Useful Notes: American Accents
"Ever'body says words different," said Ivy. "Arkansas folks says 'em different from Oklahomy folks says 'em different. And we seen a lady from Massachusetts, an' she said 'em differentest of all."As any American will tell you, there is no such thing as a single "American accent." There are a whole load of American accents, each with its own distinct stereotypes. There are a lot more distinct accents in the eastern US than in the west. Dialect maps of the United States have lots of clusters of different colors in the east, which then merge into one generic mass out west. This is because many immigrants arrived in the east, brought their own languages (e.g. Dutch in New York and Rhenish German and Welsh in Pennsylvania) and accents (e.g. Norfolk and Suffolk in New England, South-Eastern in Virginia, Midlands and Welsh in Pennsylvania), and established them, but as Europeans migrated west, the accents all blended together as fewer people of the same dialect were living in the same place. See also American Accent Influences for more technical details. Compare Australian Accent, British Accents, Canadian Accents, German Dialects, Kansai Regional Accent, Tohoku Regional Accent. For those more interested in vocabulary than articulation, there's the handy American English page. The most often attempted (and most frequently horribly failed) regional accent is the "Dixie" accent.
Accents and examples
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Most famous of the accents found in the American Southeast (south of the Mason-Dixon line, hence the name). Specifically, south of the Potomac river. "Y'all" and "all y'all" as second-person plural pronouns, pronouncing the "i" in "mine" like "ah," and phrases such as "I do declare" (three syllables on that last word), "be sweet" (four syllables) and the mild expletive "sheeeeooooo!" Think Gone with the Wind. In truth, only really found in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and West Tennessee anymore, as the Florida version of the accent has flattened out due to the influx of northerners; Virginia (Tidewater) and the Carolinas have their own regional accents distinct from Dixie; the distinct Appalachian dialect is spoken in East Tennessee and eastern Kentucky; and the equally distinct Southern Midland dialect is heard in Middle Tennessee and most of Kentucky. Anyone who lives in the South can tell you there are dozens of highly-distinct different Southern accents, but most of the rest of the country really doesn't care. The way it's usually depicted in fiction is a bit of a Dead Unicorn Trope — almost no one speaks like Scarlett O'Hara anywhere in the South. In general, the closer you get to the Mississippi River, the slower-paced and more treacly (and lower-class) the accent becomes. People in Memphis and northern Mississippi often have the accent bahyud. Stereotype: the polite and courteous Southern Gentleman, or Southern Belle. Or Senator Beauregard Claghorn (inspiration for Foghorn Leghorn). Or, in modern contexts, a lady wearing "Daisy-Dukes", cut-off denim shorts that border on the illegal. (It's over 70 degrees there for most of the year...). Played to the other extreme, Sweet Home Alabama. The Southern-Fried Private and Southern-Fried Genius will most likely have this accent as well. The slower "Delta" version of the accent is more commonly associated with redneck trailer trash from "MAYUMfeeis Tennussay" (if urban) or some boggy, mosquito-ridden country hellhole (if rural), shotguns ("shaawt-goouns") and racism optional, education almost non-existent.
- Rogue from X-Men, so much it gets to look kinda like a caricature sometimes.
- Dan Aykroyd adopts an atrocious one in Driving Miss Daisy.
- In The Faculty, Canadian actress Laura Harris, whose character is from Atlanta, puts on a ridiculously over-the-top Georgia accent. Fridge Brilliance sets in after The Reveal that she's really an alien, meaning that her accent was fake in-universe as well.
- Actress Evelyn Keyes worked hard to rid herself of the accent she had from being raised in Georgia. She needed to bring it back in all its glory when she got the part of Suellen O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.
- The trailer guy and his mom from Monsters, Inc.. "Mama, another gator [Randall] got in the house!" "Not the gator! Gimme that shovel!"
- Emma Watson sounds most often like this in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Most often.
- A real life example: Darrell "Shifty" Powers, the friendly and gentle sniper from Easy Company in Band of Brothers.
- On The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick (who's from Manhattan) plays a Southern-Fried Genius with a Dixie accent.
- Stephen Colbert, a native of South Carolina, is a bit of a subversion: he worked hard at masking his accent while growing up (due to the portrayal of Southerners in the media at the time), though some Southern pronunciation still peeks through the cracks of his studied Newscaster from time to time on his show.
- Ainsley Hayes from The West Wing, the Trope Namer for the Blonde Republican Sex Kitten, is another Southern-Fried Genius with appropriate Dixie accent. Actress Emily Procter is a native of North Carolina.
- Dr. Leonard McCoy of Star Trek: The Original Series. Increases in strength when he's mad.
- CSI NY Jo Danville. (it helps that Sela Ward is from Mississippi)
- House of Cards' Frank Underwood is from Gaffney, South Carolina; Kevin Spacey does a pretty good job for a Californian who lives in England, although he screws up the pronunciation of "o" and has a slightly archaic accent (it displays some characteristics of a Southerner a good 20-30 years older than he is).
- Part of Jack Mc Brayer's appeal in his role as Kenneth Parcell on 30 Rock is his aw-shucks Georgia accent.
- Talk show host Sammy Maudlin affects a faint version on SCTV. Most of the time, anyway; sometimes one can hear Pittsburgh native Joe Flaherty's natural accent bleeding through.
- Most Country Music singers have either this accent or a Texas or cowboy one. Even if they're not from the region (like the Australian Keith Urban or the Canadian Shania Twain), they still tend to affect one of these three accents. (Compare the phenomenon of American indie bands putting on British accents while singing to sound like Liam and Noel Gallagher, or '60s British Invasion bands imitating the American accents of '50s Rock & Roll singers.)
- "Pardon My Southern Accent" by Johnny Mercer.
- Georgia native Jeff Foxworthy often jokes about his own accent, in keeping with his trademark Deep South humor.
- Fox News anchor Shepard "Shep" Smith (of Studio B and Shepard Smith Reporting) has a classic Mississippi twang.
- StarCraft has the Terrans. Almost all of the units have strong accents, the strongest include Duke, the Civilian and the Wraith, though it often crosses into Texas Drawl as well.
- Lindsay Ellis, having grown up in Tennessee but moved to New York when she was older, has traces of this accent whenever she talks.
- Yahtzee and Gabriel occasionally (and abominably!) imitated the Dixie variant to joke about the farmers in 'Lets Drown Out Harvest Moon' and 'Let's Drown Out Oregon Trail', he even changed his name 'Yahrtzee' in the latter to keep it in the Western theme, though Gabriel expressed slight disappointment that Yahtzee did not spell his name as 'Garbriel'.
- Arguably, Lottie from The Princess and the Frog.
- Perfect example of how the nuances of the Dixie accents don't get across to non-Americans: the character Mouse from ReBoot has an inexplicable "Southern-ish" accent that doesn't quite sound like it's from anywhere in particular, but is probably closer to Texan than anything else. Not surprising, given that the show was produced in Canada.
- Lola Bunny spoke in a supposedly sultry variation of this when Kath Soucie originally voiced her for her debut in Space Jam.
- Bunnie Rabbot in Sonic Sat AM.
- The Tex Avery shorts feature a recurring wolf who speaks with both the Dixie accent and the accompanying colorful vernacular "Well, ain't that right purrty?"
Originally a form of Dixie, the main Florida accent has been neutralized due to migration from the Northern states and from Latin America. Dixie still persists, mainly among older natives and in the northern part of the state. The current accent resembles Midwestern or West Coast English, but Floridians are also just as likely to use the accent prevalent in the state in which they were born (Jewish, Noo Yawk, and Inland North are all heard — a local maxim is that the further south you go in the state, the more northern it becomes.) One way to distinguish a true Florida accent is to hear the pronunciation of Florida: A Floridian will say "FLOOR-ih-duh" where a Dixie accent would say "FLAR-duh." The state citrus fruit is also notably a monosyllabic "oarnj", rather than "ahr-unge". Florida accents can extend into the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama. Stereotype: While the accent itself is fairly neutral and unstigmatized, Floridians have a reputation of being eccentric Cloudcuckoolanders, and will speak this accent in fiction, when not using Dixie.
- Tom Petty
- Gram Parsons
A subset of Florida, this accent is influenced by the large Spanish-speaking (mainly Cuban) population in Miami. Vowels are shortened and sometimes replaced with their Spanish equivalents. Miamians speak faster than most other Floridians, reflecting the influence of the fast pace of Cuban Spanish. Pitch and emphasis are also affected. This accent is fairly recent, only having appeared in the last 50 years. The Miami accent is distinct from Spanish-accented English, as even non-Cubanos may have it. Stereotype: Used by Latin Lovers, tanned bikini-clad women at the beach, and Cuban-Americans.
Examples:Film Live-Action TV
- Constantly in Burn Notice with minor characters. Considering that the series is set and shot in Miami, with many bit players being locals, this shouldn't surprise anyone.
- Miguel from Dexter has this accent. Angel Batista's accent is this combined with Elmuh Fudd Syndrome.
- Andy Garcia.
A subset and exaggeration of Dixie, laced with more archaic and/or idiosyncratic usages. Used for remote parts of Appalachia and other isolated southern locales, such as the Ozarks. Dixie accents are slow and sugary, like molasses; true mountain accents are more "musical", like a tightly wound banjo string. Chicago and Baltimore used to have urban Appalachian ghettoes (Baltimore's accent, listed below, still bears some similarities). Due to the former isolation of some regions of the Appalachian South, the Appalachian accent may be difficult for some outsiders to understand. This dialect is also rhotic, meaning speakers pronounce "R"s wherever they appear in words, and sometimes when they do not (for example "woarsh" for "wash.") Because of the extensive length of the mountain chain, noticeable variation also exists within this subdialect. The Appalachian dialect can be heard, as its name implies, in the Appalachian Mountain region of Northern Georgia, North Alabama, East and Middle Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, Western Maryland, Southeast Ohio, Southwest Pennsylvania, and all of West Virginia. The Ozark regions of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas have a slightly different variation of this. Almost always, the common thread in the areas of the South where a rhotic version of the dialect is heard is a traceable line of descent from Scots, Scots-Irish, and Welsh ancestors amongst its speakers. Silent H's (such as pronouncing "humble" as "'umble") are not uncommon, and many speakers sound vaguely European. Stereotype: Uneducated, dirt-poor, overall-clad rednecks with one or two close cousins in the genetic mix, and probably missing a few teeth. May be distilling moonshine or growing marijuana (be it in the fields or in a pot on their front porch). Sometimes stereotyped as being on/addicted to Methamphetamines and/or painkillers, but this is a very recent stereotype.
- Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs not only has this accent, she tries to hide it; it's the topic of the original Hannibal Lecture. ("...not more than one generation from poor white trash...").
- The best place to hear it is bluegrass music; see O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
- Lt. Aldo Raine.
- In Nell, part of the reason Nell's speech was misunderstood was her heavy North Carolina accent. A lot of Nell is about mistaken assumptions based on preconceived notions. Speech pathologists listening to tapes of Nell thought she was saying "me" when in fact she was addressing the spirit of her dead sister, May.
