What is English accentuation? Simply put, it’s the placing of stress on certain words in English. The rules are complex, but the effects are far from subtle. Stress on certain words can change the meaning of a sentence completely. In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 accents and how to pronounce them correctly.
Robert Pattinson’s American Accent
When we talk about English accents, we usually think about the Queen’s English or the so-called Received Pronunciation (or ‘RP’ for short). That form of English was originally taught in England and it’s still used there today. But what about English as it’s actually spoken in the United States? Is there a specific accent associated with the American English language?
The short answer is yes. In fact, American English is quite a bit different from traditional RP. While the pronunciation may be similar, the stress and intonation are not. In this article we’ll discuss 10 accents that are prevalent in the United States and you’ll learn how to pronounce them correctly.
The Midwestern Accent
One of the most distinctive American accents is that of the Midwesterner. This type of person typically gives a strong accent to certain words to signify their region. ‘Bite’ becomes ‘BEE-tee’, ‘fear’ becomes ‘FEAR-ee’, and ‘courage’ becomes ‘coo-RAY-zhay’. The Midwestern accent can be heard in everyone from Robert Downey Jr. to Bill Gates. It’s also the accent of the writers and performers who use it, such as William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck and Stephen King. In fact, many famous Americans could be considered midwesterners, including Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman. It’s often said that the Midwest is the best region in which to live, because it’s so diverse. What a perfect place to grow up and develop your own unique accent!
The Southern Accent
Southern accents are often associated with the Deep South, but they can also be found all over the U.S. The accent is generally characterized by slow speech and a drawl, which leads to an extra emphasis on certain words. While the exact pronunciation of the accent varies, a few words used frequently in the south, such as ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘right’ and ‘left’, have become almost synonymous with the region. For instance, in Southern France, people will often reply “Oui” to your “Bonjoro”, “Non” to your “Bonjoroh”, and so on.
You’ll hear many different types of southerners. From the educated to the uneducated, you’ll find people who stress different words depending on the situation. You’ll most likely encounter a southern accent if you live in the south, but you may hear it even if you live in another part of the United States. The most famous southern accent is that of Scarlett O’Hara in Quentin Tarantulinu’s iconic adaptation of ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939). The character’s line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” is often mistaken for a southern accent, although it’s not one particular person’s but rather an impersonal expression.
The Western Accent
The Western accent belongs primarily to those who live in the West, although it’s also found all over the United States. People from the West often stress the second syllable of words and use very short sentences. They like to use ‘ain’t’ and ‘like’ a lot and often drop the ‘r’ from words, such as ‘car’, ‘bottle’ and ‘house’.
Other words that are commonly heard in the West, including ‘money’, ‘handle’ and ‘OK’ can be traced back to the Spanish language. In Spanish, the word for ‘money’ is ‘dinero’. In the 1880s, many Americans began immigrating to Mexico and California. The Spanish language was mostly used in schools and communities because it was considered ‘modern’. Many words that originated in the West now only appear in dictionaries as a result of this trend.
The NYC Accent
The New York accent is often considered the accent of the United States. It’s one of the most recognizable ones worldwide, whether you live in the city or elsewhere. One of the main characteristics of the accent is the complete opposite of the other accents discussed so far: it’s extremely high-pitched. This means that it’s generally a happy accent, with words ending in ‘y’ and ‘i’ often being stressed. However, there’s also a very dark side to the NYC accent. Many gangsters from the ‘20s and ‘30s were rumoured to have had this accent, which is probably why it’s also known as ‘the gangster accent’. This pronunciation does not represent the way many New Yorkers actually speak, but it’s one of the most recognizable accents in American history.
The Chicagoland Accent
The Chicagoland accent originates in the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding areas. It’s often associated with actors, musicians and other creative individuals who were born and raised in the region. The accent is characterized by the use of ‘word fragments’ and ‘cadences’. For example, when asked about his favorite movie, musician, producer and actor Daniel Franzsen, (who was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan but now lives in Chicago) will often reply, “I don’t know, there are so many.” His answer is made up of several words that have been stripped of their meaning but used together to form a new, albeit unrelated, phrase: “there are so many”. This pattern of breaking down words is a common feature of Chicagoland speech. The accent is also associated with the ‘Viennese School’ of cooking, which was prominent in Chicago during the early part of the 20th century. That style is characterized by the use of heavy cream and lots of butter at its base. The great Chicago-style hot dog, the wiener, is often referred to as a ‘Chicago dog’.
How Do I Pronounce These?
So you’ve picked up a dictionary and are looking up the meaning of a word or phrase you don’t know. You come across a word that you think is interesting and decide to look up its pronunciation. Perhaps you’ve even tried to imitate the pronunciation of the word and were convinced that you sounded good. But did you ever stop to think about how you speak and how other people will perceive you?
If you’re looking for American accented speech, then dictionaries may be of little help to you. The words in these dictionaries are likely to be used primarily by people from the United Kingdom. In fact, many words that are commonly used in American English, including some of those discussed in this article, are not even found in most standard dictionaries. That’s because American English is quite a bit different from traditional English. For instance, in American English, ‘money’ is not generally considered a feminine word. So if you want to know how to say it correctly, you’ll need look no further.
If you’re interested in practicing your American accent, then you might consider watching American movies or TV shows. These will provide you with a wealth of opportunities to study different accents. You can find a large number of American movies and shows available to stream via Netflix or other popular platforms. These are great resources for anyone looking to better understand the country and its inhabitants. You may also find it useful to search for YouTube videos of people from different regions of the country discussing topics related to your interests. For example, if you’re curious about the Chicago accent, you may find a YouTube video discussing the topic or one of its most prominent individuals.