As anyone who knows even the basics about America can 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.
Speaking of Europe, much has been written on how local dialects there are dying out since they're not taught in schools and people relocate across regions, causing the "generic" mode of speech to dominate. The US is no different. Americans born in the 70's and later are less likely to have as strong a local accent as their parents and grandparents. This is because the younger generations tend to relocate more often, watch more television, and have friends from other regions, causing American accents to average out. As a result, the Midwestern "Flat" accent has become the most common by far. Many people don't even know that Pittsburgh and Baltimore have their own distinct dialects unless they're from there.
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
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 has 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 (for instance, a native of Augusta, Jar-ja won't be mistaken for somebody from Savannah, Joe-ja or some other part Jaw-ja or Jurja), 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. People in the Atlanta area have a very neutral take on this accent. Further confusing matters is that even in the same area, members of different social classes can speak with decidedly different, but all local, accents.
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.
- 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!"
- Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog.
- 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 McBrayer's appeal n 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.
- On Good Eats, Alton visits a family in the Deep South, and gets himself into deep trouble with them because he stated that grits and polenta are the same. The family instantly switches from "Southern Hospitality" to hostility, and question where he's from. When he tells them he's from Georgia, they don't believe him because he doesn't have an accent like they do. He tries to explain that he had to train himself to lose his accent for television, but they won't accept that.
- On The Walking Dead, most of the diverse cast does a remarkably good job compared to the usual poor Hollywood attempt, especially the English Andrew Lincoln, whose diction is not only "Southern" but identifiably north Georgia/southeast Tennessee. Credit a good dialect coach, as well as filming on location and thus surrounding the cast with real-life examples.
- In The Office (US), episode "Murder", the office are roped into a murder-mystery role-playing game. The game is set in Savannah, Georgia, so most of the players (who all live in Scranton, Pennsylvania) attempt a Dixie accent. They fail miserably, despite half-assed coaching from aspiring actor Andy.
Ryan: You don't have to keep saying "I do declare". Anytime you say something it means you're declaring.
Michael: That is the way Southern people talk.
Jim: And what Designing Woman are you basing that on?
Michael: Delta Burke, I do declare.
- 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.
- Larry the Cable Guy subverts this, being born in Nebraska (where he now resides) and attending high school in West Palm Beach, FL; he spent part of his college education at Baptist University of America in Decatur, GA before dropping out in his junior year to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, later concluding his college education at the University of Nebraska. According to Word of God, he affects the Southern accent when in-character because he finds it more comfortable and associates more with Southern life.
- 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. When her mother appears in her documentary The A Word, she's shown having this accent.
- Yahtzee and Gabriel occasionally (and abominably!) imitated the Dixie variant to joke about the farmers in 'Let's 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'.
- In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie affects an exaggerated version of this accent when imitating her mother. As of the last scene in the finale, it's Mrs Bennett's actual accent.
- 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, which carried over into the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- 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?"
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.
Stereotype: Used by Latin Lovers, tanned bikini-clad women at the beach, and Cuban-Americans.
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, Eastern Oklahoma, Northern and Western 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. The geographic isolation also led to the accent being fairly close to the sound (and still retaining some of the grammar and syntax) of Early Modern English - in other words, Shakespeare, to our ears, would have an accent and dialect closer to a hillbilly from Eastern Tennessee than any of the actors performing his works at the RSC.
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.
- Tow Mater from Cars speaks with a pretty thick southern accent, including saying common southern phrases such as "dadgum" and "shoot".
- In Martialartfruituser's live read for The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds, Megan, Danny, Molly and the G1 Applejack were given Southern accents which they didn't have in the original cartoon. Speaking in a similar dialect as the Apple family. Megan's husband Mike and daughters Danielle and Michelle were given the accent as well. Likely justified as the humans live in Kentucky. Martialartfruituser was inspired by this fanart, and he's from the South himself. The accent compliments Megan's usual cowgirl attire.
- 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; justified since Mayberry, North Carolina is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. note 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.
- 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".
- West Virginia native Brad Dourif is an acclaimed actor who can do just about any accent and is fluent in a half-dozen languages. His natural accent can charitably described as "hillbilly," and people have (upon hearing it) told him to knock off the silly redneck impression.
- 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 Butthead.