- The narrator, Violet Brown, of Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, and her family.
- In Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus' character Miley Stewart normally speaks in a Midwestern accent that she developed — in real life as well as the show — soon after moving to California. However, Miley often unconsciously reverts to her natural Tennessee accent, and this is sometimes deliberately exaggerated for comedic value. Understandably, because like her character she spent her early life in Tennessee, Miley Cyrus also exhibits this behavior in real-world interviews and such.
- Sawyer from Lost, a Tennessee native. (Josh Holloway is from Georgia, and the writers liked his audition so much that they decided to make Sawyer a Deep South type)
- The Andy Griffith Show had it from time to time, mostly with the mountain man-type characters. Barney Fife had a less obtrusive version of this dialect (Don Knotts, who played Fife, was a native of West Virginia). For the rest of the main cast, see Tidewater.
- Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant.
- Lum And Abner is a good example of the Ozark version of this accent.
- Former US President Bill Clinton. Before his sex scandals, the most common stereotype of Clinton was of a saxophone-playing Good Ol' Boy; the more Flanderized versions of his accent often sounded like "muh felluh 'Muricans".
- T.K. Baha and especially Scooter in Borderlands.
- The sequel reveals that Scooter, Ellie and Moxxi were formerly part of the Hodunk clan, a family of rednecks who all have speak with this accent. Moxxi generally hides her accent, though she occasionally lets it slip through.
- Larson from Tomb Raider has a hillbilly accent and it becomes more exaggerated in Tomb Raider Chronicles. Tomb Raider Anniversary changes Larson's accent to be more Texan.
- Boomhauer is a legendary example from King of the Hill. It's based off of the accent of an angry caller to Mike Judge while working on Beavis and Butt-Head.
- Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has been generally identified as having this accent, and it's likely what they were going for. Then again, she has a Texas motif and the show is produced in Canada so maybe were going for "anything Southern" and the VA came up with the Appalachian type.
- Fuzzy Lumpkins from The Powerpuff Girls
Michael Caine, when learning the Texan accent, characterized it as "all the words just leanin' up ag'inst one another." Related to, but distinctly different from, Dixie, although the two are treated as interchangeable in live media. This accent is noted for its distinctive fluid-but-gutteral sound, mixing archaic words and syntax with a utilitarian but oddly poetic approach to pronunciation, creating one of the more complicated American accents Includes ubiquitous use of "y'all" and "all y'all," note but includes other unique phrases such as "might could" for "might be able/be willing to" and "might should" for "might want/need to" (an example of something linguists call modal stacking), "fixin' to" for "about to", "gonna'"note for "going to", and "cain't" for "can't". Syllepsisnote , Anacoluthonnote , spur of the moment analogies, and hyperbole are also common speech patterns. An additional facet often left out of hollywood portrayals (other than the Simple Country Lawyer or Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit) is that many words considered formal, archaic or obscure in mainstream English are common in the Texas Drawl dialect. (Just to name a few: reckon, heretofore, hence, thus, and yonder all see everyday use.) This paired with the archaic, stacked syntax frequently leads to some Sophisticated as Hell dissonance for those not familiar with hearing this sort of speech conversationally outside of a renaissance fair, let alone in a Texan accent. The easiest distinction from Dixie, though, is the accent's namesake "Drawl": a tendency to soften and gutteralize the syllables of words. The "-ing" often becomes "-in'.", for instance. This principle might extend to the point of excluding entire syllables: "Pontiac" becomes "Ponniac". Another good distinction is the tendency to soften hard vowel sounds to a greater extent than Dixie. "Want" becomes "wunt," for instance. Also, while many Dixie speakers dance around the "r" sound, ("Why, I do declay-ah!") "r" is often pronounced very gutturally in a Texas Accent. ("I d'clur!") When it's particularly strong, "isn't" may become "iddn't", "int", or substituted with the more fluid "ain't", which sounds nearly identical in a Texas Draw. One side effect of the fluid, back-of-the-throat pronunciaton of a Texan accent is the tendency to seemingly rearrange or invent syllables in certain words. Many hearing even a well-educated Texan pronounce the word "New-cue-lar" are baffled, but this not as strange as it might seem. Many common words with hard consonantal stops receive an added vowel syllable to smooth the pronunciation, while also dropping hard syllables as normal, seemingly shuffling the word's letters. For instance, partner often becomes "pard-un-nur" and "tentative" becomes "ten-at-tive". Many native speakers of the accent don't notice the mismatch between nu-klee-are and nu-cue-lur until they have it pointed out to them, and afterward self-consciously fumble with pronunciations such as "new-CLAY-ur" and "NUKE-lee-UR" for a while before falling back into the less awkward habitual pronunciation until it's pointed out again. It should be especially noted that there is no one "Texas" accent, given the size and diversity of the state. People on the Gulf Coast and in East Texas may synthesize Cajun and Dixie accents, some dip into a Cowboy accent, and Latino Texans have their own distinct speech patterns. West Texans tend to to speak with a Southwestern "twang", rather than a Texan drawl. In this vein, the city accents also are different. Some Houstonians speak with an odd hybrid of a Texas and East Coast accent, while Dallas natives tend a more neutral Midwestern affect. All tend to be more "neutral" when compared to someone from more rural areas like Nacogdoches or Beaumont. Stereotypes: Everyone is armed. Remembers the Alamo! Women with big hair and men in cowboy hats and boots. Fond of eating Tex-Mex and BBQ. May consider "American" to be a secondary nationalitynote . Typically portrayed as salt-of-the earth working folks or oil-rich elite; however in recent years the presence of NASA's primary research center and mission control in Houston, a booming high-tech hardware and software industry, and the popularity of Steam Punk, Cattle Punk, and Weird West fiction has been recasting Texas as the home of both the Southern-Fried Genius and Badass Longcoat.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Osaka in the English dub of Azumanga Daioh (her accent is specifically derived from the Houston area).
- Likewise, Daphne from the Funimation dub of Fairy Tail has a thick (albeit fake) Southern twang, which she drops when she's being serious. Combine this with how she speaks a mile a minute, and you can barely understand half of what she's saying half the time.
- Robert Duvall and Michael Caine got it pretty close in Secondhand Lions.
- Every film where Tommy Lee Jones uses his natural accent, from No Country for Old Men to Men In Black.
- Jim Parsons has an especially charming one.
- Although their characters on Supernatural were born in Kansas, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (both native Texans) occasionally slip into this accent on the show.
- In the Community episode "Mixology Certification" Annie feels she has to fake a Texas Drawl in order to match the background on her fake I.D.
- Michael Nesmith of The Monkees.
- CSI Nick Stokes to a point. But it seems to have flattened a bit since he's lived in Vegas a while. (George Eads is really a Texan, though.)
- Meg Austin from JAG.
- Rod Roddy, longtime announcer on The Price Is Right, had a mild one.
- Claire Underwood in House of Cards used to have a Texas accent, but she consciously worked to get rid of it and speaks in a "neutral" accent; we only hear her Texas roots in an "old interview." In reality, Robin Wright was born in Dallas (albeit raised in California), so she probably had a good handle on the accent.
- Buck the cowboy from Diner talks with a stereotypical Texas drawl.
- WWE wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield was a stock market wizard rather than an oil billionaire, but had the accent and otherwise fit the stereotype very well (right down to the white limousine with longhorns on the hood).
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is a more blue-collar example.
- Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers.
- All three guys in ZZ Top.
- Kelly Clarkson
- Selena — although she was known mainly for her Spanish-language songs, she was actually a native English speaker from South Texas. Here's an example of her Texas drawl.
- The duets of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Willie, from Central Texas, has a classic Texas accent. Waylon, from West Texas, has almost no drawl.
- Maria in Dino Attack RPG.
- In The Most Happy Fella, Herman and Cleo are supposedly able to recognize each other as being from Dallas by the way they pronounce "evenin', Ma'am," "friendly state," "Neiman Marcus" and "crazy crystals."
- Clay from Pokémon Black and White.
- Cubot in this cutscene from Sonic Colors, that is, until his voice chip gets changed which then ends up making him Talk Like a Pirate.
- The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 uses this accent, as well as more gun.
- Big Bad Natla in Tomb Raider sports a Texan accent. The Anniversary remake changes Natla's accent to be more refined and mysterious.
- The robot Victor from Fallout: New Vegas has a particularly extreme Texas accent, as befits his stereotyped cowboy persona.
- The various Robot Masters were given voices in Mega Man Powered Up, and Fire Man has a raspy, surprisingly high-pitched Texan drawl. He's also a Hot-Blooded Cloud Cuckoolander and very, very loud.
- Matthew McConaughey.
- Former President George W. Bush, unmitigatably.
- Televangelist Joel Osteen, a native Houstonian, has traces of this.
- Both Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural naturally speak with a central Texas drawl, but affect generic Midwestern accents on screen. They've also both lampshaded how their drawl can slip through when they get tahrd.
- Sandy Cheeks, in Spongebob Squarepants
A further subset of Dixie and Hillbilly, localized to the southern half of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. This accent is thick and, due to its mish-mash of French and English idioms, difficult, ah gah-ron-tee. The degree of difficulty in properly affecting this accent makes it an uncommon occurrence on shows. In reality, what many shows depict as a Cajun accent is a New Orleans accent (see Yat below), or even sometimes a Northern Louisiana accent (which is much closer to those of East Texas/Arkansas/Mississippi). To a Cajun, the distinction is important - the North is closer culturally to the bordering states, while there are geographical (read: the Atchafalaya Swamp between Lafayette and Baton Rouge) and historical (often class-based) differences with New Orleans despite the common French influence. Stereotype: Insular. If they don't know your grandfather by name and reputation, you are most likely an enemy or "Gub'ment", whichever is worse. The stereotype takes a 180 for The West Wing/CNN/Daily Show set, whose primary source of Cajun accents is the famously Cajun, famously bald Democratic political wizard James Carville.
Examples:Comic Books Film
- Ray the Firefly in The Princess and the Frog.
- Remy from True Blood.
- Eugene Roe, medic from Band of Brothers.
- And Snafu from The Pacific.
- Troy from The History Channel's Swamp People is an especially good example, but most of the gator hunters have some degree of authentic Cajun accent.
- Justin Wilson hosted Cajun cooking shows on PBS, with a heavy (at least partially put on) Cajun accent.
- Killer Croc in The Batman
- Jumbalaya Jake, minor villain from Darkwing Duck.
- An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force spoofing Scooby-Doo, has a villain called the "Bayou Booyah" who mostly speaks in Cajun-accented gibberish, but slips in an "Ah gar-on-tee" for no reason.
- James Carville.
