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Singing and regional American accents

GUEST,Tunesmith 15 Feb 12 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,olddude 15 Feb 12 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,mg 15 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM
Lighter 15 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM
Leadfingers 15 Feb 12 - 06:30 PM
Don Firth 15 Feb 12 - 07:20 PM
Jon Corelis 15 Feb 12 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,mg 15 Feb 12 - 07:48 PM
Lighter 15 Feb 12 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,mg 15 Feb 12 - 08:50 PM
Greg B 15 Feb 12 - 09:13 PM
Ebbie 16 Feb 12 - 12:12 AM
mg 16 Feb 12 - 12:48 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Feb 12 - 01:19 AM
Jon Corelis 16 Feb 12 - 10:07 AM
Lighter 16 Feb 12 - 10:25 AM
Bonzo3legs 16 Feb 12 - 11:03 AM
Mr Happy 16 Feb 12 - 11:54 AM
Mr Happy 16 Feb 12 - 12:00 PM
Don Firth 16 Feb 12 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Iona 16 Feb 12 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,mg 16 Feb 12 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Sharon Hall Guest 16 Feb 12 - 03:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Feb 12 - 04:05 PM
Bert 16 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM
Greg B 16 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Sep 12 - 10:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Sep 12 - 11:05 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 12 - 12:07 AM
Janie 23 Sep 12 - 12:23 AM
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Subject: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:15 PM

In the British Isles, if anyone sings in their local accent, listeners will be able to tell where they come from e.g. Ireland, the West Country, Scotland etc.
Now, is this true for the States?


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:18 PM

For sure I think. You can hear in the voice people from various areas. You can hear Kendall's wonderful Main accent. JT's amazing Kentucky accent and probably my Pennsylvania accent on many songs. I think it is kinda universal don't you no matter the country


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM

Yes and you will hear me singing with no trace of an accent whatsoever because we in PNW USA have what is called the broadcaster's accent?? in that it is considered the no-accent accent...I have also never figured out what a midwestern accent is because I just can't hear it. The south probably has the most variety...New York alone probably has several...Texas of course...Bronx is one of the best. In Washington I think you will find that there are some Oklahoma-type accents because of immigration...and we have more of a Scandinavian and German population than the East Coast..which probably had more Irish and English..African Americans and Italian Americans have their own historical accents sometimes...

I have lived in Alabama and honestly could not understand one word of what they said. mg


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM

It's true in a general way in the U.S., but not nearly as true as some might think.

There are some areas, both big and small, that have distinctive regional accents.

The biggest difference of all is between North and South, with the Far West possibly becoming more distinguishable than it used to be. The Southeastern and Gulf Coast is also distinctive. New York City and New Orleans can be surprisingly similar.

It's complicated further by various ethnic accents.

It's often difficult for most Americans to make more than a fair guess as to where a stranger might be from. It often takes a professional dialectologist to identify an accent any more precisely.   

Britain has more and more distinctive regional accents in a far smaller area.


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 06:30 PM

With ALL due respect ,its YOU in America have the accent ! WE have The Language .


Sorry , couldnt resist that ! LOL


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:20 PM

I definitely agree with mg about the "broadcaster's accent."

I lived the first nine years of my life in Pasadena, California, and the vast majority of kids my age listened to the afternoon radio serials like "Captain Midnight," "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy," and the evening programs like "The Lone Ranger" (Mon, Wed, Fri, 7:30 to 8:00) and "I Love a Mystery," along with "Lux Radio Theater" and other programs.

I was not aware of it until I opted to go into radio and took some training in a broadcasting school. There is a "broadcast English" or "standard American accent" that announcers and newscasters are urged (required) to use. One learns it by listening to established broadcasters and announcers and speaking the way they do. This wasn't much of a stretch for me because I had been listening to the radio and speaking that way all my life. Came naturally.

In the area in which I now live, the Pacific Northwest (Seattle), I rarely hear any accents, unless the person is from some other part of the country, like back East, or the South. But California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or Colorado and points West "accents" are indistinguishable from each other. Or unless I'm watching Masterpiece Theater (British drama) on the TV ("telly?").

