maybe a stupid question….

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  • maybe a stupid question….
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
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    I went to a McDonalds just off I95 in Georgia and tried to order something. The girl behind the counter couldn’t stop laughing at my accent.

    I assured her that I didn’t have an accent but she wouldn’t believe me.

    I’ve no idea why she spoke differently to me, though.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Very interesting question this.

    Clearly close communities of people start to talk like each other – even within families this is evident. In fact, my 1 year old, who has about 5 words, makes noises that mimic the speech of her 3 year old sister remarkably well.

    I did wonder once how the other anglophone countries diverged from the UK in their accents, so I read up on it. Turns out that we’ve all been diverging from the original pre-colonial accents, and they say that the New Zealand accent has actually changed the least.

    Fascinating.

    Premier Icon DezB
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    My 9 year old son asked me the same question a couple of days ago. I didn’t have an answer.

    racefaceec90
    Member

    definitely an interesting question.would be interested in the answer also.

    brakes
    Member

    well English is a bastardised language made up of all sorts – local dialects were influenced by incoming populations of foreign migrants – e.g. vikings/ scandanavians in the north east in days of yore.
    Same thing would happened in the US where English was the common language but migrants were from all over the world and came with their own way of pronouncing vowels.
    That is how I understand it anyway.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    And why are some accents sexier than others? Like for example the Irish or French accent… 🙂

    clubber
    Member

    Isn’t it just that you can say words in different ways but the meaning still (usually!) be clear so different areas pick up the way other people talk and naturally mimic it – accents then diverge as this continues.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accent_(linguistics)

    HistoryAs human beings spread out into isolated communities, stresses and peculiarities develop. Over time these can develop into identifiable accents. In North America, the interaction of people from many ethnic backgrounds contributed to the formation of the different varieties of North American accents. It is difficult to measure or predict how long it takes an accent to formulate. Accents in the USA, Canada and Australia, for example, developed from the combinations of different accents and languages in various societies, and the effect of this on the various pronunciations of the British settlers.[3]

    In many cases, the accents of non-English settlers from the British Isles affected the accents of the different colonies quite differently. Irish, Scottish and Welsh immigrants had accents which greatly affected the vowel pronunciation of certain areas of Australia and Canada.[3]

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    If you listen carefully to people from the South East you can hear the similarities between their accent and Australian.

    Premier Icon Lifer
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    molgrips – Member
    If you listen carefully to people from the South East you can hear the similarities between their accent and Australian.

    How very dare you!

    Streuth.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    If you listen carefully to people from the South East you can hear the similarities between their accent and Australian

    An Australian accent is a cockney one but keeping your teeth clenched to keep the flies out of your mouth.

    Try it, it works.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    There’s no purpose to accents, they’re just a consequence of relatively isolated development/changes in pronunciation aren’t they?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    There’s no purpose to accents

    they make it easier to spot people who aren’t in your tribe 😉

    ron jeremy
    Member

    …but can anyone tell me why we have accents?

    Watching breakfast telly earlier (not due in office till 11.30 and it’s proper raining outside) and I was just pondering which accents people were speaking with, and it got me thinking, why do we have them, what causes them, and for what purpose do (or did) they serve?

    So I thought I’d ask the collective mass that is the might of STW, after all are we not the font of all knowledge…

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
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    I was told that Liverpudlians were always catching colds, mostly caught from sailors (on the docks) who didn’t have vitamin ‘C’ on board ships. They ended up with a nasel type accent.

    Favourite accents for me:
    Scottish,
    Geordie,
    nice Lancashire ‘eee by gum’ type accent is homely
    and those nicely spoken chaps from the ‘Home Counties’ 😉

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    ‘ey up and sithee lass, as’ll put kettle on.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
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    ittle be reet

    Premier Icon richmtb
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    Accents are great.

    What’s always fascinated me is that there is only one Australian accent, but its understandable given how it developed from a very small group of cockney immigrants that arrived at one place and time.

    It does seem stange though when you consider how different the accent is when going from Liverpool to Manchester or even Glasgow and Edinburgh

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    *paging shibboleth*

    Premier Icon portlyone
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    Vaguely remember seeing a tv programme that explained it thusly: we all spoke different languages depending on who had ransacked us last, when people started trading over long distances a common language was developed over time. The accent was left over from the older language.

    ron jeremy
    Member

    You would of thought over time and evolution that we would all just develop one accent, do you ever forsee a time when this will happen?

    You would of thought over time and evolution that we would all just develop one accent, do you ever forsee a time when this will happen?

    The massive increase in global media is already leading to a degere of global accent convergence, as more and more people listen to the same music and watch the same films and TV. This is, I’d imagine, likely to increase.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
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    It does seem stange though when you consider how different the accent is when going from Liverpool to Manchester or even Glasgow and Edinburgh

    Don’t even need to go that far. Within Edinburgh (and I’m sure other cities) accents can vary by postcode. For Example, Morningside to Wester Hailes.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
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    My wife and I are English, we live in Scotland. When with us our 6 year old daughter talks with no accent (home counties English = no accent) , but with a scottish accent when playing with friends. She is not even aware that she does it.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    do you ever forsee a time when this will happen?

