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 classifications, because really in each type of English like this
we have a wide range of regional varieties. So 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 South, Texas 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 less. It 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 article I saw 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 find. So 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's. Notice how George from Seinfeld pronounces park.
This phenomenon is called roticity or artfulness. Now 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 way. Accents 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 tomorrow, because 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 accent. The reason why these two accents are
connected by this feature is both New York City and New Orleans attracted German,
French, Italian and Irish immigrants, with 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 women, or 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 like a lot. 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 accent. So 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 another, and 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 Pacific. As 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 way. And this makes it sound as if they were asking
a question even though they're just making a statement. 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 them. Now 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!!