The native accent of New Orleans, which differs from both Dixie and Cajun. Yat is very distinct, "like Brooklyn on Valium" with a few Southern features. An episode of Real Stories of the Highway Patrol depicted a traffic stop and car chase in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette. The segment was subtitled in English for the non-Yat-speaking viewers. The dialect is named for the Creole expression "Where y(ou) at??". Example: "Wheah y'at? Gat suh melotow fuh me? Ja burl'um? We hadda crab burl back at da Wrigaleys." Translation: "What's up? Do you have some mirlitons for me? Did you boil them? We boiled crabs on our trip to the Rigolets." The further "down" (east) you go into "Da Parish" (St. Bernard Parish), the more it sounds like Brooklyn, due to a similar immigrant mix. The cheer for the New Orleans Saints, "Who dat?", comes from this dialect. There is no north, south or east in Yat. The cardinal directions, all of which relate to the Mississippi River, are "up", "down", "back", and "Tchoupitoulas" — Tchoupitoulas being the closest street to the river. Its pronunciation cannot be revealed here, because listening to tourists attempt it is a spectator sport in New Orleans. One thing that must be understood is that "Yat" refers to any highly pronounced New Orleans accent. There are several. Chalmette and Algiers both have highly pronounced accents. Another thing that must be understood is that there are many ways of pronouncing the city's name, but that no one from New Orleans or who has spent any time at all there says "N'Awlins," though many people say "New Awlins." "N'Awlins" has become ubiquitous, even in the local press, and the typical laid-back attitude of many Orleanians may keep them from pointing out the error - probably initiated by a journalist from out of town with an inaccurate ear. In reality a real New Orleanian is about as likely to say "N'Awlins" as he/she is to say "Newer Leans." Stereotype: Parochial. Laid-back, beyond lackadaisical. Obsessed with food and drink. Especially drink.
- Krazy Kat speaks in this accent, as did the artist of the strip George Herriman. In the animated shorts she (the Ambiguous Gender was removed) has a Dixie accent.
- John Kennedy Toole attempts to represent this in print with most of his white characters in A Confederacy of Dunces, particularly Mrs. O'Reilly. It's unclear what kind of accent the over-educated Ignatius is supposed to have, however: he could easily have a British accent, a classic Dixie accent, a Northern accent, or even be saying really fancypants things in Yat (which is really hard to wrap your head around).
- Caroline, the recurring DA on Bones.
- Det. Will LaMontagne on Criminal Minds.
- Steven Seagal: Lawman. YMMV.
- Harry Connick, Jr.
A mix of Newscaster English, Urban and Dixie, with a regional twist. Caused by Northern and Southern accents cancelling each other out, overlaid on a peculiar "Tidewater" accent common only to natives of the Chesapeake Bay region and FFVs (First Families of Virginia, the Southern version of Boston Brahmins). Tidewater is characterized by archaic, Elizabethan inflection (a sort of proto-Southern drawl with an aristocratic, English flavor). In movies it is a stereotype of Washington gentry: ambiguously Southern politicians who own horse ("howhas") farms in Virginia, yacht ("yawart") clubs in Annapolis, and secretly control Congress. This accent is more broadly associated with old money. Regular Mid-Atlantic, by contrast, is a bland mish-mash of flat Midwestern, Northern nasal intonation, and Dixie vocabulary. Characterized by the use of "or" for soft vowels — "want" = "warnt"; "Wor-shington", and for softening "r" in some words; "No-fuk" (Norfolk) and "Fuk-you-ah" (Fauquier County). Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland are strange cases, as the accents range from Philly to Dixie, and due to tourism and migration, Midwestern, Inland North, etc., may also be heard. People in central Delaware may speak Military Basic, due to the presence of Dover Air Force Base. Stereotype: Impeccably-dressed evil power-brokers who live in mansions; disgruntled government workers with hidden files in beachfront cottages.
Examples:Advertising Live-Action TV
- Most characters on The Andy Griffith Show have the middle/lower class version of Tidewater, but especially Griffith himself.
- The Statler Brothers
- James Taylor grew up in North Carolina but spent a fair amount of time in Massachusetts (where he was born), so his accent is about two-thirds Tidewater, one-third Boston.
- Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has an affected accent that's a mix of this and Received Pronunciation.
- Game Show announcer Johnny Gilbert (a native of Newport News), best known for announcing Jeopardy! and the latter days of the Pyramid franchise. It's particularly notable in the way he drops the "R" in "dollar", and says "cash" as "caysh".
- Pastor Charles Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries.
- Former Newscasters David Brinkley and Charles Kuralt had this accent.
- Talk show host (and North Carolina native) Charlie Rose.
- Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan (from Virginia).
The other Mid-Atlantic
"Mid-Atlantic" can also refer to an accent that combines features of American and British English, intended to favor neither type. It had been the dominant accent of the Northeastern upper class in the first half of the 20th century, but faded after World War II. It can be regularly heard in classical Hollywood cinema, as this was the type of English taught in American acting schools of that day.
- Many stars of Hollywood's Golden Age used this accent in their films. Perhaps the most prominent example was Katharine Hepburn.
- Depending on the listener, late political pundit William F. Buckley, Jr., longtime host of PBS' Firing Line, either used this accent or the "Prep" accent outlined below.
- One of the few modern speakers of this accent is now-retired US international soccer goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Though raised in suburban Cleveland, he played in England for nearly 20 years, and developed this accent. The man himself has said that when he speaks, Brits think he's American and Americans think he's English.
The accent of urban characters of darker skin tones, and middle class white kids trying to sound cool. Characterized by dropping even hard consonants when slurring words together (eg. "err'thing" for "everything"), a petulant tone, and substituting "axe" for "ask". Also common is substituting an "f" sound for "th" as in some British accents. "Y'all" makes another appearance here, too. See also Jive Turkey. The Real Life version (formally known as African-American Vernacular English or Black English) has been lately lumped under "Ebonics", despite encompassing several dialects and not being exclusive to African-Americans. Has a lot of interesting grammatical features, much loved by linguists, such as the "habitual be" ("We clubbin'" means that we are, at this time, In Da Club, whereas "we be clubbin'" means that we go to Da Club a lot, most weekends in fact). Because of said features (many of which derive from African languages and from older forms of English, via southern slaveowners), it's considered a distinct dialect, and there are a lot of arguments in the black community about whether it should be used and is a valuable part of culture, or if it's bringing black people down. As with clothing, music, and so on, in the context of accents, "urban" is often a euphemism for "black" — and as you might expect, there are different "urban" accents by region as well, influenced by the dominant accent of that region. Atlanta and the South have their own, characterized (for example) by pronouncing "there" as "thurr." "Urban" accents from the East Coast have something of a harder edge to them, and those from the West Coast have a flatter effect. There is a lot of variation in what slang terms get used in different regions; slang from New York City or Philadelphia's black communities will get you funny looks in Atlanta, Seattle, or Cleveland. Obviously, not all black Americans speak in this dialect, and those that don't tend to resent the assumption due to stereotypes that suggest such speakers are uneducated. Or they simply weren't raised within the black community and speak in the dominant accent of their region. Stereotype: Just think of all the stereotypes of black kids and the white kids who want to be like them. It's also not unusual to hear older blacks use bits of slang from their youth despite being outdated for decades, such as "cold", "bad", or "slammin'" for something that's impressive.
- Definitely Darius McCrary can make an Urban accent.
The stereotypical accent of people from New York City and the surrounding area. Today, it's found primarily in Brooklyn, the surrounding areas having one of the four accents below. Characterized by a nasally sound, the shortening of "you" to "yo" (or lengthening it to "youse"), the "er," "or," and "th" sounds becoming "uh," "aw," and "d," respectively, and the extensive use of profanity. William Labov, "the father of sociolinguistics," found that (40 years ago, at least) any single New Yorker was highly unlikely to have all the distinctive local features: most will have only a subset. Stereotypical Noo Yawk phrases include "fuhgeddaboutit" and "ehfuckyou." Note: You can make more linguistic groups of the New York accents, right down to the boroughs (districts) of the city, though the divisions are more class- and ethnicity-based than geographical. Not a good idea, but you can do it. This video gives examples. Stereotype: Working-class, ill-mannered (tactless at best, obnoxious at worst), Yankees or Mets fan. Very likely to be of Italian or Jewish descent. As with Cockney, its rough British equivalent, Noo Yawkers can be either rough-hewn, salt-of-the-earth urbanites, or rude, petty criminals. Puerto Rican-born or -descended Noo Yawkers have their own speech patterns, with subtle differences from Chicano (see below). A Spanish equivalent would be Mexico City Spanish.
- Evil Calvin from Retro Chill.
- All of The Newsies; Racetrack stands out, in particular.
- Vivian Blaine as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.
- Vinny and Lisa (especially Lisa) in My Cousin Vinny
- Ralph and Alice Kramden.
- CSI NY sometimes. Don Flack and Aiden Burn come to mind.
- Mad Men: Peggy Olson's mother and sister have Brooklyn squawks. Ginsburg has a fairly typical "New York Jewish" accent.
- Arguably Lou Reed, famous for his Long Islander snarl.
- Big Wayne from The Lazlow Show has the Queens variant.
- Cubot in these cutscenes from Sonic Colors, that is, until Orbot slaps him, which supposedly makes his voice return to normal.
- The Scout from Team Fortress 2, although canonically, he is a Southie.
- Bugs Bunny. (Mel Blanc said his intention was a mix of Brooklyn and Bronx accents)
The accent of thugs and The Mafia. The two areas, North Jersey and The Bronx, have distinctly different accents, but share the common attribute of stuffing the "th" sound into a "d." (Linguists call this fortition.) Note that if you reached adulthood after The Fifties and say "Joisey," you are almost certainly not a native — though you might be from Long Island or Texas. Regardless, you will almost certainly get your ass kicked. There is a much milder New Jersey/North-East accent that is most apparent by dropping "t" sounds all together note unless it starts a word or it's a double "t." In case of a double "t," it will usually sound more like a "d," making "better" sound more like "bedder." This is also split when it comes to words that end in "t" followed by a word that starts with an "h." "Get him" can sound like either "geddim" or "ge' him." Any time a "d" sound is followed by a "y" consonant sound, the two tend to get collapsed into a single "j" sound, resulting in "did you" becoming "didja". Stereotype: Thug, stooge, gangster, gangster's moll, and nowadays the guido/guidette stereotype.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Similarly, many of the characters in Baccano! fall somewhere between this and Noo Yawk, especially Firo, which is especially odd because it officially takes place in Chicago.
- Meowth from the Pokémon anime.
- Joey Wheeler of Yu-Gi-Oh!, in the 4Kids dub (although he has a few Noo Yawk affectations too).
- Jeff Anderson's (Randal Graves in Clerks) very distinctive snarky drawl appears to be a hybrid of this and Philly. Judge for yourself.
- Makes sense, as Leonardo and Monmouth/Ocean County are a halfway point between New York and Philly. Natives of the area say to themselves: He doesn't have an accent!
- Common on CSI NY, combined with Noo Yawk. Danny Messer notably.
- Many characters on Boardwalk Empire (set in Atlantic City), combined with Noo Yawk.
- Jon Stewart from The Daily Show is a Jersey native, and his normal speech is the actual New Jersey accent. You'll notice it's hard to tell he isn't from Ohio if you aren't paying attention to a few key giveaways (such as not pronouncing the T at the end of "Stewart"). However, he will frequently drop into Flanderized versions of both the "Joisey" accent and the "Noo Yawk" accent pretty much any time it helps his comedic delivery.