- 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
- Cletus and Brandine Spuckler from The Simpsons are from some unspecified Appalachian community, with a redneck/hillbilly accent, living in a dirt-poor shack, with numerous children (and growing), with such hobbies as wood-carving, searching for roadkill, scavenging through garbage, while brewing moonshine on the side.
The vocabulary of Gullah comes primarily from English, but there are numerous words of African origin for which scholars have yet to produce detailed etymologies. Some of these African loanwords are: cootuh ("turtle"), oonuh ("you [plural]"), nyam ("eat"), buckruh ("white man"), pojo ("heron"), swonguh ("proud") and benne ("sesame").
Includes ubiquitous use of "y'all" and "all y'all," note , and 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". The contraction "I've" is almost always followed by the word "got", while the full phrase "I have" may or may not be. Thus, a Texan may say "I've got a dog and a cat" or "I have a dog and a cat", but will never say "I've a dog and a cat" when talking about their pets. This is also true when the word "have" is being used to mean "must", as in "I have got to get to the store after work today; I'm out of milk."note 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 gutturalize the syllables of words while exaggerating vowel sounds. With verbs, for instance, an "-ing" ending often becomes "-in'"note . The word "and" may be shortened to "an'" or just "'n'" (as in the phrase, "It's just you 'n' me now."note ). 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, and "what" may become "whut" (which sounds like a Flat "What" to other accents, often giving the impression Texans are slow-witted and setting up the surprise for a Southern-Fried Genius). 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", "tentative" becomes "ten-at-tive", and "comfortable" becomes "comf-tur-bull". 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-lea-UR" for a while before falling back into the less awkward habitual pronunciation until it's pointed out again. Much was made in the media of George W. Bush using this pronunciation, with hardly a thought given to the fact that nuclear physicists from Texas will say it the exact same way.
The final piece in the complex tangle is that while all of this slurring and shuffling of words may sound funny to others, there is a bizarre precision to the accent rivaling that of Received English. Beneath the phonetic acrobatics (or maybe because of them) a large number of phonemes that have merged in most English dialects are not homophones in a Texan Accent. Dew & Do, horse & hoarse, wader and waiter, and wine & whine all receive subtly distinct pronunciations. Much like the shuffling of "nuclear", a Texan with a heavy drawl will simply take it for granted that clear and deer are a mildly Painful Rhyme, and that Bazaar has two different forms of "a"...its just that neither of those "a"s will sound much like an "a" to non-Texan.
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 "That Other Mid Atlantic" 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. What unifies the many variants, however, is that strange combination of precise, fluid, and gutteral pronunciation.
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.
- 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.
- Lightning McQueen from Cars speaks like this, courtesy of Owen Wilson, but with a lighter, more youthful fashion.
- Stop Loss is set in Texas, so a good portion of the cast adopt these accents. A few like Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mamie Gummer use their own voices.
- The Legend of Billie Jean is set in Texas. On the DVD commentary, Helen Slater pokes fun at her attempt at a Texan accent.
- In The Expanse, people from the Mariner Valley on Mars (including Alex Kamal, one of the main characters) all have this. While there were some Texans among the settlers, most were Chinese or Indian. Apparently, the drawl is contagious.
- 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.
- The first season of True Detective has Rust Cohle. Like his actor, he's from Texas and sounds like it.
- Buck the cowboy from Diner talks with a stereotypical Texas drawl.
- 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.
- 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.
- Most characters in King of the Hill have a rather strong drawl, since much is made of the Texas setting. The exception is Boomhauer, whose rapid-fire diction is certainly not a drawl and is more of a "hillbilly" accent.
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.
- In The Blind Side, Ed Orgeron, a Cajun who coached the film's (and book's) subject Michael Oher at Ole Miss when the film was set (and is now head coach at LSU in his home state of Louisiana), played himself, complete with his fully authentic Cajun accent. In-universe, only Oher's adoptive father Sean Tuohy, a New Orleans native (though not Cajun), can understand him.note
- In The Green Mile, Eduard Delacroix (played by Michael Jeter) has a Cajun accent thick enough that it can be incomprehensible at times.
- Rene from True Blood fakes a Cajun accent.
- Eugene Roe, the softspoken medic from Band of Brothers. He's only half Cajun though.
- Snafu from sister-series The Pacific is an example as well, though their personalities are polar opposites.
- 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.
- Country Music singer Sammy Kershaw has traces of this.
