American Accent

Ashley   Saturday, October 25, 2003, 02:34 GMT
The British say the American accent sounds nasal. Does it really? To you British, what does the american accent really sound like? I don't believe it sounds nasally, I really don't. Americans have their own accent, is it really annoying? or cool? Can you Britons understand the American Accent? By the way I'm an American, I live in Minnesota, United States.
Juan   Saturday, October 25, 2003, 02:41 GMT
I would say it sounds (General American) kind of metallic, robotic, wooden but nasal doesn't come to mind.
Anna   Saturday, October 25, 2003, 22:48 GMT
The American accent usually sounds very nasal and loud kinda sound like they have a cold all the time and chewing gum.
Another Minnesota person   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 05:20 GMT
Hey Ashley! I'm from MN, too. Eden Prairie to be exact, which is right by the Twin Cities. I was wondering the exact same question myself! And I was wondering especially about the Minnesota accent. I don't think I have it yet because I just moved here a year ago... ;)
A.S.C.M.   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 05:40 GMT
I wouldn't say Americans sound nasal or robotic but I do think that the American accent is a little drawn-out and over-relaxed (yawn, "ahhh! the paaahsibilidies" [possibilities]). I also think that many younger Americans, especially adolescent girls, sound unconfident though I can't explain why. Perhaps it's because of my tendency to speak clearly and confidently, even when I'm expressing a doubt, or not speak at all.

By the way, I took two of those sham online quizzes on "how British are you". The results I received were 155% British on one and 100% British on the other. Everything on those quizzes is SO obvious to anyone who's lived in the UK before: Southampton, Dover, Birmingham, Dundee- which is not a seaside town? Plus, how would I not know what a cuppa is if I drink cuppa after cuppa every night to keep me awake whilst I'm doing homework? Sorry, I don't like coffee.
wassabi   Monday, October 27, 2003, 05:10 GMT
i'm not british, but i find those classic whiney american accents annoying...they're spoken in non-educated parts of new york (i'm guessing) and the classic cowboyish-texan's not that it sounds nasal...its just some of the accents are more whiney.
Clark   Monday, October 27, 2003, 05:14 GMT
Apparently, many non-Americans find the American accent somewhat nasal sounding. I never really thought about it, and even after I did, I still do not hear this nasal sound except in New York-type accents.
Jay   Monday, October 27, 2003, 05:52 GMT
I don't really know what a "nasal" accent sounds like--what sound qualities make something nasal-sounding? Are people actually forcing air, while talking, through their nose?

What is an "American" accent? Do you really think there are phonological differences that hold true across all U.S. accents?

As for a Minnesota accent, I guess the movie "Fargo" comes pretty close. I definitely think that people from the extreme upper midwest (Minn and northern Wisconsin) are a little sing-songy, and pronounce sorry and borrow with "o" sounds, not "a" sounds.
wassabi   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 05:01 GMT
when ppl say "american accent" they're thinking the stereotype: nasaly as know sandy's friend in Grease? that red-haired girl, her accent. that's generally viewed as the stereoptypical "american accent". as for the guys..think bush
mjd   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 06:06 GMT
I definitely wouldn't label GWB's accent "standard." His has a strong Texan accent. Colin Powell fits more into the standard category.
A.S.C.M.   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 06:19 GMT
Wassabi was referring to the *stereotypical* American accent= stereotypical accent as considered by non-Americans. I don't think he was referring to the "Standard" American accent= standard as considered by linguists.

There's a difference:
Non-Americans think that the Texan accent is stereotypical.
Linguists think that the Midwestern accent is most similar to Standard American English.
Rugger   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 06:28 GMT
I think the girl's name was Frenchie?, wassabi.

I don't think that all American accents are "nasally". IMO the northerners tend to have the fast "nasally" cadance to their voice, while the southerners have the slow drawl.

I found this post by Ryan on a previous thread to be interesting:


"I've read before that American, along with Canadian English, is distinguished mostly by where it is focused in the mouth. They are pretty far back in the mouth for English speech. England and Aussie tend to be in the middle of the mouth. Scottish and Irish more toward the front of the mouth."

So, perhaps the reason the American accents tend to sound "nasally" is because they are focused futher back in the mouth.
mjd   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 06:44 GMT
Sorry about that wassabi and A.C.S.M. I read the post too fast and didn't pay enough attention. I stand corrected.
Peggy   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 18:18 GMT
Of course the Amrican accent is not as nasal as the French is but it's still somehow nasal depending where you are from at the US.
messire lavoisel   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 22:09 GMT
- Some Americans seem to find the French accent nasal.

- The French often find the American accent nasal.