- Tony Soprano and the rest of his family.
- Mad Men: Paul Kinsey is originally from Hoboken, and according to his old Princeton classmate, he used to have a super-thick "Joisey" accent (actual classmate's words, and considering it's 1962 at that point...).
- Danny "Danno" Williams of Hawaii Five-0 fame has a very prominent accent. His being from Jersey is even about in-series several times and in an early episode he identifies a guy as fellow "West Orange" by the accent.
- Oddly enough, the blue-skinned alien waitress in Big Bang Bar speaks with a thick Joisey accent.
- Falco Lombardi in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd
- Frank Fontaine of BioShock, as befits his role as a mob boss. However, he affects a mostly convincing Irish one in his guise as Atlas.
- The Goblin race from World of Warcraft all present a very bad New Jersey or Brooklyn accent.
- Daniel O'Brien from Cracked occasionally displays this accent when he appears in videos.
- Mark and Corey of the Let's Play Modestly Proph Itic are New Jersey natives.
- Johnny T from Glove and Boots.
- Snap from Choikzone, bucko. Toh somtimez itz a New Yoik accent, bucko. And fuh no apparent reason, bucko.
- Sheila Brovlofski from South Park. She even mentioned that she is from New Jersey in the episode "It's a Jersey Thing."
- Fowlmouth from Tiny Toon Adventures.
- Tina Russo from The Looney Tunes Show.
- Squirt the Chihuahua from Pound Puppies (2010).
- Babs Seed from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Well, she's from an obvious parody of Manhattan, what would you expect?
- Most teenaged characters in American Dragon: Jake Long. Justified by them being New Yorkers (even if Jake tends to drop it when getting serious).
- Regis Philbin, a native of The Bronx.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, born in Manhattan and raised in The Bronx.
The American "posh" or "snob" accent. Also referred to as Boston Brahmin, after the East Coast Establishment families which are known as such. It is associated with Manhattan stockbrokers, Reagan-era yuppies, and the entire state of Connecticut, or "New England lockjaw" from its rather stiff pronunciation. Think American Psycho or Thurston and Lovey. Clench the jaw and talk about stock prices. The yacht-club villains from a Rodney Dangerfield or a mid-1980s John Cusack movie will probably speak in this accent. Most Baby-Boomer Americans and their parents associate this accent with William F. Buckley, Jr. For younger generations, Mitt Romney presents a Midwesternized variant (he went to prep school, but in his home state of Michigan, and then hung around these types after he went to Harvard for business and law school). It's extremely nasal (the "lockjaw" name is well-justified) with a tendency towards vaguely melodic, dropping tones, and in all respects is very much an Americanized version of a stereotypically posh British accent. Stereotype: Politely amoral greed.
- Christian Bale pretty much nails it (with a touch of Noo Yawk) in American Psycho, although his version is rather muted compared to the stereotype.
- George Feeney from Boy Meets World.
- Thurston Howell II from Gilligan's Island.
- Major Charles Emerson Winchester III from Mash.
- Frasier Crane on Cheers and both he and Niles on Frasier. They're from Seattle (which in itself never came up on Cheers) but both attended Eastern prep schools and Harvard.
- Christopher Buckley.
- George Plimpton had this accent to such a degree that it was almost literally a mix of American and British elements, and could just as easily be placed in "The other Mid-Atlantic" section above. (He voiced George Templeton Strong in Ken Burns' The Civil War.)
Also called "The City Girl Squawk," this is an outgrowth of "Manhattan", probably influenced by "Joisey." Often associated with Queens and "Lunn Guyland", especially in the minds of New Yorkers. A raucous dialect that employs long, whiny vowels, a lazy, whistling "s" and a glottal stop that replaces the "t" in many words: for instance, "bottle" becomes "bah-uhl." It wanders tonally through a larger range than most dialects, but has a tendency to end every phrase with a rising tone as if it were a question (aka "uptalk"). Like all accents, it's used by both genders in Real Life, but on TV, it's almost exclusively spoken by women. Stereotype: Young, upper-middle class women who are shallow, immature and somewhat less intellectually agile than average. Basically, the New York version of the Valley Girl, right down to ending every sentence like a question.note
Examples:Film Live-Action TV
- "The flashy girl from Flushing," Fran Drescher.
- Edith Bunker from All in the Family
- Janice from Friends. OH-WAH... MOY... GAW-AD!
- Cyndi Lauper puts this on when she's in character, although her natural accent is straight-up Noo Yawk.
- Country Music singer Lorrie Morgan seemed to put on a subdued version of this accent whenever she sang.
- Adelaide from Guys and Dolls.
Northeastern/Puerto Rican AKA Nuyorican
What happens when a Caribbean Latino accent crashes headlong into The Affect — fast, high-pitched, and sometimes extremely nasal. Despite the designation Nuyorican, it can appear anywhere in the northeast. Think Rosie Perez (although she does seem to play it up for comedy roles). Jennifer Lopez has a softer, more generic form of the same accent. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—who self-identifies as Nuyorican—also still has traces (polished out by education, but you can still hear it in her interviews and Sesame Street appearance).
Also known as "Borscht Belt," this is the accent spoken by some Jewish people, with influences of Yiddish and Hebrew. The "other" New York accent, and sometimes the standard accent of the non-performing side of show business. Good phrases: "Meshuggenah!", "Schmuck!", "Oy vey!" and "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining!" In addition to Yiddish words, they will also use Yiddish sentence construction such as "What do you know from funny?", "For this I went to college?" "You want I should beg for a visit from my only son?!" or " A heart attack you almost gave me!" Often spoken by stereotypical "New York orphans," even if, by all rights, they really shouldn't be Jewish. (Of course, in the words of Lenny Bruce, "In New York, even if you're Catholic, you're Jewish.") Stereotype: Since this dialect is strongly associated with a racial and religious group, stereotypes are mostly limited to bickering old couples kvetching about how much they paid for something, overbearing mothers, deli owners, token Rabbis, actors' agents, Borscht Belt comedians, and members of the Friar's Club. The occasional Shylock type, as a greedy lawyer or banker, sometimes still shows up.
Examples:Comic Books Live-Action TV
- George's parents on Seinfeld.
- Howard's mother on The Big Bang Theory. ("WHO'S CAWLING AT THIS UNGAWDLY 'OWAH?!")
- Comedian-actor Jackie Mason (who is Jewish) has practically made a career out of this accent.
- John Byner imitated Mason to provide the voice (and accent) for the Aardvark in the 1969-1971 The Ant and the Aardvark cartoons from De Patie Freleng Enterprises.
- In Futurama, Doctor Zoidberg speaks in this accent, although in the Comic Book Adaptation it is acknowledged to be "Squiddish".
- Grampa Boris from Rugrats had this in spades, complete with constant references to "the old country."
- Walter Wolf had one of these in Animaniacs; he was typically attacking Slappy Squirrel, the gimmick being both were in Social Security territory.
- Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons. Appropriately, since he's Jewish (though he doesn't like to admit it).
- Billy Crystal as "Miracle Max" in The Princess Bride, and as "Julius" (a new persona adopted as the result of a hypnosis accident) in the final season of Soap.
- Mel Brooks in every movie and TV show he has ever had a role in — including Jakers!, in which he voices an Irish sheep.
- Joan Rivers also had a slightly tweaked version of this accent.
- Judith Shendlin, better known as Judge Judy. One of her catchphrases is even "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."
This is the accent of people raised in New England who are of Portuguese stock. Also known as "Portugee", this is a subset of "Down East" (see below) that almost never shows up in movies/TV because the producers are afraid that nobody will understand why the blond, blue-eyed guy sounds like a Bostonian (see below) raised in France. Stereotype: Hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-Earth fisherman. Please note that "Portugee" is a slur and a great way to get a chouriçonote -scented fist in your face if you are foolish enough to use this word around Portuguese people, unless you're Portuguese yourself.note
Spoken in upper New England (New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of Massachusetts; you'll hear it less and less as you head towards Western Mass, where it's nearly nonexistent), characterized by broad vowels and terse sentences. What most people think of as "the" classic down east accent comes from "down east" itself, the coast of Maine, where the tendency to use "Ayuh" for "yes" is most often found. The term comes from sailors going to Maine going "Down East". There are differences within the Down East accent itself, of course. Someone from Maine will talk differently than someone from Vermont, and someone from Vermont will talk differently than someone from New Hampshire. Backwoods accents sound much different from city accents. Each state also has vocabulary unique to their culture. For example the words "rig" or "rigging" (in the nautical sense) is often used as a synonym for "create" or "assemble", but only in coastal areas: "I need a rigging to get on that roof" may work fine in Portland, Maine but might get you a blank stare in Rutland, Vermont. "Wicked" tends to be used more generally across NE as an intensifier adverb, as in "wicked good" or "wicked excellent." Copious amounts of profanity are also common, though not as ubiquitous as they are in the Boston metro area. Occasionally mistaken for a Boston accent (which has similar, but not identical features); in New England, the "Boston-but-not-quite" variety of this accent is typically referred to with the blanket label of "townie". Stereotype: taciturn, parsimonious, dry, rural, witty.
- Watch the early scenes in the classic movie Nothing Sacred with this in mind.
- Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall in the movie adaptation of "Pet Sematary."
- Several of the 'locals' in the Chevy Chase movie "Funny Farm."
- Most of Stephen King's books; not only does he write Down-Easters very convincingly, he has a Down East accent himself.
- Bert and I.
- President Calvin Coolidge epitomized the speech and the attitude.
- Margaret Hamilton, in spite of being born and raised in Ohio.
- Rusty Dewees, a Vermont comedian, uses an exaggerated woodland Down East (Vermont) accent in his routine. His routines generally involve Vermont culture and various stories. It can be seen here.
- This man went viral for losing it when he sees a sunfish, mostly due to his reaction, but his strong townie accent also played a part.
Spoken predominately in Vermont, but also much of Connecticut. This accent is characterized by:
- Glottal stop replacement of the "t" sound in a middle of a word (Example: Notebook becomes no'book)
- Complete removal of a "t" sound at the end of a word. (Example: Vermont becomes Vermon)
- If a "t" is not removed from the middle of a word, it is changed to a "d" sound. (Examples: water becomes wadder)
- Broad "a" and "e" sounds. (Examples: calf sounds like caaf)
- Some Vermonters—generally older ones—add an "er" sound to the end of some open-vowelled words. (Example: idea becomes idear)
- There are a few exceptions: the town of Burlington, for example, is pronounced with its "t" sound. Montpelier, Swanton, Milton, and Rutland, however, all have their "t" sounds dropped.
- Creemee: a popular summer dessert similar to soft-serve ice cream, but creamier and with more milkfat.
- Sugar on snow: candy made by pouring heated maple syrup over a pan of snow.
- Jeezum Crow: exclamation of surprise or frustration.
- Grinder: a submarine sandwich.
