What American accent do you have? | Comments

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  • This quiz was surprisingly accurate! It said I was 100% west (I was born in North Carolina) and 97% mid-west (I live in Missouri now)!

    s70659
    1
  • Why do we even take these kinds of quizzes? Wouldn't we rather know what nationality we mostly are or something? Sometimes I have a country accent, other times it's kinda Irish, but of course this stupid quiz doesn't account for that either! Whatever!

    Clara Ford
    1
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  • Stupid quiz I was raised in California and I have lived on the west coast since I was three years old, yet I am here classed Philadelphia as cream cheese. The quiz questions do not address any distinctive differences in regional accents, but rather seem to be designed to measure how much thought and effort the quiz-taker has put into learning the finer points of the correct pronunciation of a few common words. Are Philadelphians more prone to this activity than Californians, or less? I doubt that either suggestion is likely.

    Where are the questions that would pinpoint the regional accents? If you pronounce the words oil and Earl in the same way, you are from Brooklyn or Joisey City. Likewise, with car and Ka, you are from New England. If you call a wire a wahr youre from the South. Duh.

    I have tried the quiz several times, giving different answers, and it is clear that the only way to be classed as a westerner is to say that the two words given are in every case pronounced in the same way. Then, the explanation of the quiz results will tell the quiz-taker that his western accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. What, exactly, does this mean? That westerners are the least interested in diction of all Americans? I think I would have noticed that after living in the West for 57 years (and also travelling widely throughout the USA), and I havent.

    What a crock!

    Attila_D_Hun
    3
  • It seems that many people don't think this quiz is accurate. However, I think that in many cases, they are answering the questions (at least a couple questions) based on what they know is the "correct" dictionary pronunciation, not the way they actually speak. Considering that there are only 13 questions, 11 of which ask about specific linguistic differences, it is actually pretty good. It is interesting that some have such hostile responses when their accent is idenified as being something other than their "home".

    One thing that I have noticed while traveling throughout the US is that there is a very broad area surrounding the Great Lakes that has much in common with a Canadian accent. There are certainly smaller areas within this broad area that have unique peculiarities (upstate New York, Illonois, Minnesota and Michigan come to mind). However, I would put all of them in a larger Great Lakes region. This is similar to a Southern or Northeast accent, each of which have unique subregions. There is also a tendency in big cities of the west (and to a lesser extent, all "growth" cities) to have a homogenizing effect on people's speech patterns because of so much migration to those areas over the past several decades. So, I hypothsize that the more homogenized a city has become, the more likely it is that a person's accent will be misidentified as being from a completely different location.

    scaldisnoel
    3
  • I show up as Midland but was raised on the Arizona-Mexico border and those rolled soft(b sounds like v) consonants still pop up in my speech. My mother was from the hills of Kentucky and sounded like it all her life. The major factor perhaps was the fact that I went to college as an English major, and then there were all those New Jersey room mates. I don't know if this quiz addresses things like the Appalachian twang, the singsong rhythmn of Nuevo Mexico Latinos, or the wonderful way in which Cajuns butcher the language, not to mention good old Spanglish-"Watchamo s la television." My limited Spanish, however, is more Chicano than Spanish, also known as stacato or 'machinegun' Spanish.

    EdF
    2
  • I want to rephrase my earlier comment so that soc typos will not be misconstrued as ignorance. : ) 80 percent off the mark on me. I have never lived in Philadelphia and grew up mainly in the South and have lived in California for the past 15 years. I learned to speak from my mother and father who were educated in Colorado and Oklahoma. I lived in New Orleans and Venezuela. Poor grammar and vowel pronunciation are not the same as dialect differences. Dialect is more to me a matter of air passage, soft palette and hard palette emphasis, speaking from the diaphragm, air burst intensity and many more factors. I am so tired of people stigmatizing Southerners as bigots, morons, unable to speak English and lacking credibility and Californians as airheads who talk like Valley Girls. Thank you though for providing the forum for me to say this... : )

    m1henry
    1
  • 80 percent off the mark on me. I have never lived in Philadelphia and grew up mainly in the South and have lived in California for the past 15 years. I learned to speak from my mother and father who were educated in Colorado and Oklahoma. I lived in New Orleans and Venezuela. Poor grammar and vowel pronunciation is not the same as dialect differences. Dialect is more from air passage, soft palette and hard palette emphasis, speaking from the diaphragm, air burst intensity and many more factors. I am so tired of people stigmatizing Southerners and bigots, morons, unable to speak English and lacking credibility and Californians as airheads who talk like Valley Girls. Thank you though for providing the forum for me to say this... : )

    m1henry
    1
  • I took the test twice. There were three places where I gave a "different" answer that I replaced with "nearly the same." It came up "Inland North" both times. I agree with BionicDance about "Mary/marry/merry." I needed "Mary" and "marry" to be a possible choice.

