Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Kind of American Accent Do You Have?


By Xavier Kun

To most Americans, an accent is something that only other people have, those other people usually being in New York, Boston, and the South. And of those other people, half of the ones you meet will swear they "don't have an accent."

Well, strictly speaking, the only way to not have an accent is to not speak. If you're from anywhere in the USA you have an accent (which may or may not be the accent of the place you're from). Go through this short quiz and you'll find out just which accent that is.

1. What is your age?
Under 18 Years Old
18 to 24 Years Old
25 to 30 Years Old
31 to 40 Years Old
41 to 50 Years Old
51 to 60 Years Old
Over 60 Years Old
2. What is your gender?
Male
Female

3. We're going to start with two ordinary words, "cot" and "caught." Do you think those words sound the same or different?
Same
Different
Same, no wait I mean different, well, I don't know...

4. What about "don" and "dawn"?
Same
Different
Same...ish. Maybe a little different.

5. OK, what about "stock" and "stalk"?
Same
Different
Almost, but not quite, the same

6. Now then how do "collar" and "caller" sound?
Same
Different
Almost, but not quite, the same

7. Do you think the word "on" rhymes with "dawn" or with "don"?
dawn
don
Well, I don't think don and dawn sound any different in the first place so on would obviously rhyme with both

8. Moving on, what do you think about "Mary," "merry," and "marry"?
All 3 sound different
Mary and merry sound the same but marry is different from them
All 3 sound the same

9. Our next word is "horrible." How does that first vowel sound?
It's just like in the word "whore."
It's the same "o" sound as in "hot."
Neither one

10. Now for "pen" and "pin." Don't worry about what others say is correct, just tell us how they come out in an ordinary conversation.
Same
Different
Close. Pen sounds almost, but not quite, like pin.

11. What about "feel" and "fill"?
Same
Different
Well, I think they're different even though they sound very, very similar almost to the point of being the same

12. When you say "about," does the "ou" sound like the "ou" in "loud"?
No
Yes

13. Last question. When you say "bag" does it rhyme with "vague"?
Yes
No



46 comments:

  1. Damn, that's pretty accurate. I got "midland" in which one of the key areas is central Pennsylvania which is right on target.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for posting this, very interesting. Strange, though, I got pegged as "midland" even though I was born and raised in L.A. Maybe all the Okies and other mid-westerners who came to Cali years ago established the "accent". Oh well, good fun, all the same.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Grown up in Southern California, lived all my life in California, I also speak "Midland".

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's pretty good. I got inland north and I grew up in Indianapolis, IN. They had it up there that I probably get asked if I'm from Chicago or Wisconsin which was more the case when I first moved to California. I don't get asked where I'm from much anymore. I guess my inland north accent isn't as think anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm from California (30 years -- originally Kentucky), and I got Philadelphia, so I don't think it's that accurate. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That was cool. I scored midland but I am from Houston, Texas. It did say that I might be from around a big city like Dallas or Atlanta.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Midland (originally from northern Illinois)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pretty accurate for me as well. I got "west" but it stated you don't even have to live in the west to have such an accent and named the city I lived in for an example.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting that I have a "midland" accent. Despite the fact both my parents were born in NYC and I live in the Hudson Valley region of NY state.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm an anomaly. I'm from the mountains of Appalachia, but worked hard to "neutralize" my accent.

    Apparently it worked!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Not bad. It pinned me in the Midwest (I'm from Southeastern WI)and said I likely get asked annoying questions like "are you from Wisconsin?" or "are you from Chicago?" Thing is people in the Pacific Northwest where I used to live are usually surprised when I say I'm from WI. Guess it must be a light accent. I can sure hear it from other Wisconsinites though. They almost sound Canadian to me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I took the test, it was right but every site has your IP address so it doesn't count.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey yo! Ya want some wudder with dat hot dawg? (south philly accent! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. wow i'm impressed. North Central, nailed it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Inland north, which is correct (I live in Ohio). In fact, when I lived in California people used to ask me if I was either from Wisco or Canada. Yes, people around here do call soft drinks "pop", but Californians have changed that in me, as I now call it soda.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm suspecting the website takes a peek a your ISP address because my accent is definitely not great lakes (even though I live there)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your Result: The Inland North

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

    I say soda. I find it strange I got this since I am from northeast PA already know I have a slight PA Dutch accent. I got The Northeast/The Midland/Philadelphia all ranking really high and very close to eachother in that order.

    The South was 4th at about a little less than half (which I hope doesn't go any higher. I really don't want to pick up a southern accent since I'm living in Virginia now).

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hilarious. My result was Philadelphia. I was born and raised in Philly.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Even the quiz results say I "don't have an accent."

    ReplyDelete
  20. Why do you care. Get out and travel the states if you are so interested. Better yet, get a job that matters!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I see some of you suspect that the web site is detecting your accent from your IP address.