- Leaf peepers: tourist who come to admire the fall foliage. Often spoken about in an annoyed manner.
- Flatlander: someone who is not originally from Vermont (also used elsewhere).
- Wicked: adjective meaning "very". Also very common in Massachusetts.
- Sugaring season: early spring, when sap is collected and boiled for maple syrup.
- Sugar snow: a light, flaky snow after a relatively warm day/week during sugaring season. It hardly ever affects the flow of sap, contrary to what one would think.
- Maple sugar: a super sweet sugar made by boiling maple sap until all the water is gone. It is much sweeter than white sugar, and is often used in candy.
- Champ: the monster that reportedly lives in Lake Champlain.
- Girls: milkcows.
An urban version of Down East. "Pahk the caah at Haahvad Yaahd."note "I am going to Korear to furthah my careah." "Wheabouts ya from, khed? Bellingham? Ya town is fahkin' queeah, khed." "Jesus fahkin' christ I'm fahkin' hungry. I'm gonna get a grindah at that D'Angelo ovah theah." The Boston accent itself has two extreme versions:
- "Kennedese," so Flanderized that it sounds more Australian than American (at least, what Americans think Australians sound like; it's more like Bostonian with a generous dose of British).
Stereotype: Sophisticated, a leader, rough rich character, Old Money (as Old as money gets in the US, anyway), aristocratic in a non-British-affected way, probably a bit stuck-up, parodying a Kennedy.
- "Southie," mostly associated with gangsters, which can be spotted by a character saying "aboot" or "aboat" for the word "about." If you're going to try to learn only one Boston accent, this would be the one to learn, since it's very similar if not indistinguishable from the accent used in working-class inner suburbs like Cambridge and Medfordnote .
Stereotype: Working-class Irish Catholic roots and a Violent Glaswegian disposition. Also, Cluster F Bombs aplenty.
- A peculiar, seldom-heard subset is the Rhode Island accent, which combines New York percussiveness and Boston consonants with flat Chicago vowels, and sounds vaguely Brooklynese to people from outside the area.note The Luso accent mentioned elsewhere is closely related.
- You will also hear some Bay Staters labialize their Rs — in other words, "Revere" becomes "Veveah". This particular quirk (most strongly associated with Essex County and some of the more heavily Jewish suburbs like Brookline) is nearly unknown outside the area, but has gotten the occasional weak laugh from morning radio DJs.
KennedeseLive Action Television
- Lloyd Grossman, an American who had a career on British TV as a presenter, food critic and general pundit, had an extreme case of pork the core in a core pork note . Fans were fascinated with the unique accent he spoke with, and speculated as to which part of the USA the generally urbane, witty and likeable Grossman came from.
- It is important to note that while Grossman grew up in Massachusetts, his years in England have mutated his accent into a mishmash of a Boston accent and a very strong British accent. The "pork the core" sounds almost nothing like a typical Boston "pahk the cah"
- Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons
- Mrs. Kerplopolis-Awesome on Rated A for Awesome
- Given that they're the Trope Namers, any member of the Kennedy family would count, but JFK and his siblings are especially noticeable examples.
- Comedian Jay Larson.
- Jeremy Crispo, with a case of Elmuh Fudd Syndwome.
- Don Pardo, longtime announcer of Saturday Night Live.
- The Departed is a gold mine of these.
- Good Will Hunting the characters played by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
- Inglourious Basterds: The Bear Jew.
He went YARDO on that one!
- The Town and Gone Baby Gone—Casey Affleck likes this trope, unsurprisingly.
- Faith Lehane of Buffy the Vampire Slayer uses a stereotypical Southie accent. (Her actress Eliza Dushku is from Boston herself, but speaks with a more middle-class accent.)
- John Ratzenberger was probably trying to do this in Cheers, but wound up with way too much Kennedy in Cliff's accent.
- 30 Rock: Nancy Donovan (played by Julianne Moore) Jack's high school crush and of his two love interests in Season 4, is from South Boston and sounds like it (in an exaggerated fashion). Very rarely, Jack will "slip" into this accent as well.
- Click and Clack from NPR's Car Talk have this accent.
- David Young, the protagonist of D4, speaks in this accent, as well as a majority of other characters, since the game takes place in Boston.
- MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell often slips into (and usually deliberately exaggerates) this accent when covering stories about his native Boston. Otherwise he speaks in a deliberately neutral accent as is typical of television broadcasters.
Rhode IslandLive-Action TV
- George Luz in Band of Brothers.
- Nahman Jayden from Heavy Rain has a bit of a Bostonian accent going on. Although this might be because Bostonian is the closest American accent his voice actor could produce, being British and all.
- Peter Griffin from Family Guy has this accent and done pretty well—then again, he is created and voiced by native and RISD graduate Seth MacFarlane.
- The most famous example is probably Emeril Lagasse, who is not from Rhode Island but Fall River, across the border in Massachusetts, where the accent spills over to New Bedford or thereabouts and combines with the Luso accent; this is fitting, since Emeril is half-Portuguese (his father was French-Canadian). (Emeril enunciates his vowels a bit more than the typical Rhode Islander though.)
A city with a lot of Irish, Italian, and particularly Eastern European influences from the days of being a steel town, as well as several unique constructs such as "yinz" for the plural "you" (becoming less contracted the farther east you go, reaching "you'uns" around the center of the state) and "nebby" for "nosy". They have great trouble with diphthongs and tend to turn them all into a short "a" sound (As in "dahntahn" for "downtown.") A few examples of Pittsburghese — bologna is called "jumbo," rubber bands are called "gum bands" and "redding up" means doing housework. Iron is pronounced as "arn" (such as "Arn" City Beer). This accent also features heavy rounding of the vowel "ah", sometimes to where a British person would pronounce the "o" in "gone". Some additional examples: "jag-off" for asshole, "warsh" for wash, chipped ham for chip-chopped ham (although Pittsburgh is not alone in this, plus the food originates in Pittsburgh), "Stillers" for Steelers, etc. Stereotype: American descendants of the Stupid Pollock. Low-class and vulgar, economically depressed and trying to make up for it through a slavish devotion to local sports teams (Especially the Steelers).
- Hollywood has yet to represent the Pittsburgh accent properly in films that are set there. In Striking Distance, two characters who were supposedly born and raised in the city had New York (Bruce Willis') and Midwest (Dennis Farina's) accents.
- Sullivan and Sons is a comedy about a corporate lawyer taking over his father's bar in Pittsburgh. Per usual, the accents are terrible. Additionally, the cast have some strange slang and inflections that are definitely not Pittsburghese.
- Innocent Blood, John Landis' often forgotten vampire movie set in Pittsburgh, whose main characters are very Italian-American (portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia and Robert Loggia), and while Pittsburgh does have a sizable population of Italian descent, there's nothing even remotely like a Cosa Nostra-type mafia. Although the film-makers did get their neighborhoods right.
- Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno did an equally terrible job with Pittsburgh accents. Jeff Anderson didn't even try to change his very famous Jersey accent, and their attempt at a stereotypical drunken Steelers fan sounds more like a stereotypical drunken Bears fan. But on a positive note, the Monroeville Zombies hockey team was so awesome that it might soon become a case of Life Imitates Art.
- Mike And Molly: Billy Gardell, the actor who portrays Mike Biggs, is a stand-up comedian born and (mostly) raised in the Pittsburgh suburb of Swissvale, and he doesn't hide his Yinzer accent.
- Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller still has a bit of his Yinzer accent left.
- Character actor Ed O'Ross (born Ed Orosz).
- BILLY MAYS HERE, AND I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU ABAHT MY HOMETAHN, PITTSBURGH!
- Fred Rogers
- Andy Warhol
- The late, beloved Pittsburgh Steelers sportscaster Myron Cope had a particularly jarring one, along with a bit of Alter Kocker. Justified as he began as a writer, not as someone who announced in public. Fans loved his unusual delivery and personality, anyway.
About halfway between Da Bronx/Noo Yawk and Pittsburgh, in both geography and accents, is Philly. Take Pittsburgh's flat vowel sounds, combine it with Da Bronx's disdain for pronouncing the letter h, add gratuitous use of "yo" as an interjection, and "youse" as a plural second person pronoun (possessive form: youse's), and you're about there. The 'ow' sound is replaced with a flat 'a', so "owl" becomes "al" and "towel" becomes "tal". Pronouncing "water" as "wooder" is also common and considered by many to be the defining characteristic of a Philly accent (This feature also spills into Maryland and parts of New Jersey and Delaware). Other characteristics include a clipped, percussive inflection, insistence on using articles (i.e. the, this) even when they do not hold particular grammatical weight, and stereotypically Mid-atlantic vowel traits (ex. "cot" and "caught", "Don" and "Dawn" sounding distinct from one another.) A Philadelphian might react to a story in the newspaper about the local football team with "Yo, you see dis ting in da Inky abaht dee Iggles?"(Translation: "Hey, did you see this thing in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Eagles?") However, certain neighborhoods do experience a slight difference in accent and wording, according to its inhabitants. Well-known regional accents include South Philly, North Philly, and the inexplicable Northeast accent. A lot of the features listed here are very distinctly South Philly. North Philly is mostly black and you'll hear mainly Black English Vernacular (see "Urban"). Stereotype: Thick-headed, overly aggressive. Superstitious and crazy when it comes to their sports teams.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- In the English dub of The Cat Returns, Muta speaks with a Philadelphia accent.
- Rocky Balboa, the definitive South Philly accent.
- Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron from Band of Brothers.
- The real Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron, as seen in the interview clips. The actors portraying them don't use accurate Philly accents.
- Seeley Booth on Bones occasionally slips into this. Unsurprising, considering both the character and actor David Boreanaz are from Philadelphia.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, of course—although not necessarily with the main characters, as only Rob McElehenny, who plays Mac, is actually from Philly (although Danny DeVito, being from Monmouth County, New Jersey, arguably has a sort of half-Philly, half-New York accent). However, some Philly-based actors do show up in bit parts.
- Mad Men: Betty Draper's father, Gene Hofstadt. Betty and her brother don't seem to have the accent; this is probably the influence of education (probably unlike Gene, they grew up in the Pennsylvania Main Line town of Lower Merion).
- Bart Rathbone from Adventures in Odyssey seems to have this.
The old joke goes that Pennsylvania has Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other, and Alabama in between. The large rural population in central Pennsylvania frequently carries the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect - "rural" here meaning "anyone not living in an urban center, and probably a lot of city folk too." The dialect originates from the German settlers ("dutch" being a gradual change from "deutsch," meaning "German") in the area in the early 18th century. Fun fact: these non-English settlers were deeply mistrusted by the English colonists to the east - Ben Franklin, among others, wrote about his fear that the young nation might be corrupted by the dregs of German society. The dialect also survives in a few neighboring states, but the vast majority of speakers can be found in central Pennsylvania. Main features of this dialect are omission of words and scrambling of sentence construction ("Throw the cow over the fence some hay," rather than "Throw some hay over the fence for that cow.") Particularly glaring is the removal of the verb phrase "to be" - "That car needs washed" is seen as a totally complete and correct sentence to native speakers. There is also a general sing-songy lilt in conversation, particularly found in questions. Similar to Pittsburgh, "you all" is said as "youns." More extreme examples feature consonant changes more akin to German speech. Also found are certain figures of speech - "come here once" (or "vonst") instead of "come here for a moment," for example, or "the chips are all" instead of "the chips are all gone." Confusing, ain't? Also found in central Pennsylvania are some of the largest communities of Amish Mennonites, famous for living simply and eschewing modern technology, though how much each particular community avoids or embraces certain technology seems to vary, as well as how dutchy their speech is. But yes, the horse and buggies are frequently found on the roads of Lancaster and Snyder counties. Stereotype: Country rednecks who eat weird food (look up scrapple if you haven't heard of it), or buggy-driving barn-raisers.