- Dartz from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is given a very, very, very thick Cajun accent, to the point where nobody can properly understand what he's saying half the time. Not to mention, the things Dartz says end up sounding like certain sexual phrases (such as saying "dick" when he really meant "deck"). His speech impediment doesn't help his case.
- Voice actor Jim Cummings is Cajun and so can turn the accent on if need be.
- As noted in the "Film" folder, current LSU football coach Ed Orgeron.
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.
- 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).
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. You'll also hear a good bit of Military Basic in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, in this case due to the very large Navy presence.
Stereotype: Impeccably-dressed evil power-brokers who live in mansions; disgruntled government workers with hidden files in beachfront cottages.
- Most characters on The Andy Griffith Show have the middle/lower class version of Tidewater, but especially Griffith himself.
- 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.
- 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.
- American newscasters David Brinkley and Charles Kuralt, both native North Carolinians, spoke with toned down versions. They both had to drop most of their native accents to be taken seriously.
- Talk show host and North Carolina native Charlie Rose.
- Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who hails from Virginia.
- George S. Patton. He was born and raised in California, but he came from a prominent Virginia military family and his locutions were very much in this accent.
"Coming ovah heah, there was a very great lesson. The foist four hou-ahs, we passed ovah a destroyed land."
- The late Senator John Warner (aka Mr. Elizabeth Taylor)
- Joseph Cotten
- Many stars of Hollywood's Golden Age used this accent in their films. Perhaps the most prominent example was Katharine Hepburn.
- Lady Tremaine and the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty have this accent, in which their voices sound halfway British, but also halfway American.
- Carrie Fisher uses it in A New Hope when talking to Tarkin, and James Earl Jones has always used a heavy dose of it as Darth Vader even back then. By the 1970s, the use of the accent in cinema was dying out, to the point where it sounds quite jarring to anyone not familiar with Golden Age Hollywood; at least some Star Wars fans' headcanon has that as Leia attempting, poorly, to affect a Coruscanti accent. If you're wondering why Leia only boasts the accent for that one scene, apparently everyone involved decided it was awkward and Fisher dropped it for the rest of the film.
- 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.
- Matt Hardy uses this in his "Broken"/"Woken" persona. (In real life, his accent is typical of his native North Carolina.)
- Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and various other Roosevelts in the early 20th century. Not surprising, given the family's background as part of the East Coast elite. There is a "linking R" in FDR's pronunciation of the words, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- 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 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. Some regional variations may also borrow heavily from various West Indies dialects (particularly Jamaican Patois or Haitian Creole) if there is a heavy immigrant population.
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. 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 Wire makes good use of the variations in its black characters' accents to provide some extra subtext about their backgrounds and aspirations. Most street dealers and thugs (e.g., Bodie, Omar, Snoop) use a Baltimore-specific version of a heavy urban accent, including plenty of slang. (There are a few scenes that lampshade the thickness by having police listening to a wiretap argue about what was said.) Some higher-level gangsters (e.g., Stringer Bell, Prop Joe), still sound urban to reflect that they're "from the streets", but tone it down to show that they've got some education or refinement and can mix with white folks if they want to. Black police characters run a gamut, usually matching directly with their connection to the street and/or their level of education; compare, for example, Maj. Colvin (grew up in West Baltimore) to Lt. Daniels (has a law degree). Finally, black politicians (e.g., Mayor Royce, Marla Daniels) generally have no urban accent at all, though they may be able to affect one depending on who they're talking to. Sen. Clay Davis is a special case; his accent sometimes has traces of urban but is really the accent of a black Baptist preacher.
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 Ashkenazi 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.
- 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.
- The cast of Everybody Loves Raymond are New York Italian-American. Connoisseurs of these things have noted that even the Italian they speak is so far divergent from Italian as spoken in Italy that, like American English to British English, or Quebecois to regular European French, it clases as a dialect in its own right.
- Detective Sonny Carisi of Law & Order: SVU has a broad, specifically Staten Island accent. (Peter Scanavino, the actor, does not, which makes his acting job very impressive.)
- The first Coffee Talk sketches on SNL, in the early 1990s, are almost built entirely around the one all-encompassing feature of metro New York English: the low back chain shift of certain vowel sounds, even among speakers from the suburbs who generally tend to pronounce their "r"'s. Toronto-born Mike Myers pulls this off expertly at the opening of the sketch as Paul Baldwin, middle-aged instead of the older character he's depicted as later on, tells us the call-in show is devoted to things like "dogs, daughters, lofts and coffee" ... all of which use the same telltale vowel in New York Metropolitan Area English, leading an audience drawn mostly from that area to laugh knowingly at something that most viewers not familiar with the accent outside the metropolitan area wondered why was so funny.