    Yes. In a couple of hundred years, every English speaking person will sound like Tinie Tempah.

    It’s interesting, isn’t it. The UK has very clearly entrenched accents, so you’d think that they’ll never change (otherwise, it’d already have happened). But I can tell a difference even now between the “Lanky” dialect my grandparents spoke and the accents I hear around town today.

    The accent has softened, and the colloquial phrases have all but died out in favour of more common language. If I told a teenager to put wood i’ thoil, I’d get a blank look. Whether this is good or bad I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader. (-:

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Don’t even need to go that far. Within Edinburgh (and I’m sure other cities) accents can vary by postcode.

    I was stopped getting off a train in London the other day, a woman had overheard me speaking and asked where I was from. Not because she thought we were from the same county, but because she thought I was more local than that. Turned out, she lived about five miles from me.

    stevewhyte
    Member

    It’s funny how some accents make folk sound daft, some sexy, some smarmy. It could all be the same person with the same personality.

    Funny old world.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    They say each South Wales Valley has its own accent, and they are a mile or two apart as the crow flies. I can’t tell them apart specifically but I do recognise it when I hear someone from the same valley as my family.

    You would of thought over time and evolution that we would all just develop one accent, do you ever forsee a time when this will happen?

    What CFH says. Go to Cornwall now, many people don’t speak like pirates. RP is all over the place.

    However, there are new accents in cities which include immigrant accents, but are widespread amongst lots of ethnic groups including white.

    ernie_lynch
    Member

    Listening to a programme many years ago concerning why accents exist, it was suggested that they develop as a result of mimicking the more dominate individuals in a community. In much the same way as we mimic more influential individuals and our peers when it comes to fashion I guess. Humans are great mimics which explains our impressive ability to pass on knowledge.

    loum
    Member

    The massive increase in global media is already leading to a degere of global accent convergence, as more and more people listen to the same music and watch the same films and TV. This is, I’d imagine, likely to increase.

    I find it weird when speaking to a lot of Northern Europeans, Dutch, Fins, Swedes, Norwegians that their English almost always has a US twang to the accent. And there seems to be less variety in accent between them (in English) than there is within England.
    It’s MTV English.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    My wife taught two kids who had American accents.

    She asked the mum if they’d lived there.

    “Errrm, no, it’s just that I work at home and they spent 2 years watching the Disney Channel for 8 hours a day”

    Was the slightly embarassed reply.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    wwaswas – Member

    There’s no purpose to accents

    they make it easier to spot people who aren’t in your tribe

    This, and:

    Humans are great mimics which explains our impressive ability to pass on knowledge.

    this.

    Evolutionary advantage.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Apropos of nothing,

    I’ve grown up hearing local Asian descent kids with a sort of hybrid East Lancashire / South Asia accent, it’s pretty normal to my ears.

    Went into a corner shop in South Wales a good few years ago, and was served by a friendly chap who looked to be of Pakistani origin (living the stereotype). When he opened his mouth he had a really thick Valleys accent, caught me off guard for a moment.

    I’d never really stopped to think before about how immigrants and their descendants actually learn English, of course the local twang is going to rub off.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I find it weird when speaking to a lot of Northern Europeans, Dutch, Fins, Swedes, Norwegians that their English almost always has a US twang to the accent.

    When I was in Finland you could easily tell who had spent time in America or the UK, and even who’d been taught by Brits, Americans or Finns. It seems that non-native teachers of English often teach a mix of British and American idioms. My mate was surprised when I explained which were which.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    Since school, the only place I’ve ever spoken French is in the alps, where the accent is supposedly a bit like the stereotypical yokel accent in england.

    A mate of mine who speaks fluent (Parisian) French said I sounded quite funny (NE england mixed with alpine french)

    I “am” Jan Molby 8)

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    It’s interesting, isn’t it. The UK has very clearly entrenched accents, so you’d think that they’ll never change (otherwise, it’d already have happened). But I can tell a difference even now between the “Lanky” dialect my grandparents spoke and the accents I hear around town today.

    Theres the new ‘Estuary English’ accent spreading across the south east was well. Thats an unusual one as its a change of accent within a certain class who would have spoken with R.P. in previous generations and not had a ‘local’ accent.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    (NE england mixed with alpine french)

    My french teacher had a strong belfast accent, which mean us, her pupils got quite a curious reception on our school trip to Paris, with our woolyback version of her belfast version of french.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    as its a change of accent within a certain class who would have spoken with R.P. in previous generations and not had a ‘local’ accent.

    Maybe Dick Van Dyke was just remarkably prescient.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I once knew a Japanese woman who’d lived in France for years and spoke reasonable English. Her accent was really really bizarre!

    donald
    Member

    Went into a corner shop in South Wales a good few years ago, and was served by a friendly chap who looked to be of Pakistani origin (living the stereotype). When he opened his mouth he had a really thick Valleys accent, caught me off guard for a moment.

    Speaking to a white West Indian can also cause cognitive dissonance.

    Premier Icon ransos
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    and they say that the New Zealand accent has actually changed the least.

    Seriously? I consider the accent to be the most extreme mangling of vowels anywhere in the English speaking world. “Fish n’ chips” becomes “fush n’ chups” and “deck ten” becomes “dick tin”.

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