Baltimoreans say they are from "Ballamur" or "Bawlmore", which is in the state of "Merlin" or "Marilyn," and hang a "hon" (short for "honey", pronounced "hun") at the ends of their sentences. If they are deep-inner-city Baltimore, all the vowels are different from all the other American vowels; back vowels are eliminated in favor of front rounded vowels. One of the defining characteristics of this accent is the strong fronting of the "oh" vowel in particular; when exaggerated, it practically becomes a long-a sound (like the "a" in "state"). Consonants occurring in the middle or at the end of a word are often dropped, slurred, or replaced with a glottal stop. Shares some similarity with Philadelphia (see notes on "water" and "towel" above.) Occasionally sticks 'R's where they don't belong, as in "Warshington DC." People of Baltimore go "downy ayshin" for vacation, meaning down to Ocean City, MD. An odd mix of European immigrant, Dixie, Appalachian and Tidewater. Stereotype: Polite sorta-Southerner who somehow ended up having your wallet; truck-stop waitress. People in John Waters' movies.
- Edna Turnblad and others in Hairspray. People watching the 2007 remake often wondered why John Travolta was talking so strangely, but his accent was fairly accurate.
- For that matter, any early John Waters movie.
- The Wire: Surprisingly few, all things considered—although when you remember that most of the cast is Black (who have a different accent) this becomes less surprising. Ballmur accents are most common in Season 2, where a lot of the dockworkers have more modern "soft" B-more accents; the white police (e.g. McNulty, Valchek, Herc, and Rawls) are mostly the same, along with Carcetti (who shows up in Season 3, but never mind). In Season 4, Lt. Asher notably mentions building his summer house "downy ayshin." Also, McNulty intentionally affects a very thick Bawlmore accent in Season 5 when he's posing as the fake serial killer he made up in a phone call he made to Scott Templeton.
- Showed up occasionally on Homicide Life On The Street.
- 90's Boy Band Dru Hill is named after Druid Hill Park, pronounced "Dru Hill" in the local accent.
As with the British "Received Pronunciation", the target of many American actors is, unless the role allows them to use their own regional accent, or a "regional" is required by the character, the neutral-sounding accent of the Midwestern states sometimes called Newscaster English or General American. This seems to lead to Americans claiming that people from the Midwest "don't have an accent", whereas, like everyone else on Earth, they obviously do. There is, in fact, a distinct Midwestern accent is spoken by Midwesterners. Just as some Southerners speak with accents while others talk like people on TV, some Midwesterners speak with a very distinct accent while others talk like people on TV. Generally speaking, the more rural you get, the "flatter" and more nasally-aspirated the vowels sound, taking on a similar affect to Inland North, but without the associated vowel shift. The native accent is centered on the state of Iowa (as well as central Illinois), but it's being encroached upon from all sides (and particularly by Inland North from the Great Lakes), and may eventually disappear from the wild (or mutate into something else). Stereotype: None, really, as this is the closest to a "default" American accent, and doesn't draw attention to itself as a specifically regional accent. If overemphasized, or contrasted with accents from metropolitan areas, can imply "naive bumpkin" or "hayseed". See also those "Mid-West farmers' daughters".
- Midwestern is the most common American accent in fiction. This is (as stated in the page description) due to the fact that it is very neutral, easy to fake, and doesn't carry the baggage of any regional identity (which would make it harder for Americans outside of that region to relate to the character).
- Mad Men: Don Draper. It adds to his general and highly cultivated "All-American Man" air, so you might think it to be fakery, but he came by it honestly. He grew up in the middle of nowhere in Illinoisnote (he eventually moved to central Pennsylvania, but he was ten years old by then).
- Edward R. Murrow had this accent. This is part of why it is "Newscaster Standard" and the closest to a "generic" American accent.
- Similarly, Walter Cronkite, from Kansas City, has a slightly North Midlands-influenced version of this accent.
- Brits: this is John Barrowman's American accent. He acquired it honestly, having spent his adolescence in Aurora, Illinois (just far enough away from Chicago to avoid speaking Chicagonese).
- Gary Sinise, thanks to his growing up in Chicago.
- Brad Jones, aka The Cinema Snob, from Springfield, Illinois.
Chicagonese / Inland North
Ranging from northern New York to to Southeast Wisconsin along the Great Lakes, this is the result of the famed Northern Cities Vowel Shift. This accent gets stronger as you go further west, but is most closely associated with Chicago, and to a lesser extent Cleveland. Guido mobsters will be heard using the accent, if they aren't using the Brooklyn one. The word for carbonated soft drinks is "pop", except for the eastern reaches of the dialect in central New York as well as Eastern Wisconsin (especially the Milwaukee area), where it's "soda". People from the "pop"-saying area tend to be very defensive about it, regarding "soda" as a word exclusively denoting the non-scientific name for sodium bicarbonate (baking soda); a few Eastern-educated Midwesterners (David Foster Wallace comes to mind) attempt to keep the peace by calling it "soda-pop," though to what effect is unclear. Among the most universal traits:
- "ah" as in "cot" becomes closer to the "a" in "cat"note ,
- "aw" as in "caught" moves in to fill the space left behind by "ah" (though the two sounds remain distinct),
- the short "a" (as in the aforementioned "cat") is frequently broken into a diphthong ("can" comes out like "keean", for example),
- The short "e" as in "bet" moves to the short "u" in "cut",
- The short "u" as in "cut" sounds more like "aw", and
- The short "i" in "bit" is lowered and backed, sounding more like "bet", but kept distinct, so that the pin-pen merger does not occur.
- Velar stops are also frequently exaggerated, especially after consonants (the word Wisconsin would be pronounced wisConsin).
- Areas on the Canadian border will also feature Canadian Raising that affects only the long "I"-sound. The words "rider" and "writer" are distinct by virtue of their vowels, but people don't "go oat" when they leave the house.
- While not always present, some may pronounce "oht" and "awt" sounds with L's in them (e.g. "both" becomes "bolth").
- Australian Heath Ledger does a pretty decent job of affecting something between this and Midwestern in The Dark Knight (shot in Chicago), but Aaron Eckhart does it more consistently and subtly in the same film. (Eckhart breaks his short "a"s, while Ledger only does it part of the time).
- Dan Aykroyd does it just about perfectly in The Blues Brothers, despite being from Canada.
- Chicago native Harold Ramis didn't do a very good job disguising his accent in Ghostbusters, where he plays an Ambiguously Jewish Cleveland native living in New York City (and apparently for quite some time). It's also present in Stripes, which is set... somewhere that probably isn't Chicago. In fact, Ramis's accent was pretty glaring throughout his entire life.
- NYPD Blue was notorious for confusing the two.
- Saturday Night Live's Superfans.
- A couple of the characters on Parks and Recreation, which, being set in Indiana—albeit south-central Indiana—isn't too far off the mark. Jim O'Heir's Jerry/Larry/Terry/Garry Gergich is the best example (and no wonder-O'Heir is from Chicago).
- Coach Z of Homestar Runner fame has an exaggerated version of this accent, though most people with this accent will not say "jorb". (They might, however, say "jaahb".)
- That Guy with the Glasses himself, Doug Walker.
- The Irate Gamer, most obviously in words like "both" or "flaw", which become "bolth" and "flawl", respectively.
- James Belushi and his late brother John.
- Any given film critic from a Chicago-area newspaper (Ebert, Roeper, Phillips, we're lookin' at you).
- Can be used for Cubs fans, Browns fans, Bears fans, Cheeseheads, and other sports fans from the region.
- Percy Peoples.
- This is an example of the accent intentionally exaggerated for comic effect.
- Barack Obama.
This accent is sort of what happens when Appalachian meets Inland North, but also takes cues from Pittsburgh. It's spoken in central and southern Ohio, central Indiana and Illinois and parts of Iowa and Missouri (where it starts to merge with Midwestern), and can sometimes be found as far west as parts of Nebraska and northern Kansas. It has the same back-vowel shifts as Inland North, but can retain some features of Appalachian ("warsh" comes up from time to time, ESPECIALLY in St. Louis). The biggest peculiarity of this accent (if not a universal one) is the "positive anymore"; essentially using the word "anymore" to mean something like "nowadays" or "from now on". Stereotype: Being rustic without quite being a full-blown hillbilly. Or just being a hillbilly, if you're feeling unkind. Alternatively, way too hardcore Big Ten football fans.
Think Inland North trapped in the North Midland. Despite being closer to the Ozarks than Chicago, the St. Louis accent is heavily influenced by the Northern Cities Vowel Shift and sounds quite similar to Chicagonese with some notable local differences, such as the use of "soda" instead of "pop" as well as some influence from Pittsburgh and Appalachia, mainly the word "warsh". Warsh, however, is most commonly used by the older generation and is gradually dying out with time, causing St. Louis to become more and more of an Inland North city. There is also some influence from Yat as St. Louis was owned by France a very long time ago and still has the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country after New Orleans. In parts of South St. Louis, especially in neighborhoods settled by French and Italian immigrants, the word "po boy" is used for a submarine sandwich, although this is quickly dying out and being replaced with "sub". Also, "hoosier" refers to anyone from the country and is a term of derision (sorry, Indiana). St. Louisans are especially well-known for substituting the th sound with a d, as in "Get in dat car over dere" instead of "Get in that car over there." Nicknames are big in St. Louis - the Cardinals will always be "da Cards", Interstate 40 / 64 will always be "40", University City is "U City", Jefferson County is "Jeff County" and of course North County, South County, Mid County, and West County all refer to the different parts of St. Louis County. Stereotype: Loves the Cardinals to the point of religion, as well as Budweiser beer and toasted ravioli. Criticizes all other parts of St. Louis besides their own neighborhood.
- Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Sam Dotson, both heard throughout the country as a result of the Ferguson unrest.
- John Goodman
- The Stranger
- Jon Hamm was born in St. Louis and grew up in its suburbs. His accent is closer to the "neutral" Midwestern on account of practice, but it still shows up sometimes.