- Big Wayne from The Lazlow Show has the Queens variant.
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." (An exception is "Manhattan," which most area natives will call MAN-HA[glottal stop]-'N.) 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". Like in New York City English, "mad" is also a common intensifier and indicator of great abundance.
Stereotype: Thug, stooge, gangster, gangster's moll, and nowadays the guido/guidette stereotype.
- 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! is given one in the 4Kids dub (although he has a few Noo Yawk affectations too).
- Also from 4Kids, Sanji in their dub of One Piece is given an incredibly thick accent that sounds like it's supposed to be Joisey and/or Bronx.
- 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.
- The eponymous Max Payne is perhaps the most realistic example you'll find in a video game.
- 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.
- 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).
- Carl Brutananadilewski from Ahqua Teen Hunguh Foice. Helps that the show itself takes place in New Jersey.
- Regis Philbin, a native of The Bronx.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, born in Manhattan and raised in The Bronx.
- 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.
- 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.)
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
- 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.
- Just about any rendition of "Santa Baby".
Stereotype: Since this dialect is strongly associated with an ethno-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.
- George's parents on Seinfeld.
- Howard's mother on The Big Bang Theory. ("WHO'S CAWLING AT THIS UNGAWDLY 'OWAH?!")
- The Wire gives this accent to corrupt defense lawyer Maurice Levy, including the occasional word of Yiddish.
- Babylon 5: Commander Susan Ivanova would slip into this when she was frustrated sometimes. Interestingly, she isn't American at all, being a Russian whose family insisted on her studying abroad due to her being a latent Telepath, and her mother's wish to keep her away from the Psi-Corps. Her relatives and family friends, when they briefly appear, are shown to have more typical Hollywood Russian accents. She is a Russian Jew, however, though she lapsed as an adult after the stress of her mother's early death.
- 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).
- Joan Rivers also had a slightly tweaked version of this accent.
- Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy. One of her catchphrases is even "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."
- 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
- What's My Line panelist Bernett Cerf.
Stereotype: Hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-Earth fisherman, almost certainly Roman Catholic. 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; "South Coast accent" is the politically-correct nomenclature in this case.note
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."; "mad" is its New York City analog and also sees some use in New England, albeit nowhere near as frequently. 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". Depending on the part of New England, there may also be some features of Canadian French (particularly in New Hampshire) or Maritime English (northern Maine).
Stereotype: taciturn, parsimonious, dry, rural, witty. Likely of French-Canadian, Irish, or (depending on the part of the region) Greek descent.
- 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."
- President Calvin Coolidge born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont and later settling in Northampton, MA before becoming Governor and U.S. president, epitomized the speech and the attitude.
- Margaret Hamilton, in spite of being born and raised in Ohio.
- 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.
- "I don't know what this is, but Jay says it's a fahkin big sea turtle."
* background chatter*
"It's a baby fahkin WHEEL, man! HOLY SHIT! WE AH WITNESSING A BABY FAHKIN WHALE RIGHT HEAH, DOOD! HO-LEE SHIT!"
- These two guys allegedly found a Red Sox title banner on the side of the road. Many commenters derisively compared them to the "baby wheel" guys mentioned above.
- 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.
Like other New England accents, it tends to be very fast and clipped, except for stereotypically "backwoods" Vermont speech, which tends to be slow with even broader vowels. This, combined with the glottal stops, can sometimes make the speech slurred or sound like mumbling. Canadian French features are also common in northern parts of the state.
Some vocabulary common to the region:
- 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. Also common in New Hampshire and Western Mass, where the connotation of "that asshole from New York in the Range Rover who is doing fifteen below in front of me" does not waver.
- Flatlander: someone who is not originally from Vermont (also used elsewhere). Note: this condition never changes. You don't "become" a Vermonter. If we really like you, and you fit in really well, you might become "Almost a Vermonter."
- Also "White-plater", as Vermont has a green license plate, and until recently almost every other state had a white background.
- Away: Where flatlanders come from, if we're not exactly sure or just don't care.
- Transplant: A flatlander who stayed. Often mildly derogatory.