I'm quite sure that if I go to Alabama, Maine, or Yorkshire, I will, indeed, have a fairly noticeable accent. But I would challenge anyone to identify which of the Western states I hail from.

Don Firth

P. S. I do pick up accents fairly easily, however. A weekend in Vancouver, B.C. and without even trying, I come back talking like a Canadian ("Oot, aroond, and aboot the hoose.").


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:47 PM

Linguistically, the "broadcaster's accent" is Midwestern.   It's what Americans mean by saying (ethnocentrically) "no accent."

A complication I don't think anyone's mentioned is that popular singers often put on an accent. Bob Dylan's pronounced rural twang in his earliest records was, I strongly suspect, adopted to emulate Woody Guthrie. Some US rock singers seem to adopt a quasi-southern (US) accent.

There are still some subtle differences in US English which are often hard for even native speakers to catch. I grew up in the US Midwest, but just far enough south to have a slight twang. I realized this when in college my East Coast friends expressed impolite amusement at my proper pronunciation of "egg," which of course rhymes with "Craig." They pronounced it to rhyme with "peg", which to me sounded like something only Jeeves would say.


Jon Corelis
Jon Corelis: Poems, Plays, Songs, and Essays


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:48 PM

They say we don't speak English with an American accent..we speak English with a Dutch accent because it was originally a Dutch enterprise. mg


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:57 PM

I say "tomahto," but I've never heard anybody outside the song say "potahto."


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 08:50 PM

What is odd to my ears is that when people from other countries imitate an American accent (by which I mostly mean American of USA derivation, but feel free to include Canadian, Costa Rican etc.) they tend to do a southernish, cowboyish one. mg


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Greg B
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 09:13 PM

How about Adele, with all her Grammy awards? She sounds thoroughly American when she sings. Then she speaks, and it's working-class London. I was born and raised in Southern California; but one side of the family was from Manchester, UK, and the other a combination of Pacific Northwest and Kansas. In my own speech, I hear an amalgam of all of those (my "u's" are a bit ambiguous.)

Even in California, there is and was a range between "surfer" dialect on one hand and a western, cowboy "twang" on the other. Depends on whether you're raised "by the mountains or the sea."


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 12:12 AM

no trace of an accent whatsoever because we in PNW USA have what is called the broadcaster's accent?" I would venture to say that some could guess where some West Coast people come from - have you ever heard anyone say 'warsh for 'wash'? Or 'wrench' for 'rinse'? I've never used those pronunciations but I've never heard it from anyone other than in northern Oregon and southern Washington state.


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: mg
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 12:48 AM

Never heard warsh for wash or wrench for rinse and I am from SW Washington..which some people but I am not sure where they are from call Warshington..but I think they are people from other places originally...we do say laryer but do other people?


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 01:19 AM

Re Adele, Greg. I fear she would not win many Grammys if she sang in the accent of her native North London! Pity, but there it is. We have had several threads about this convention whereby British singers [and their audiences] find it appropriate to affect an American accent while they sing.

It is the "pop voice' - analagous to that aspect of our dreaded 'folk voice' which insists on sounding all the vowels and r's West-Country-style, even by singers who do not come from parts of the country [they would sing 'parrrts' of the country] where these mannerisms are not standard ['standarrrd'].

Don't know why these phenomena obtain, and they drive me crazy; but nobody else seems to care. My wife Emma, who is much into pop, regards it as a sort of Law Of Nature and can't understand why I go on about it!

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 10:07 AM

I grew up in the middle of the Midwest and always said "warsh" for wash, and yes, "Warshington, D. C." Also "roof" rhymes with "goof", not with "hoof", unless of course you pronounce "hoof" like "goof". Hmm, this is getting complicated.

What you drank as a kid was mostly "soda pop" or "pop". This is common in the U.S. but not, I think, universal.

I still sometimes say "ice box" for refrigerator, even though actual ice boxes had pretty much disappeared by the time I was born. I think I must have picked this up as a child from older people who still used the term for the new-fangled device.

I just saw Kubrick's "Lolita", which I had never got around to seeing before, and Peter Sellers's American accent seemed to me startlingly authentic.

