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US Regional Accents - Where do you fit in?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 24, 2008

Comments (23)

If you live in the United States, you're likely aware that there are a handful of regional accents across that great country of yours, many of which are immediately recognizable before even three words are strung together.

We've found a map that details the boundaries of each of the major regional American dialects.

Where do you fit in?


Linguistic Geography Mainland United States

There are eight different geographical areas marked on that map each with its own unique linguistic characteristics.


Accent Quiz

You may recall that a while ago we took part in a fun quiz that helped you to identify which American regional accent you had.

By virtue of where we are located in Canada's Great Lakes region, the accent that best matched our way of speaking was the "Inland North".

The results for Inland North said:

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."


Accents Associated with Public Figures

If you take a look at Wikipedia.org, there is an entry dedicated to American English Regional Differences.

In the entry, the sounds of American speech are also identified with a number of public figures:

Ted Kennedy speaks with a Boston accent, while Jimmy Carter speaks with a Southern coastal accent. Chuck Schumer speaks with a New York accent. The North Midlands speech is familiar to those who have heard Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and Hillary Clinton, while Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Robert Byrd speak with South Midland accents. Comedians Mel Brooks and Ray Romano retain typical New York accents while Jack Black and Pauly Shore have the standard sound of southern California.


Have you noticed that you have a regional accent?

If so, have you found a way to use it to your advantage or have you had to overcome it?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie


Related Topics: Accent, accented, accents, Chicago, dialects, dictionary, geography, linguistics, mainland united states, New York, United States, us


Comments


    Great example...

    I know a fellow named Artz.

    In NYC area,. they call him Autz. In CT and RI, it's Arts. In MA, it Aaaahts


    Cheers!

    David

    Posted by:

      Yeah, they pegged me.

      I'm from Cleveland and scored "Inland North" on the quiz.

      Regional terms are a lot of fun too.

      Anyone know what a "berm" or "tree lawn" is?

      Happy Tuesday!

      Posted by:

        That map is a little oversimplified. There is no such thing as a "Coastal Southern" accent. Within that area there are distinct regional accents every 500 miles or so East-West. West Texas, East Texas, Lousisiana, Mississippi/Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland, and Florida all have identifiable accents.

        Posted by:
        • Dale
        • March 25, 2008 4:27 PM

          Hi Stephanie,

          Your Vox Daily submission about the voice categories througout the US was interesting.


          I am from the Dallas, TX area and your map shows me to be in the Coastal Southern Region. Interestingly enough there are so many different accents in this region it makes the head spin! I sound nothing like Jimmy Carter and having traveled the south into Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, you find a different sound in every state. Even traveling from the Dallas area out to see my family in East Texas is like going from city slicker dialect to redneckville in some cases! Funny how we are all so close geographically but sound so different!

          My accent has presented mild challenges for me in my voiceover work but my demos don't show a heavy southern accent but I can surely get there without trying real hard. However, I just got a small job for Wrangler where I used my hometown native accent and I nailed the audition with just what they were looking for, so in some cases, right time, right place, right accent could be a ticket to success. It worked for me!

          Kirk

          Posted by:

            Dead on! I am from North Dakota and sometimes when I visit my cousins friends down south they think I'm Canadian.

            Posted by:
            • Carrie
            • December 30, 2008 1:22 PM

              This is funny. I'm from California....I feel I have an unbelievably boring tonngue with no accent whatsoever

              Posted by:
              • Violet
              • July 21, 2009 6:51 PM

                Interesting, but I think the map needs to be adjusted. Putting Baltimore-DC metro in Costal Southern? It's clearly Midland.

                Posted by:
                • Adam
                • November 21, 2009 11:40 PM

                  I moved from the mississippi gulfcoast to fall river mass. They believe that my accent is weird lol.Im a country girl. To me they speak weird.Why is it that we all speak differently?

                  Posted by:
                  • Deborah Bowman
                  • November 8, 2010 9:00 AM

                    I was born in california to a father from michigan and a mother from nicaragua. we moved to oklahoma and have lived there since i was 3 but we visit family in michigan constantly. i should have a southern accent or great lakes accent but i have a midland accent while my two younger sisters have southern. what happened?