    "Great Lakes" was mentioned, and I am from Toledo. Also, I was well into elementary school earlier than the "Great Lakes Vowel Shift" and wonder if this has anything to do with it. I haven't been able to understand what "fronting A's" means, though, so I'm not differentiating something there.

    I have had a lot of contact throughout adulthood with accents from many different places, and I tend to be a chameleon. I tried to answer with how I speak words unslanted to fit into other environments.

    The high percentage of Inland North categorisation suggests a problem in the test. Last I heard, that was not the most populous area in the U.S.!

    Tigerwillikers
    1
  • I am almost 70 years old. Lived the first 25 years in the Northwest, then briefly California, then 12 years in Missouri, then back to the Northwest, then to Texas - have now lived in Texas for 32 years. I tested "Inland North" and thought about that a while. Took the test again, same result. So here is my thinking: My father grew up in Minnesota with parents from Canada, then moved to Oregon/Washington. My mother grew up in Washington state, but her parents/grandparent s were from Wisconsin & Missouri. So I believe it is correct. I spent the most time with my grandmother with the Green Bay background. She, my mother, & my father from Minnesota were sticklers for pronunciation & good grammar & legible handwriting. So guess I learned well!

    Terry 42
    1
  • i spent the first sixteen years of my life in western Kentucky. After that I lived for several years each in Kansas; Missouri; SF, California; Atlanta; Washington D.C. and landed in Texas thirty years ago. It was funny that when I was living in the midwest and west (when I talked with my sister -still living in Kentucky-), I could definitely hear her southern accent. This indicated to me that I was probably losing some of my southern speech. However when I moved to Texas, I no longer could hear a southern drawl in her speech. I know that Texas has certain phrases that are truly Texan and I tried to never adopt them. I thought that I certainly have a bit of a southern accent, but the test indicated that it was indeed Southern. Do you have a scale to ascertain whether an accent is Very Southern, Mildly Southern or Deep Southern as in Georgia, North & South Carolina? In my opinion, the drawl used by most natives in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia is different from the southern dialect in Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Johnna Burton
    1
  • I do live in the Great Lakes region (which your quiz correctly identified). I can identify a Cleveland accent in contrast to a Chicago or Grand Rapids accent. Nobody has ever asked me about my regional origins; actually, I have been told by people of various regions that my speech is exactly like theirs (e.g. a woman from Georgia declared that I must have been born there, likewise, a fellow from New Jersey told me I have his accent). They also felt that Walter Cronkite spoke with their accent.

    I don't doubt that my word choices are regional. As a result of attending college in Michigan, where a large portion of the student body came from New Jersey, I learned to call carbonated beverages "Soda Pop"; I walked a fine line.

    One final observation: I spent some time living in central and S.E. Pa. I visited a bar where I ordered "Bourbon and Soda" the waitress delivered a bourbon with Coca-Cola. "Soda", in that area was Coke. I can't clearly recall what soda water was called but, I believe, one had to order "Seltzer".

    Toetapper
    1
  • Wow..Unfortunately this is not correct at all. I am from Southern California. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma where some of my family is from, on my mom's side. My Dad is from Queens New York, moved to Long Island, then moved to Cali, where he met my mom when he was just Thirteen. It could be that I have very diverse range. Also, I have been in jobs where many have different accents. Ranging from English to Israeli, South Central California, Orange County California, New Zealand, Japanese, Russian and Persian. My husband is from Louisiana, also. It is possible that from such a diverse range of culture accents that I have been around, I would much more likely to be inclined to enunciate more. So that I wouldn't HAVE an accent..It is just a theory.

    stacie
    1
    • weird quiz. I didn't put any answers in and it came up 66% northeast.

      chickenwings123
      1
    • LOL at 100% Boston when I'm in South Dakota. Stupid quiz.