Jon Corelis
Windows of Air: Songs by Jon Corelis


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 10:25 AM

The only time I ever caught Sellers up in his American accent was in a TV commercial he did around 1970 in which he described himself as a "businessm'n."

Every American I've ever heard says "businessman," with the "a" clearly enunciated.

They say "warsh," "Warshington," and "wrench" in North Carolina also.

I drank "soda" as a kid. My wife (also from NYC) ridicules me for calling the so-called "fridge" the "icebox."


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 11:03 AM

I won't even begin to describe the drivel spoken in some parts of northern England and Croydon (12 miles south of London)!!!


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 11:54 AM

Every place has different accents


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 12:00 PM

oops, it went too soon.

Every place has different accents

I live about 30 miles from Liverpool[UK] & they have at least 4 slightly different dialects


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 01:19 PM

At station break time, one of the local DJs here in Seattle used to follow the station ID with, "And for you out-of-staters, there is no 'r' in Washington!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,Iona
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 02:13 PM

What type of american accent do you really have? Great quiz. I'm from Seattle, but I have a Boston accent. ;) I'VE NEVER BEEN TO BOSTON.

http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_american_accent_do_you_really_have


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 02:47 PM

I am western with a lot of north central.


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: GUEST,Sharon Hall Guest
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 03:51 PM

I'm from North Ga and my grandma said wrench for rinse and warsh for wash "I reckon".I still call the trunk of the car a boot, does anybody else hear it called a boot?. I understand thats what they call it in UK. When traveling in England a guide told us that the closest you can come to Old English is in Appalacha ( South because they didnt get out that much being in the MTS.) You only have to travel about 30 miles South of my home town, Cleveland and you'll hear no " hick" accent I find this fascinating. I know I can tell where a person is from their accent.          If you go past Atlanta 1 hour then those people have a deep southern accent.    Go to Florida, the native FLs sound like North Georgians but most are Northern transplants so they have a Northern Accent.   New Jersey has a very distinct accent, very different from NY. I could go on .


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 04:05 PM

It's not just humans. From New Scientist:

Young goats can develop distinct accents


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Bert
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM

What is MTS? according to wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Greg B
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 04:28 PM

I came up "Midland." Not "West Midland" as would my Grandma and Papa and Aunties and uncles, but "Midland" as in Ohio and Missouri (but also common in other areas where the accents are neutral, such as Coastal California without "valley" or "surfer" affectations.


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 10:59 PM

I sing "The Downeaster Alexa" in a Long Island accent, despite being an Aussie. The accent just seems to fit a song whose persona hails from Montauk.


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 11:05 PM

Complete with dropped g's. "Cruisin' through Block Island Sound."


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 12 - 12:07 AM

Well, don'tcha go tryin' to talk in a Wisconsin accent dere, ena hey? Leave that to a trained professional, such as myself, you betcha.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Singing and regional American accents
From: Janie
Date: 23 Sep 12 - 12:23 AM

I sound like a West Virginia hillbilly who has lived in the mid-south for 26 years, whether I am speaking or singing. I haven't lost the hillbilly at all, but it seems I have picked up a bit of mid-south to go along with it. Mind you, the only two places I have ever lived are West Virginia, until I was in my mid-thirties, and the northeast Piedmont of North Carolina.

One thing that really strikes me is the significant differences in accents between and among localized regions in North Carolina and south central Virginia. I work near the North Carolina/Virginia line, about 25 minutes south of South Boston, Va. I notice, particularly among my elderly clients but also with younger people, that those raised in rural communities around Halifax Co., VA, have much more of what I think of as a southern drawl than do the people in Person County, NC, just south of Halifax Co. There is still a bit of "Old English" in their vowel sounds, not dissimilar to the drawl once common among people raised on the Outer Banks. The rural communities in that part of Virginia are still pretty insular, but were quite insular until the mid 1970's. No interstate traverses that area.   The Outer Banks of NC ain't insular at all anymore. There is also wide variation among accents in the the large geographic and diverse area called "The South," just as there are equally wide variations in accent in the large geographic region called "The North."


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