                    Posted by:
                    • Stephanie
                    • December 11, 2010 6:40 PM

                      Pretty thick North Jersey accent here. To anyone from the Midwest or California or wherever you're from that you "don't have an accent," believe me; you do. When I was really little, I could barely understand the "standard" American accent. xD "Mommy, why do all of their vowels rhyme?"

                      Posted by:
                      • Nastya
                      • December 29, 2010 3:19 PM

                        I'm from North central New Jersey and most of the population doesnt have any NY accent. We actually sound closer to people from Pennsylvania and West Virginia then people from New York. Those people who are more NY are in Bergen and Essex County. Theres a dividing line

                        Posted by:
                        • Ian
                        • January 10, 2011 10:04 AM

                          Hi

                          I am English and live in England but we have American friends who live in Michigan. I have noticed that they sometimes add a "t" to the ends of words which normally end in "s". So "across the sea" becomes "acrosst the sea". Is this peculiar to this region?

                          Posted by:
                          • steve taylor
                          • January 27, 2011 9:16 AM

                            Hi all. I'm in the process of developing an indie documentary on regional accents of the English language. I find this site very helpful. Any ideas are well received.
                            Best,
                            Ana
                            writersblockny@gmail.com

                            Posted by:
                            • Ana
                            • February 18, 2011 6:01 AM

                              I'm from the Midwest! No one adds mid west in! I know we are mostly plain but we have accents.

                              Posted by:
                              • VOX Daily Reader
                              • July 23, 2011 11:14 PM

                                A hodgepodge really. I've lived in AZ, OH, MA, ID, GA. Spent time in Europe. Though right now I'd guess that I have an Ohio accen

                                Posted by:
                                • Michael Corey
                                • December 1, 2011 2:31 PM

                                  I have the distinct honor of NO ONE guessing where I'm from based on any infusion of accent! Ever! And I'm not telling.

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Mary Bardes Love
                                  • December 1, 2011 2:31 PM

                                    Southern by the grace of God.

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Tim Lasseter
                                    • December 1, 2011 2:32 PM

                                      I'm Canadian, and English is not my first language...... but here is what the test says: Your Result: The Inland North

                                      the Northeast being listed first. It makes sense......
                                      because I expected the test to say New York (north east) or something. that being said, I'm still not American nor a native speaker of English.

                                      Posted by:
                                      • Philippe Tremblay
                                      • December 1, 2011 2:32 PM

                                        When I try I get a fairly neutral sound. If I'm the least bit tired then it's East Tennessee all the way.

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Joe Shirley
                                        • December 1, 2011 2:33 PM

                                          I have a wicked Boston accent..altho some people ask me if I am from Brooklyn LOL

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Donna Zannoni
                                          • December 1, 2011 2:34 PM

                                            Boy did they blow it. I grew up in Georgia, lived in VA and MD, now back in Ga. They have me as 100% Philadelphia. They got my husband right, though.

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Ann
                                            • April 20, 2013 7:12 PM

                                              It's kind of sad how happy I was to find out I had a fairly neutral Midland accent. I like the idea of blending in to a certain extent. A part of me would like to give away what region I'm from (south western New York).

                                              Posted by:
                                              • Omar
                                              • May 11, 2013 10:35 PM

                                                Fun, but an oversimplification. Did you know there are areas in Lousiana where the people sound more Brooklynese than southern? Also, I scored 100% midland on the quiz, but I have had people from my Missouri hometown ask if I grew up in Chicago. Perhaps because I tend to talk a bit fast...who knows? In any case, the "Midwesterners have a textbook radio voice" notion is not true in all cases, because there are a lot of annoyingly twangy voices there, and I have distinct memories of being teased as a child for "talking too proper." I think there is a very real distinction between what I would call city midland and country midland, for lack of a better way to describe it.

                                                Posted by:
                                                • Jazzy
                                                • May 18, 2013 4:37 PM

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