      HAMMER777777
      1
  • I'm from North Jersey and that's the accent it said even though I've been in the deep South most of my life.

    Hi emoman,

    The quiz is to ID an American accent, so how can it be accurate for anyone else? It had to pick something.

    Also, the NY/NJ accent was heavily influenced by the British accent since it was (an is) a major port with frequent travel, business, and visitors from Great Britain.

    I can assure you I don't think you, your countrymen, or your accent is in anyway posh. In fact UK is practically a third-world socialist toilet with 60% of all citizens in public housing. If you constantly hear "fish-n-chips" I would upgrade your associates rather than complain about it.

    Flooky2
    1
  • I have a 90% Philadelphia accent, with close contenders in Northeast (which is New York, North Jersey, 75%) and Midland (typical All-American accent, 70%). My accent least resembles North Central (10%) and the West (30%).

    I was born in Seattle, almost immediately moved to Silver Spring MD and stayed for all of 2 years, and then to Philadelphia and stayed with my cousins (dad's side, from Wayne PA which is outside of philly about 30 minutes). Then my dad was moved to Cairo Egypt and I went to preschool at the Cairo American College. a year and a half later I moved to Philly and lived in the city for 5 years. Then in about 6th grade we moved to Cheltenham, a near suburb north of the city. After high school, I went to Penn State University in Central PA, though half of the student body there claims to be from the Philadelphia area.

    This pretty much hits it spot on.

    yesec9
    1
  • Hey I just took the quiz, and it was 100% correct!

    This is the result:

    "Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard."

    And of course, I grew up in suburban Philadelphia, PA, but now live in South Florida where there are hundreds of english accents to discern here. I often guess correctly where someone grew up by their speech patterns, and sometimes others guess mine too. Sometimes I get called on for saying "take out the light" or the pronunciation of some common words. I like philly cheesesteaks and hoagies, and big salty soft pretzels, the kind I remember from childhood we got in grade school. Happy New Year, 2009!

    Deacdom
    1
  • Seems to me that:

    a) many here are unable to honestly assess their own accents. They'd be better off letting someone else evaluate how they pronouce the question words for them.

    b) this quiz is aimed at Americans. It's misapplied if used by English or Australian or other people. You probably are incapable of distinguishing from amongst various American accents, just as most Americans are only able to distinguish between Scottish and English and Irish accents, if that, when English people know that there are scores of different "English accents". As for non-English speaking people, it's even worse. In France, I'm asked "Are you British, American or Australian?". This question is so ridiculous to anyone actually from any of these countries because their accents are so different, yet to a Frenchman, they are all similar.

    The quiz is fairly accurate if answered honestly and without embellishment. I'm a Canadian, but scored as "West", BUT that's accurate, because I live in the USA and I have an extremely generic accent now, i.e. "West". Philly, NYC, and others have certain very specific traits, and thus are readily identified as such.

    Darex
    1
  • I am often mistaken for a Northeasterner, as the test analysis suggest, however, I am a born-and-raised Texan, having lived a year as a six-year old in LA, CA as my only out-of-state living experience. I suspect that comes from having attended schools where the instructors were Irish nuns who taught us to carefully and correctly enunciate our words (in the Irish vernacular). Couple that with parents who did the same (as well as limited our socializing to a select group during our younger years – for me through age 15), and the personal desire to speak as distinctly and as nearly correct as possible.

    silkensuede
    1
  • According to the quiz, I am "Philadelphia". Being born and reared in western NC, this is somewhat surprising, although my mother was from Philadelphia so perhaps learning to speak from her, as a child, had that

    influence.

    The quiz further evaluates (me) ... "Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever

    journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard."

    I have been told by people that I have a neutral, midwestern accent. I have been told by my Philadelphia relatives that I have a very southern accent. So, I'm not convinced at all that this analysis is reliable. Fun, though.

    RichLang
    1
  • Hi!

    I got Midland,but I'm actually from Canada,so I was just taking this for fun.Anyways,I'm Erin,a girl with Cystic Fibrosis(CF).

    My older sister,Meghan,died at the age of (almost) three

    from a blood infection.It was five days before her birthday when

    she died and I was only six months.

    My best friend is Maddie,a sarcastic,but sweet true friend.