This is probably best described as a strange combination of the Inland North and Vermont accents. There's a hint of influence from their Canadian neighbors — "about" is not quite pronounced "aboot", but it's close, and "eh" is relatively common. Humorously, people with these accents are perhaps the most likely to say, "But we don't have an accent," second, perhaps, only to those with the standard Midwestern accent. This accent is also characterized by a glottal stop; t 's (and sometimes g 's and nd 's) are often chopped off at the end of words. Talking quickly is an optional part of the accent, but doing so makes the above-mentioned glottal stop more defined, and obviously, it has the effect of having words sound slurred together. Some endword consonants—r, in particular—are more drawn out than usual. For instance, fire sounds like "fye-errr;" particularly distinctive is the pronunciation of "car." In Southeast Michigan, unnecessarily adding a possessive "'s" to proper nouns is a common additional feature. "Ford's" (for the car company) is particularly common, as is "Meijer's" (for Meijer, the less-evil local version of Walmart). The other thing to remember is this: Someone from Michigan is called a "Michigander" Stress the second-to-last syllable (Mish-uh-GAN-der). Consult this guide for more information.
- Tim Allen. It's most notable in The Santa Clause series, where he repeatedly says "roof" as "ruf".
- Iggy Pop's Michigan accent is on full display in his bit with Tom Waits in Coffee And Cigarettes. You can kind of hear it elsewhere, but in that scene it's particularly obvious.
- The White Stripes: Jack White's Detroit origins are clear whenever he isn't faking being from somewhere else; Meg never even bothers to fake an accent on the rare occasions she does speak. Incidentally, they also get a scene, in their native accents, in Coffee and Cigarettes.
- Michael Moore.
- Alice Cooper, with a touch of Appalachia (his mother is from Tennessee).
Scandahoovian. It is found in the states of the northern Midwest west of the Great Lakes, chiefly Minnesota (the state that it's most frequently associated with), North Dakota, Northern Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Has a mixed influence of Canadian and Scandinavian accents. A mix of flat vowels and a sing-song inflection make this accent hard to describe. Common phrases include "Don'cha know" and "You (pronounced yoowoo) betcha." "Yes" is expressed as "Yah" with a pulled "A", commonly as "Oh ya-a-ah". "Coupon" is pronounced "kyoo-pahn." A common bumper sticker in Michigan's Upper Peninsula perfectly sums up this accent: "I'm from da UP, eh?" (pronounced "I'm frum daah yoo-pee, ay?") Some of the "yooper"isms may also cross over to the Lower Michigan accent, above (particularly north of Saginaw, it gets stronger the closer you get to the Mackinac Bridge). In North Dakota in particular, there is a peculiar slurring of words with two stressed "oo"s such as root. Words like these are shortened into a short U sound, rhyming with "put". Stereotype: Homespun, self-effacing, middle-aged, stay-at-home moms. Surprised by any attitude prevalent after the 1950s. Very frequently a Glurge Addict. Examples: Bobby's mom from Bobby's World cartoon, the den mother for the nursery in A Bug's Life, Frances McDormand in Fargo. Mothers outside of the Upper Midwest seem to develop this accent for some strange reason, all around the nation!
- See Fargo for a classic movie example.
- Grace, the receptionist at Ferris Bueller's school.
- The porcupines from Over the Hedge seemed to have these.
- New In Town.
- Escanaba in Da Moonlight is a perfect example of the "yooper" accent.
- Most of the cast of Drop Dead Gorgeous have thick Minnesota accents. Allison Janney later gave a more muted version in Juno (also set in Minnesota).
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 did dead-on parodies of this in several episodes. Tom Servo and Pearl Forrester display less-exaggerated versions of same. (After all, the show was produced in Minnesota by a cast and crew of Upper Midwesterners.)
- See any show with Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver, Stargate SG-1).
- Lucille Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati (Edie McClurg, of course)
- Da Yoopers, being a band from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, alternate between playing it straight and exaggerating it for laughs.
- You can hear traces of Bob Dylan's northern Minnesota roots on his first few albums, particularly the way he vocalizes the letter R.
- Louie Anderson was from St. Paul, Minnesota. Write What You Know.
- Maria Bamford has this accent, even when she isn't over-exaggerating it to sound like people she knows.
- As might be expected, Rifftrax continues this; in one movie (The Day After Tomorrow, IIRC), they even have a lengthy conversation about ice-fishing that highlights the peculiarities of speech, with such phrases as "a coupla two-t'ree beers", while Dennis Quaid and crew are walking across a large, snowy area.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara has a mild case. Most noticeable in his pronouncing "oo" as "uh" (as in "ruhm" and "ruhf").
- Suburban mothers in cartoons especially seem to speak like this: see Life With Louie, Bobby's World, and Stewart's mother from Beavis And Butthead. It was also parodied in Codename: Kids Next Door with the villain "Midwestern Mom" and is spoken in a straight version by Hoagie/Numbuh 2's own Mother.
- Basically, any voice by Edie McClurg.
- Pickles the Drummer of Metalocalypse is a Wisconsinite.
- Toby’s mother in Mission Hill.
- Reverend Stroup of King of the Hill, a Minnesotan transplant to Texas.
- Garfield and virtually any other character voiced by Lorenzo Music.
- Sarah Palin was raised in the Mat-Su Valley region of Alaska, which was the site for a large, WPA-sponsored relocation from Minnesota in the 1930's, thus giving her speech a Minnesota-like sound to it note
- To stir up tourism in Michigan in the eighties, the state passed out bumper stickers that said "Say Yes to Michigan". Naturally, the Upper Peninsula folks came up with their own Yooper version - "Say Ya to da UP, eh?".
Spoken in the Mountain Time Zone and parts of Texas; may be confused with Dixie by the uninitiated. Example: "I'm going to get on my horse" becomes "Ahm-a-gonna-git-ahn-muh-horse." In literature, this accent is frequently described as a "Texas drawl" with lots of "th" and "rr" sounds: "Oil" = "errl" — sometimes. You can often tell what part of Texas the speaker is from by the way he/she pronounces "oil business". In some parts, it is pronounced "awl bidniz". However, the association of this accent with Texas is a partial fallacy, as there are at least five separate English dialects spoken in Texas. They range through a cowboy drawl, to a straight southern accent, to the stilted speech pattern characteristic of President Bush. A recent outgrowth of the tech boom in Houston and Austin is that many people newly immigrated to the US will take on this accent, although most depictions in media still give recent immigrants New York, California or neutral (relative to their native) accents. Stereotype: Laconic, to the point of being nearly mute.
Examples:Film Live-Action TV
- In the pilot for WKRP in Cincinnati, Gary Sandy (as New Mexican Andy Travis) has a noticeable one. It's fainter as the show goes on.
The curious intersection of Cowboy and Valley Girlnote found in the predominantly Mormon regions of the Intermountain West: Utah, southern Idaho, plus parts of Arizona, Nevada and Wyoming. Think Napoleon Dynamite. Look for a thorough caught-cot merger and a prominent glottal stop resulting in the letter T swallowed whole out of some words (like "mountain" and "button"), only to be burped back up in others where it doesn't belong (the Nelsons and the Wilsons become "the Neltsons and the Wiltsons"). Generally spoken with a slow, singsong rhythm, but multi-word proper nouns often get squished together as though they're single words ("BookoMormon", "SalLakeCity"). Minced oaths are common as well, especially on Sundee, the Lard's day. Unique jargon includes using "ignorant" (pronounced "ignernt") to mean "rude", using "scone" to mean "piece of fried bread" and saying "sluff" instead of "cut class" or "play hooky" ("she sluffed 3rd period yesterday"). Has been steadily losing ground to Midwestern / Newscaster in more urban areas since the nineties. Stereotype: Those missionaries on your doorstep; Donny and Marie Osmond.
- Napoleon Dynamite. Gosh!
- Lillenthal in Corner Of A Round Planet has this accent, minus the minced curses (he's an army man...) The accent is described, and all dialogue given to the character matches both the word choices and the sentence structures typical of someone native to southern Idaho.
- Matthew Gray Gubler (from Las Vegas) has a bit of this in his speech.
- Wilford Brimley. Memetic Mutation of his Liberty Medical commercials has made him famous for the way he pronounces "diabetes" as "diabeetus" (which is usually more associated with the Southern accent, but can crop up in a lot of places), but his voice otherwise displays the slow, singsongy nature of the Jello Belt accent.
- Animator Don Bluth is certainly no exception, as you can obviously hear from his numerous tutorial videos for future animators who were influenced by his works on his site. This is probably due to the fact that he grew up on a dairy farm in Payson, Utah.
The general case (oppose Valley Girl, Surfer Dude, Norcal) of the Californian accent is pretty similar to "Newscaster" Midwester, enough so that many people staunchly refuse to believe there is a Californian accent outside of Valley/Surfer or NorCal. Mostly notable for its vowel sounds- basically put, there are fewer distinct vowels in Californian than other accents. For example, "ah" and "aw" are merged, resulting in the pairs "cot" and "caught", "collar" and "caller", "Don" and "Dawn" being indistinguishable. Some vowel shifts and mergers happen on a more local basis- one common shibboleth is to ask for a glass of "melk," for example. Differentiation tends to be more on the basis of vocabulary. Another sometimes-noted California trait, especially in the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, is a habit of drawling really fast. No, seriously; words or individual syllables tends to be longer than in many accents, but they come spaced closer together. Stereotype: Not too many that actually fall into this category; its more stereotyped children get their own categories below.
Valley Girl (California)
Exaggerated form of a California accent? It's associated with California's (and especially Southern California's) vast tracts of suburbia, and takes its name from, like, the San Fernando Valley? Northwest of Los Angeles? It's like, I mean, a breezy, like, breathless, totally sing-song rhythm, you know? And it, like, ends every sentence as if it has, like, a question mark? (This is called a rising inflection, and is common in most of California; see above under The Affect for more information.) Like, you totally stretch out, like, the vowels in, like, the sentence, at random? Or to add, like, emphasis? (Valley girl enunciation also frequently features an extreme version of some So Cal speakers' tendency to pronounce vowels a little further back in the mouth than most; when this appears without the valspeak stereotype, it can be a little jarring and unplaceable.) More recently, 21st century forms of this accent (most notably embodied in the Kardashian sisters) have been blamed, rightly or wrongly, for the worldwide spread of vocal fry, a low, creaky register that seems to denote increased seriousness. As with many linguistic innovations associated with young women, people's opinion of it is... mixed. Stereotype: Like, shallow? And so stupid? With totally bleached blonde hair?
Examples:Film Live-Action TV
- Selfie has this from main character Eliza (played by Scottish Karen Gillan), with (in Karen's word's) with upward inflections, and likes, and a croak in her voice.
- The title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Perhaps more pronounced in the movie than the series, but it popped up in both now and then.
- So is Laguna Beach. Omigod!
- Valley Girl Vicki on Saturday Night Live.
- Moon Zappa on (her father) Frank Zappa's track "Valley Girl" (which allegedly established the "Valley Girl" as a cultural phenomenon outside the San Fernando Valley itself).