    That's not the case. As we all know, certain words are pronounced differently in different parts of the country and this quiz does a very good job of keying in on those differences.

    I grew up outside of Boston and am in Philadelphia over the weekend, but the quiz correctly identified my accent as from Boston.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Mine was...Austrian.

    ReplyDelete
  23. im from europe and it gave me a strong phili accent

    ReplyDelete
  24. I took the quiz from here in London and it was [what I consider] pretty accurate results.

    ReplyDelete
  25. It got me: I'm from Wisconsin.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Are you guys reading the largest indicator or the part that says "Your Result"? Because, while midland is my highest indicator, the result actually says "Inland North".

    ReplyDelete
  27. All the sounds are different and Mary/Merry/Marry are the same. On rhymes with Don. All of my Detroit family members say the same thing. The test says we're from Philly. From too much Philly soul on the radio in Detroit?

    ReplyDelete
  28. In response to Roddis,

    "What they do?
    They smile in your face, all the time wanna take your place> Backstabbers (backstabbers)."

    Or, if you prefer..

    " This, is our fork in the road
    Love's last episode
    There's nowhere to go, oh no

    You made your choice, now it's up to me
    To bow out gracefully
    Though you hold the key, but baby

    Whenever you call me, I'll be there"

    Disclaimer: Yes, I know that the Spinners were from Detriot, but when they left Motown and went over to Atlantic they mostly had producers from that Philly soul sound (esp. Thom Bell). So, I consider their early sound Motown, while I consider their sound after 1972 to be pure Philly soul.

    From a musical standpoint I like both. But, from a production standpoint I must give the edge to Motown. In fact, when I record I often use what is called an "exciting compressor", which was an innovation straight out of Hitsville USA. It is what gave Motown acts that very airy yet full sound on vocals. It is almost the very definition of the "Motown sound".

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yo ... The quiz was correct. It said that I was from Philadelphia. However, it couldn't identify the exact neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I don't think it's using your IP. I took the test from Texas (where I was born), but live in Boston. It gave me a Philadelphia accent.

    I've had several people tell me that I honestly don't have an accent, and they can't place where I'm from. I chalk it up to the fact that I moved during my prime vocal development years.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I got midland with Philly, Boston, Northeast as the primary alternatives. I wonder what that means.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! I grew up in South Jersey, so that's dead on, despite living in Atlanta for the past 16 years.

    ReplyDelete
  33. How in the world can Merry, Mary and Marry EVER sound different... I mean really, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are you so surprised by that?

      Outside North America, every native speaker pronounces them differently.

      Basically the difference is like that between "letter", "later" and "latter" (When all three are different). But the difference between the long A and the short E tends to be less in "Mary" vs. "merry" than in "later" vs. "letter" even with those who make the distinction.

      Delete
  34. My result was also accurate, and not near my IP address. It identified my accent as Northeast: northern Jersey, NY, Connecticut, or RI. I grew up in Providence, but live in South Jersey and work in Philadelphia, where I took the test. It also pegged my wife as having a Philadelphia/Trenton accent. Amazing how little info it needs to do this.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Amazing. I have lived in Delaware County, PA (borders Philadelphia to the south) my entire life, and this quiz nailed it. I did not expect it to be so exact in saying I had Philadelphia accent. Is there an analysis available. This was obviously created by an astute linguist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The analysis on which the methodology of this quiz is based is The Phonological Atlas of North America by Labov, Ash and Boberg.

      That is very hard reading though if you have no training in linguistics, so you might have to read Gimson's Introduction and Wells's Accents of English first.

      Delete
  36. So funny...it said that many outsiders mistake you to be a Canadian. Um, they're not really mistaken - I live in Canada! lol

    ReplyDelete
  37. Pretty darn accurate. However, they say that I could be from Chicago or Wisconsin. I lived in both places, but the Chicago accent is considerably different from most places in Wisconsin, execpt maybe the big cities.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am a South Carolinian and the result was "Philadelphian". Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am inland north which is kinda correct I live in springfield, IL. But I don't say pop I say soda or sodee with an long E sound. And when I say on it rhymes neither with dawn nor don.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I got midland and I have lived in California all my life

    ReplyDelete
  41. I got west but, I grew up in southern Alabama. My test was pretty inaccurate. lol

    ReplyDelete
  42. Got The West, but I don't really know how accurate that is seeing as how I'm from Kansas and most people consider us part of the Midwest. My Grandparents (and mom) are from California though, so I may have picked up their accent instead of the regional accent.

    ReplyDelete
  43. If you want to learn American English, you must be able to observe the right accent and try speaking in a similar manner. Secondly, it would be necessary to see the difference in spelling of British and American English.

    ReplyDelete