- 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.
Stereotype: This accent is never seen in fiction. One, because unless you live in New England, no one knows that Vermont (or any of New England outside Maine or Boston, for that matter) even has an accent, and the accent is not as important to the portrayal of the state as say, a Dixie accent might be to portrayals of the Southern states. Second, this accent is extremely hard to fake if you're not from the area. Those who do try to fake a Vermont accent usually hit closer to a Maine or Midwestern accent and sound a little ridiculous.
The two most common stereotypes of Vermonters are probably hippiesnote and homosexuals; the latter owing (at least in part) to Vermont being the first state in the nation to offer civil unions between gay partners. However, in truth, the hippie aspect is not as common as popular image would have you believe, most prevalent in Burlington and Brattleboro, though it is growing more common in Montpelier and Rutland. Farmers are common, too, though less so than the above, especially dairy farmers (thanks to the success of Ben & Jerry's, which combines two stereotypes by being "hippies" into dairy). The high-brow intellectual is sometimes seen, though typically, the person is from somewhere else (think "Dead Poets Society"; though the school is in Vermont, the students are likely from elsewhere, and the transplants are typically from Connecticut or New York). They are also shown as being obsessed with maple syrup or with cows, which are partially true stereotypes-dairy products and maple syrup are two of Vermont's biggest exports, and Vermont does have the largest number of cows per capita in the US. There are also several dairy and maple festivals through the year.
If you watch a lot of cooking shows on PBS, Chris Kimball from America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country is from Vermont, and Cook's Country actually shoots there; Kimball's accent is pretty much impeccable newscaster-neutral, but some of the extras on Cook's Country might throw a bit of this in here and there.
Rusty Dewees, a local Vermont comedian, uses a thick Vermont accent in his stand-up routines, which usually involve benign stereotypes of backwoods Vermont culture. Here in this video from a TED Talk given in 2018, you can hear the extremely broad "a" vowel sounds, the glottal stop in words that have "tt" in the middle, and the dropping of the "t" sound at the end of certain words. He also exemplifies the mix between broad vowel sounds and rapid-fire speech patterns that make the accent sound slurred.
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: Of Irish descent, almost certainly a rude, vulgar, perpetually angry, and violence-prone townie.
- 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.
- 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
- JFK on Clone High, being a clone of John F. Kennedy, speaks with a very exaggerated version of this accent. One episode was about him trying to teach the clone of Mahatma Gandhi to act and talk like him.
JFK: (pulls down screen) Read this.Gandhi: "For supper I want a party platter."JFK: No no no, like this: "Fowah suppah I-er-uh wanna party plattah!"
- 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.
- The Forbidden Kingdom bookends its main story with attacks by a gang of Southies.
- 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.
- Expertly executed by Casey Affleck in the Saturday Night Live Dunkin' Donuts commercial parody from 2016.
- Click and Clack from NPR's Car Talk have this accent.
- Boston native Louis C.K. jokingly describes the Boston accent as "a whole bunch of people saying most words wrong."
- Comic Jimmy Tingle poked fun at his accent while discussing people who ask him to say things like "Park the car at Harvard Yard":
"Whattaya you, reTAAAAAAHded?!"
- 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.
- George Luz in Band of Brothers.
- 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.)
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 & 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.
- Bill Eadie, a professional wrestler originally from Brownsville, PA who is most famous as Ax, one half of the tag team Demolition, had a very noticeably thick Yinzer accent. Kinda made being billed from "Parts Unknown" laughable to any of us.
- Further to that, Kurt Angle never managed to drop his accent either.
Stereotype: Thick-headed, overly aggressive. Superstitious and crazy when it comes to their sports teams.
- 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).
- Tina Fey, a Philadelphia-area native, uses the accent to great comic effect in a 2015 "Bronx Beat" on Saturday Night Live.
- Bart Rathbone from Adventures in Odyssey seems to have this.
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.
The accent is very similar to the Philadelphia accent in many ways, albeit with some slight differences. Like Philly, Baltimoreans say "wooder" for "water", "tal" for "towel", and use the word "yo" liberally. They also make a heavy distinction between the vowel in "cot" and "caught" in the same way. 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, Northeastern, Dixie, Appalachian and Tidewater.
Stereotype: Polite guy who somehow ended up having your wallet; truck-stop waitress. People in John Waters' movies.
