strong Italian New York accent.  

So in this clip Joey says I want you  right here as I want you right here.

So also in this clip we could see that Joey said  keep an eye on you as simply keep an eye on you.  

So what did he do there? He connected some of  the words and he reduced you to simply ya. Now,  

while this is not completely unique of the New  York accent you can find this done in other  

parts of the United States, I would say that is  particularly common among certain New Yorkers.  

Now we have a couple more great examples in this  clip of that non-rhodic R that we talked about,  

so let's take a look at that and  pay special attention for that R,

So another way that the New York accent can  be recognized is by the extremely drawn out  

way in which they say words like walk and  talk. So they might say something like walk  

and talk. To illustrate this this is the  dad with the strongest New York accent,  

a TikTok video that has recently gone viral.

So in a standard American accent we  would say these words with an A sound. So  

dog, coffee. But New Yorkers can really  exaggerate that sound, really drawing it out,  

as we said before. So instead they  would say dog, coffee. So it almost  

can sound even like it becomes two syllables. Now, let's go back to that clip from Friends  

and take a look at how Ronnie said tomorrowbecause she does the same thing here.

So I would say tomorrow, but she said it the  same way that New Yorkers would say coffee.  

And in that first clip we watched from  Seinfeld George said it this way too

Some of Robert De Niro's  and Martin Scorsese's film  

show the strong influence that Italian  had on some New York accents. So let's  

take a look at a clip from Goodfellas  and we'll highlight this a bit for you.

So if you want a great way to learn all about  connected speech and the New York City accent  

among others I have a fantastic resource for  you. It's our Fluent with Friends Course,  

now in this course over 48-weeks you will  learn side by side with episodes from the TV  

series Friends. In addition to improving your  pronunciation you'll learn thousands of words  

that Americans really use in their everyday  speech. Along with understanding all the jokes  

by learning the cultural context. So the best  part is you can try that absolutely FREE with  

our 3-Part Masterclass. You can sign up by  clicking up here or down description below.

Alright so we're moving West now over to this area  called the Midwest. Now this is a very large area  

with several different accents and we've chosen to  focus in particular on the one from the state of  

Michigan. Now my mom actually comes from Michigan  so this one has a spot near and dear to my heart

Now something funny that Michiganders will do  is that they'll add an S to the end of brand  

names. So instead of saying the car company Ford  they'll say Fords or the supermarket chain Kroger  

they would say as Krogers. So a common feature  of the Michigan accent is more common use of the  

Glottal T. So Eminem comes from Detroit which is  the largest city in Michigan, and he does this

So we can notice that instead of saying  got it he says got it. I would actually  

use an American T here, so I would say it  as got it or instead of don't he says don't.

Now the ah sound as in father is more drawn out  in the Michigan accent. This is sometimes even  

referred to as the Michigan A. So instead of  saying mom they would say mam. And instead of  

saying hockey they would say haki. And instead  of saying Chicago they would say Chicago.

So now we're moving South and once  again the South is a big region  

and it has many different varieties of  the Southern accent. So we're going to  

focus particularly on the accent from the  state of Louisiana with Reese Witherspoon.

Something I find really interesting  about Southern accents like Reese's  

is that it's really sing-songy which means  that it has a sort of melody when people speak  

that makes it almost sound more musical. Now  before we really talk about the accent there's  

an interesting piece of cultural information  here. So Ellen mentioned Southern hospitality  

now this is based on the stereotype that Southern  people are really warm, friendly and welcoming,  

when you go to their home or even when you visit  the South in general, if you're not from there.  

So a common feature of the Louisiana  accent which is actually true of  

most Southern accents is the pronunciation of  the ah sound. So Louisiana obviously has a lot  

of unique characteristics to its accent and  we'll look at those, but this one I thought  

was really important to start with. So they  will actually add an extra sound to this a  

sound so they add an uh to the end of it so it  becomes a, so a word like have becomes have

So in this clip we can see that Reese  Witherspoon says the word dance in this way.

New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the  United States hottest spots for immigration  

throughout its history the diversity of  New Orleans has rivaled that of pretty  

much any other city on the map. Throughout  the 19th Century people came from Ireland,  

Germany and Italy and it was this group that  had the biggest impact on New Orleans English

So the English spoken in New Orleans is called  yat. Now why does it have this funny name? So it  

actually comes from how they would say where  are you at they shorten this to where yat,  

and a person who speaks yat  would also be called a yat

So here's how actor Anthony Mackie  describes the New Orleans accent.

So he said that the New Orleans accent is  actually similar to the Brooklyn accent. Now,  

how can this be true when these two  parts of the country are so far apart

Now we mentioned when we talked about the New  York accent that it is non-rhodic in many cases.  