Surfer Dude (California)
The male equivalent of the above, fallen from style (in favor of "Urban") as the teenage poser accent. Occasionally also called "Dudebro". All the "cool" kids used it in the 80s. Typical phrases: "Duuuuuuuuuuude!", "Gnarly!" Usually seen as a result of attempts to be Totally Radical. While its coolness has fallen out of style, it's still common in coastal Southern California, along with Military Basic. Stoner characters in movies tend to speak in this accent regardless of where they're from. People in Southern California are also liable to use Spanish slang words when English is deemed insufficient, much like Yiddish in New York. Stereotype: Stoner, poser, lazy teenage bum, older surfer, sk8er boy, or all the above.
- 3 Ninjas features Fester, Marcus, and Hammer, dude.
- Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (played by Sean Penn) is perhaps the archetypical example.
- The turtles in Finding Nemo.
- Bill and Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure speak this way. Rather than surfer dudes, however, they're hard rock fans from the inland city of San Dimas.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic. His accent is more subdued than most, but he's still from Los Angeles. This can be readily ascertained from his rhymes, such as "law" and "kazaa" in "Don't Download This Song".
- 90's Kid on Atop the Fourth Wall.
- Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles takes it to the extreme, dudes! Cowabunga!
- Pauly Shore.
- Keanu Reeves. note
- Greg Cipes. His over-the-top surfer accent is completely genuine.
- Truth in Television: for many native and long-time resident Californians, "dude" is ubiquitous and said straight without the stupid accent or (even) a hint of irony. It's a full-blown part of most Californians' vocabularies.
- Jeff "The Dude" Bridges, of course.
- J. G. Quintel, creator of Regular Show. He uses his normal voice for Mordecai, and has no shortage of "dude"s.
Nor Cal (California)
Imagine what a New Yorker would sound like if he lived in California for twenty years. This is the accent spoken by people in Northern California, at its strongest in San Francisco. This accent is similar to a midwestern accent, but faster and almost whispery, with a hard R and slurred S. Think Clint Eastwood. This dialect is most famous for the word "Hella," meaning "very" or "a lot," which is guaranteed to annoy a Southern Californian. Another peculiarity of this accent is the way natives pronounce "San Francisco": combining the hard R and slurred S, it becomes "Saffernshissco". The slurred S often makes a Northern Californian sound perpetually drunk to non-natives. Due to the high African-American and Mexican populations, some will also replace "th" sounds with "f" (as in, "goffic") as a result of the standard accent blending with Urban or Latino accents. Stereotype: Anxious twenty-something, drinks and smokes heavily, pays close attention to indie music, and possibly Straight Gay. If a woman, she will fit all these qualities, plus wear a scarf and be quirky. Both of them are broke but talented artists—unless you're from Oakland, in which case you are a criminal, drug-dealer/user, poor, or a high-school dropout. Bonus points if they're a Starving Artist from Oakland trying to get to San Francisco or Los Angeles.
- MythBusters is full of these. Kari and Tory both have these, as well as nearly every friend of the show who comes on from time to time.
- Huey Lewis
- Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
- Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir
- Steve Perry of Journey.
- Billie Joe Armstrong.
The majority of settlers of Pasadena came from The Chicago Area and later Texas and Louisiana rather than the Ozarks, so that city has developed a different accent that's gotten stronger with time. "Aba't" and "ta'n" (roughly) for "about" and "town," "Shooer" for sure, "airings" for "earrings," "Do'er battit" (don't worry about it), and copious Briticisms. Home of the aforementioned "melk." Stereotype: Black and Nerdy, or possibly an Upper-Class Twit. Unfortunately, if they're on TV, they'll probably sound like they're from Connecticut.
With the growing number of Latin Americans living in the United States, it was inevitable that the accent would start to creep into the media. This accent is commonly found in California, the Southwest, and other areas populated by Latinos, and is often filled with Spanish words and inflections, which has led to it being mistakenly labeled "Spanglish." While most of the Latinos in other states are from one or two areas (Mexicans in California, Puerto Ricans in New York), Florida has a huge mix of Central American, Caribbean and South American accents. God help you if you confuse them, especially Venezuelan for Peruvian or Colombian. And remember, Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish, as they will handily remind you numerous times. A similar but more anglicized "general deep southwestern" accent has emerged running roughly from Downtown Los Angeles to Tucson, characterized by forming vowels in the far front of one's mouth. Think Edward James Olmos. Stereotype: Just think of all of the stereotypes about Latinos, and you're good to go. Number one being the stereotype that all Latin Americans from Mexico to Argentina have the same accent. Of note is that Guadalajaran is basically the Mexican equivalent of Midwestern — when exaggerated it makes you sound like a hayseed, but when played normally it's pretty much "standard Mexican".
- American Me
- Cheech Marin (a real-life native of the San Fernando Valley, so he comes by it naturally). Tommy Chong has more of a laidback Surfer accent.
Often mistaken for Midwestern/Newscaster English, but there are some emerging distinctive features. People from this area do have a unique accent if listeners pay attention: as in Californian, they merge the low back vowels "ah" and "aw", resulting in the pairs "cot" and "caught", "collar" and "caller", "Don" and "Dawn" being indistinguishable. Other vowels are subject to Canadian vowel shifts, with short "e" sounding like a short "i" ("elk" -> "ilk"), short "a" like "ah", and some rounding of "ah" (which makes it sound like the British short "o"). Also the vowel "a" before the letter "g" is usually a sharp "aee", resulting in non-natives finding words like "drags" and "dregs" indistinguishable; one of the easiest ways to identify a native northwester is to ask him to say the word "dragon". Often, "full" sounds the same as "fool". The word "exit" is sometimes pronounced like "eggs-it", as well. Place names and other special vocabulary get unique treatment. Many words and city names were borrowed from the languages of the Salish peoples native to the region. The Salishan languages are among the tongue-twisting known to linguistics, and the borrowings, while easier to pronounce, are still bewildering. Words like "geoduck" ("gooeyduck"), "Puyallup" ("pyew-AL-up"), "Issaquah" ("ISS-uh-kwah"), "Sequim" ("squim") and Seattle (named after Chief Sealth) are some examples. At least one local TV station has run an ad with a newscaster rattling off correct pronunciations of local place names to emphasize that he grew up in the area rather than being an import from another market, and similar to the Yat example above, it's a source of amusement for locals to listen to people from other regions try to work out the pronunciation. Fairly common slang terms are spendy for expensive and windy (WINE-dee) for winding. Another case is Oregon, being the historical name of the entire area and the name of one the major states. Natives pronounce it ORE-Gun or ORE-ih-Gun while non-natives unfamiliar will call it Ory-GONE, Or-Y-Gun, or Ar-A-Gin. (Which is a good way to piss off the locals if only ever so slightly.) Montana is a strange case, as the natives speak a blend of Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest, Midwestern, and Canadian. Some of the "hickier" sections (we're looking at you, Butte!) add in a little cowboy. Also, native Montanans find it extremely annoying when people assume they speak with a southern drawl just because they're a "cowboy state." For an example of how diverse the state can be, see this town hall meeting. Stereotype: Eco-friendly, distinctly laid-back. Fond of flannel shirts and grunge rock. Insanely long coffee orders.
- Any show shot in Vancouver tends to have examples of this mixed with a Canadian accent.
- Actor Timothy Omundson has a fairly typical Seattle-area accent.
- Grunge rockers like Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohlnote .
- Bing Crosby (born in Tacoma, raised in Spokane) retained a bit of it, especially in his vowel sounds.
- Here's a better explanation (with Audio) on the Seattle accent.
Take note: Not to be confused with the Hawaiian language, which is a distinct language and not an accent or dialect of English. Hawaiian is also an ethnicity rather than just a State-icity. Officially known as Hawaii Creole English, called "Pidgin"note by kama'aina note . Very rare outside of Hawaii, where people even go so far as to write in the accent. A mix of English, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean and other languages, including many Japanese onomatopoeia. note Nearly any noun can be replaced by the expression "da kine," roughly meaning "that thing". note For example: "No listen to dat tita, she say any kine, brah," means "Brother, do not listen to that large woman. She is liable to say anything."note Another example would be "What kine fish, dat?" "You know da kine, ahi." = "What type of fish is that?" "You know what it is: Ahi." Stereotype: More Surfer Than You, by birth.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Principal Kuno from Ranma ½ is obsessed with Hawaii to the point of having a small palm tree implanted in his head. While not speaking entirely in Hawaiian Pidgin, it heavily flavors his speech, both in the English dub and in the original Japanese.
- Consensus among people from Hawai'i is that the Pidgin in Lilo & Stitch was very well done: authentic without being obnoxious. Some expressions included "What we wen hit?" for "What did we hit?" and "Mahalo plenny!" for "Thanks a lot!" It helped that some of the voice actors were Hawaiian natives and that the screenwriters were willing to take advice.
- Rastaman Kona (née Preston Applebaum) in Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings affects this accent.
- Kono, Chin Ho, and McGarrett from the Hawaii Five-0 reboot series. Danno (the only one not born and raised in Hawaii) is bewildered by it.
- Surfer Guy: Ho, brah, where you eat it?
Danno: I'm sorry, what?
Surfer Guy: Da kine, brah.
Danno: I'm sorry, are you speaking English?
Surfer: Hey no need for get agro.
McGarrett: He caught it on land, brah... Danno don't surf.
Danno: I dare you to tell me what he just said.
- Also present in the 1968-80 Hawaii Five-O, though not as pronounced. Chin Ho and Kono used "brother" a lot; and on at least one occasion McGarrett referred to a missing tourist as a "rich haolenote lady."
- Dog The Bounty Hunter: The Chapmans have adopted some of the slang, like "brah" and "mahalo", but the some of the natives' accents are so thick that they require subtitles.
- Wakka from Final Fantasy X uses a decent imitation of this. The other Besaid Aurochs attempt it and fail miserably. Lulu, who is also supposed to be from Besaid, doesn't even attempt it. (At least in the English version).
- Barack Obama (born in and spent his teens in Hawaii) has no indication of this accent in his oratory, but is known to be able to talk kama'aina note pidgin.
The United States military is large enough (2 million military personnel, with a further million or so civilian employees, before you get on to dependents) to have its own accent, spoken by career soldiers and their families who were raised on military bases. This is caused by a combination of the military necessity of clear speaking and the blending of all the regional accents. It sounds similar to Midwestern/Newscaster, but it's got a bit of a drawl to it. This might be due to the abundance of Texans and Southerners in the US Military. Breaking recruits of their accents in Basic Training is, or perhaps was, also a security measure used to prevent enemies from identifying units by their distinctive accent in radio communications. Very often seasoned with its own distinctive and evolving jargon and slang, which can vary by branch of service. Stereotype: A hardass soldier like Sergeant Rock or Drill Sergeant Nasty, or a Military Brat. Sometimes overlaps with the stereotypes of rougher Texas accents.
- Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche, who is the son of a career soldier and was born on a military base.
- In the book Absolutely American: Four Years at Westpoint, David Lipsky claims that the entire United States Army speaks with a southern drawl, and proposed that it was due to young soldiers and cadets trying to imitate their instructors.
- The Soldier from Team Fortress 2 affects this accent, but doesn't consistently get it right — probably by virtue of never having been in the actual military.