- 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. Valchek and Rawls) are mostly the same, along with Carcetti (who shows up in Season 3, but never mind) (McNulty, the most prominent white cop, has an unplaceable accent, as Dominic West is actually from Yorkshire, and Herc is supposedly originally from New York and speaks with his actor's natural Queens accent). 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. The show's best examples of genuine Ballmur accents come from those who were cast more for their authentic backgrounds than their acting. Lt. Mello, for instance, who is played by former real-life Baltimore homicide detective Jay Landsman.
- Showed up occasionally on Homicide: Life on the Street.
- Ethyl Darling from American Horror Story: Freak Show is from Baltimore, thus explaining Kathy Bates' strange accent throughout the season.
- 90's Boy Band Dru Hill (whose most well-known member is Sisqo of "Thong Song" fame) is named after Druid Hill Park, pronounced "Dru Hill" in the local accent.
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 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.
- Rush Limbaugh, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
- "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).
- When the letter "s" appears at the end of a word, it is pronounced like an "s," unlike most other accents which pronounce it like a "z."
- 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").
Incidentally, pre-Vowel Shift Inland North is the "original" Yankee dialect, brought by settlers from Upstate New York and New England: Michigan was settled almost entirely by New Yorkers and New Englanders, as were northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (the southern parts of these states were settled by Virginians), and southern Wisconsin (the northern part being settled by more or less fresh-off-the-boat Germans and Scandinavians). Ironically, if we were to hear John Adams talk today, we'd probably remark that he sounded more like he was from Detroit or Chicago than Boston.
Stereotype: Die-hard fan of local sports teams (professional and college-level), to the point of violence against fans of rival teams. Has a penchant for beer and anything made entirely of meat, especially sausage. Likely to have a bushy mustache. In New York, tends to overlap with the "hayseed" stereotype, representing either dairy farmers from the North Country, or ethnic Germans and Italians from (slightly) more urban CNY.
- 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 (1984), 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, though the accent is exagerrated for comedic effect.
- 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).
- Roseanne, set in (fictional) Lanford, Illinois, features this accent heavily.note Much of the cast is from the Midwest and speak this way naturally - one of the many differences between the two Beckys is that Lecy Goranson is from Evanston, Illinois and speaks with a very strong Chicagonese accent, whereas Sarah Chalke is from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and... doesn't.
- 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".)
- 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.
- Jeremy Wagner.
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.
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
- 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.
- St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcaster Mike Shannon has a very pronounced older style St. Louis accent, with the Redbirds playing the "Warshington" Nationals several times a year- and makes constant references to sponsors Budweiser, Bud Light, and Busch beer. Beloved fellow Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck, who Shannon broadcast with for nearly 30 years before Buck passed away, also had a broad St. Louis accent. Their strongly local flavor is/was one of the reasons the KMOX broadcasts of the games are *everywhere* in the summer.
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). Some Southwest Michigan communities (Holland, Zeeland, et al.) have Dutch heritage festivals, and some of the residents' speech patterns may be reminiscent of Dutch ancestry.
The other thing to remember is this: Someone from Michigan is called a "Michigander"; stress the second-to-last syllable (Mish-uh-GAN-der).
Michiganders will refer to their home state's state-level roads by their number, prefixed by the letter M, and refer to interstate highways by their number with the letter I prefixed, so when you ask a Michigander for driving directions, you'll hear terms like "I-96" or "I-75" and "M-37" or "M-44".
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).
- The singer Porcelain Black has this accent. You especially notice it when she speaks in interviews.
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.
- Blanche Gunderson in the film 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)
- 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").
- Fictosophy: "Translating Minnesota Nice" features a Minnesota accent so thick that subtitles are needed. And that goes over well.
- 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.
- Fran the red squirrel from Higgly Town Heroes
- 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.
- Virginia Wolfe of Rocko's Modern Life
- 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?".
- Republican politician Michele Bachmann has a thick Minnesotan accent. Although born in Iowa, she was raised mostly in Minnesota by Norwegian Lutheran Democrats. She is as close to the stereotype as you can get.
Stereotype: Laconic, to the point of being nearly mute.
- 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.
- Country Music cult figure Chris LeDoux, who also had a long career as a rodeo cowboy.
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", "pitcher" to mean "picture", 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.