This is also true of that yat accentThe reason why these two accents are  

connected by this feature is both New York  City and New Orleans attracted German,  

French, Italian and Irish immigrantswith a heavy emphasis on the last two.  

And just by having these populations in  common they ended up sounding similar

So do you want to learn more about the Southern  accent which is one of the most common ones in  

the United States? So that you can understand  native speakers like Reese Witherspoon better=  

Then I highly recommend you check out this lesson  that we did recently talking all about the unique  

characteristics of the Southern accent in the  United States with actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Moving on to our fourth real American accent we  have Texas. Now Texas is big! In fact it's the  

second biggest state in the United States after  Alaska, and it's bigger than most countries like  

France, Germany and Iraq. So we can still talk  about despite the size a general Texan accent.  

So what are some of the unique characteristics of  this accent? So sounds are somewhat produced at  

the back of the mouth by raising the tongue  and what this does is it forces the air out  

through the nose, which can make the Texan accent  sound a little bit more nasal than other accents.

Twain is something associated  with Southern and Texan accents  

which I talked all about in that lesson  I mentioned with Jennifer Lawrence.  

So many significant peculiarities of this  accent are in the way that vowels are said.  

So in the diphthong O which is pronounced in most  American accents like in the word no. In Texas it  

can be pronounced differently, so let's take  a look at this clip with Matthew McConaughey  

who's from Texas, and the way that he says the  word goal so I say goal now let's listen to him.

So the Texan accent is a lot like the rest  of the Southern area of the United States.  

However how Matthew pronounces his R's in this  clip is completely unique to the Texan accent.

What's more Texans have a way of using  the ah sound in words like pie and night,  

so instead it will sound like pie and night.

Finally, Texans are famous for their  way of saying the second person plural.  

Now in most parts of the United States you would  find people say one of these three: you, you guys,  

whether you're referring to men or womenor you all. However what Texans do is they  

take this last one and they scrunch  it all together so they say y'all.

All right, so finally let's take a look at the  California accent. In particular the SoCal accent,  

as opposed to the NorCal accent, which  is spoken in cities like San Francisco  

and Oakland. So earlier in the  video we looked at New York accents  

and there's always been this sort of  East Coast and West Coast comparison,  

or we could even call it a rivalry. So accents  are no exception, so let's take a look at how  

some of these people from New York make fun of  the L.A. accent and some of their mannerisms too.

So the joke here is that he says likelot. Now this is because Californians and  

in particular those who tend  to talk like a Valley girl  

which we'll look at in a moment are notorious  for using the word like way too much. So let's  

take a look at an example with singer  Billy Eilish who's from in Los Angeles.

And just for fun let's look at a resident of  Los Angeles making fun of the New York accent.

Now that's just the Italian  New York accent stereotype,  

likewise the impressions of the Californian  accent were influenced by stereotypes.  

So let's look more closely at the SoCal accentSo California became the most diverse US state,  

as English speakers from a wide variety  of backgrounds began to pick up different  

linguistic elements from one anotherand also developed new ones as a group.  

So when it comes to the California accent  there are two very established stereotypes.  

So girls supposedly talk like the typical Valley  girl, and guys supposedly talk like a surfer dude

Now this comes because surfing is  a very popular sport in California,  

which has a very long coastline on the PacificAs defined by Merriam-Webster: a Valley girl  

is a stereotype of an adolescent girl from  the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of L.A.  

It's one whose values mannerisms and especially  speech patterns resemble those of such a girl

Here's Emilia Clarke, who's from London's  incredible impersonation of a Valley girl.

And this person here does a great  job of impersonating the surfer dude.

There's another very prominent feature of the  Southern California accent, which is known as  

up talk or upward inflection. Now this is the  phenomenon where people are speaking and they  

sort of end their sentences in an upward wayAnd this makes it sound as if they were asking  

a question even though they're just makingstatement. So let's look at some examples of this.

So most Californians don't distinguish between the  ah and ah sound which are the vowels in words like  

caught and caught. Now this is referred to  sometimes as the cot-caught merger. This  

is a phonetic phenomenon where the vowel of  the word lot, for example, merged completely  

with that of thought. So with the merger  cot and caught become perfect homophones.

All right, so I hope that you have found this  lesson super useful that you'll have some fun  

putting it into practice trying to differentiate  the different accents in the United States,  

because we have such a wide variety of themNow if there's some accents that we didn't cover  

or another one that you would like to learn  more about then why don't you let me know  

down in the comments below and maybe  we'll make our next lesson on it.  

Alright so now it's time to go beyond the  classroom and live your English. Aw yeahh!!

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