    I just sprained my ankle a few days ago while jumping rope at school,

    but that's another story.By Sunday,I will hopefully be able to put weight

    on it.I enjoy singing,dancing,act ing,guitar,piano and art.

    I love the color purple,Taylor Swift and cats!

    ErinTheCatLover
    1
  • This was fun - although way off the mark geographically for me. I am that rare native Californian, and have lived here all my life (over 65 years) except for perhaps one year in Texas when I was toddler. I have, however, been exposed to people from many other cultures and languages all my life. The quiz results for me said

    "Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. If you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard."

    BUT, the interesting thing is that I have often been told that I speak with an EAST Coast accent! So go figure.... ;-)

    CGordon
    1
  • Yes, I have your B-flat Mid Atlantic American accent: I was Raised in western PA,lived in upstate NY(where they thought I had a "southern" accent because they thought I called one of my male students "Dawn" instead of "Don" which they pronounce more like a drawn out "Done"), North TX(where they thought I had a standard "Yankee" accent). I have also been told by native speakers that I have "no accent" in Spanish, German, Urdu, Hindi, and French. People generally can't tell where I'm from (I once had a British merchant say to me in surprise: "Oh, you're not local!"

    jjstabile
    1
  • You hit the nail on the head! Though a lot of people think that we who live along the northern side of the Ohio River sound southern, as long as we live in a rural area and own a lot of land, for some reason. That could be because a lot of our ancestors came from down south before the Civil War and it made us "talk funny" to these Johnny-Come Latelys from the big cities around here nowadays. But I do know my genealogy and the "place sounds" that you identified in my voice ARE where my forebears lived at one time or another. I also think that having Native American roots makes us sound very mimicky, thus our BUFF sound ;-)

    Chiksita
    1
  • I wholeheartedly agree with Speaks, the SLPA. If the questions were answered correctly, the test is very accurate. It's difficult for the average person to perceive their own subtle vowel distortions, but we Speech & Language people have been transcribing the sounds for years. My test results said Inland-North and had me pegged on the Great Lakes. Right on! When we tell people in other parts of the country that we are from NY, they can't believe it. Most think the NYC city twang of "Noo Yawkahs" is typical for all of us, but it's those regionalisms again! And yes, we do drink "pop."

    NewYorkJulie
    1
  • You say Boston, when the Northeast is 33% West 88% and Midland 85%, your graph is right, but the association is not. Boston is nowhere near Kansas or LA, I have lived in the great Plains states most of my life, been to Boston once, to California twice. I have lived in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and North Carolina, but they didn't influence my speech patterns, especially North Carolina.

    Your graph shows West 88, Midland 85, North Central 66, Philiadelphia 40, Northeast 33, Inland North 26, South 23, so Northeast is totally out of the question!

    ee1988
    1
  • My results show "You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio." WRONG! I spent the first 30 years of my life in what was then the relatively small town of Lubbock, TX. I have never lived outside of Texas and, since 1969 have lived near the very small town of Sherman, TX. Yes, it is near Dallas but I rarely go anywhere near there.

    margiedj
    1
  • Pretty good for such a brief quickie quiz. Finer points such the difference between the way Mary and merry are SPOKEN not just the pronunciation of the a/e vowels would give more exact results, and is why or how some wrong results happened. In this example, while the stressed vowels a and e may sound alike spoken by many people, there are regional differences in the way or length of the r/rr is said: Some exactly alike, while others (like myself, if anyone cares) say Mary slightly longer as "Mare-ree" and merry slightly shorter as "mehr-ee", or "meh-ree" like Burl Ives singing "Have a meh-ree meh-ree Christmas" but without any pause between syllables; the vowel the same but the r either slightly drawn out or not.

    C Ed Wright
    1
  • Pretty good for such a brief quickie quiz. Finer points such the difference between the way Mary and merry are SPOKEN not just the pronunciation of the a/e vowels would give more exact results, and is why or how some wrong results happened. In this example, while the stressed vowels a and e may sound alike spoken by many people, there are regional differences in the way or length of the r/rr is said: Some exactly alike, while others (like myself, if anyone cares) say Mary slightly longer as "Mare-ree" and merry slightly shorter as "mehr-ee", or "meh-ree" like Burl Ives singing "Have a meh-ree meh-ree Christmas" but without any pause between syllables; the vowel the same but the r either slightly drawn out or not.

    C Ed Wright
    1

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