If you're planning to visit Idaho, remember that residents of Boise, the state capital, pronouce their city as (Boy-see) as noted on the city's website, while most people from elsewhere usually pronounce it as (Boy-zee). The official (Boy-see) pronunciation is sometimes used to distinguish between native Idahoans and those from elsewhere in the country, or even the occasional Canadian.
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.
- Orrin Hatch, longtime senator from Utah.
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. This ends up sounding like many Californians are mumbling at lower volumes.
Note that word usage varies slightly from place to place. For example, the word "hella", discussed below under "NorCal", does not exist in the English language south of Fresno County. The terminology that residents use for freeways also differs between NorCal and SoCal. In the south, residents will call a freeway by its identifying number with a preceding article, e.g. calling Interstate 5 "the Five" or US Highway 101 "the One-Oh-One". The use of the article in this context is almost as much of a Berserk Button for Northern Californians as "hella" is in the south; in the north, the same two roads are invariably called "Five" and "One-Oh-One".
There is also the California Mountain subcategory found in (obviously) the rural and sparsely-populated mountain ranges of SoCal, which is slightly less enunciated and more likely to use "ain't". Any place at lower altitude is "down the hill", and residents of the low-lying cities are derisively called "flatlanders". This accent is rarely, if ever, heard in media, and the differences are sufficiently subtle that non-Californians probably won't notice anyway.
Stereotype: Not too many that actually fall into this category; its more stereotyped children get their own categories below.
While this accent was popularized in the 80's, it made a comeback in a big way in the New Tens due to the rise of California-based reality- and social media stars. 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, ditzy suburban sorority girl who is, like, #obsessed with taking the perfect selfie?
- Selfie has this from main character Eliza (played by Scottish Karen Gillan), with (in Karen's words) 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.
- Kimberly, the first Pink Power Ranger, had this as one of her most defining traits.
- From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will's oldest cousin Hilary spoke this way. Ironically, she hates San Fernando Valley.
- 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).
- "#Selfie" by The Chainsmokers is a ruthless parody of this.
- Kathleen Hanna, the frontwoman of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, often speaks and sings in this accent, much to the surprise of people expecting a Riot Grrrl punk rocker to sound like somebody other than Cher Horowitz. What's more, she didn't come by it organically; rather, she adopted the accent as a teenager growing up in The '80s because she associated it with the rich girls and thought it would make her sound more posh.
- Whittnay and Brittnay, the Biskit Twins from, like, Littlest Pet Shop (2012)
- Shirley McLoon on Tiny Toon Adventures or some junk. Voiced by Gail Matthius, who also played the aforementioned Valley Girl Vicki.
- Adventure Time's Lumpy Space Princess speaks like a Valley Girl, with emphasis on the croak and a low register. She is voiced by a man (series creator Pendleton Ward).
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.
- 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.
- In his earlier days, the main guy behind the YouTube channel "Extra Credits" spoke in some variant of this accent. You often find him speaking in his Extra history lies segments(in particular, check out this clip ). He has toned it down a notch now, but its still there.
- Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron (born and raised in San Diego). It's especially noticeable when he's interviewed alongside bandmates; just listen to this 1993 interview he and Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil (a midwesterner) did and this 2013 interview he and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard (a native to Seattle) did.
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.
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 (himself an L.A. native).
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 Latino born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he uses his real-life accent in dramatic roles and exaggerates it in his comedy roles and standup work. Tommy Chong has more of a laidback Surfer accent.
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."
Stereotype: Eco-friendly, distinctly laid-back. Fond of flannel shirts and grunge rock. Insanely long coffee orders.
- Here's a better explanation (with Audio) on the Seattle accent.
Officially known as Hawaii Creole English, called "Pidgin"note by kamaʻāina 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 onomatopoeianote . 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: Tuna."
Stereotype: More Surfer Than You, by birth.
- 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.
- Believe it or not, there is a translation of the Bible written in kama'aina pidgin. It's not the whole thing, but it's the entire New Testament, plus the book of Psalms. Da Jesus Book serves as a bit of a controversial subject among Christians, because they can't seem to figure out if it's a joke translation or a serious one.
- 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.
- 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.
- R. Lee Ermey
- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva has a more Midwestern version, mostly because of his unique background as a NATO brat instead of a pure US military brat. While born in Mississippi, his family is Spanish, and moved between the States, Spain, and NATO HQ in Belgium (where he attended a US-run high school) before he went to West Point. You can take an extended listen to him here.