Try to copy my accent

Uriel   Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:24 pm GMT
Ah. A Northwesterner. That's why he sounds Canadian without being Canadian.

I've never heard that Americans sound like they're chewing gum, but I have heard that we sound like we're talking through a mouthful of potatoes. I suspect that's because we don't have that tense, spitting quality of British English, but more of a soft drawl. Wonder what they make of Australians, who also lack that "sounds-like-all-consonants "delivery.
feati   Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:28 pm GMT
Oh, I'm not the OP or George... I just remembered the voice sample, so I searched for "transcription" and found the old thread.

But I happen to be German and I can assure you that it's not difficult for us to pronounce the English long O as a diphtong. His short O does, however, sound exactly like my German short O, which is (according to Wikipedia) a feature of the Pacific Northwest Dialect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Northwest_English
Jasper   Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:39 pm GMT
↑ Feati, I probably ought to be specific.

AMERICANS who monopthongize the long-O are rather uncommon in our linguistic pool; they seem to be mainly associated with places in America that were populated with German immigrants.

I've noticed this monopthongization in speakers from the Dakotas all the way east to Wisconsin. However, the OP's speech is missing the Great Lakes influence of the NCVS, so I think it's safe to eliminate Wisconsin as a possibility. Minnesota carries some NCVS, too, but by the time you reach the Dakotas, the NCVS shift has more or less disappeared. Not so the long German-American O, hence my original guess that the OP was from the Dakotas.

He says that this guess is very close. I still believe he might be from Northern Minnesota or Eastern Montana, or hell, even Idaho, but I'm not familiar enough with the latter two to make a definitive guess.

The trouble with the notion of a Washington origin is that in all the samples I've ever heard in my life, that long-O was missing. I could be wrong; maybe his Opa or other relative was from the Upper Midwest. Until such time that the OP 'fesses up, I guess we'll just keep on guessing.
recordings   Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:41 am GMT
Where can I find samples of people from the above mentioned places? I'm not exactly sure exactly how people from all of those states talk.
Travis   Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:05 am GMT
I cannot place it, but it almost certainly is not from much of southern or eastern Wisconsin; even the parts which lack much of a NCVS do tend to have a fronted historical /ɑː/ nonetheless. Another thing I noted is that there was also monophthongization of historical /eɪ̯/ in addition to that of /oʊ̯/, but that of the latter actually was not complete in that it would sometimes show up diphthongal at the ends of words. If I had to make a guess, though, I would say that it would be a North Central dialect or, failing that, a Northwestern dialect, for lack of any further information.
+   Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:11 pm GMT
ohio posted: >>Actually, it doesn't sound very different from an Cleveland accent. Here is a sample: http://web.ku.edu/idea/northamerica/usa/ohio/ohio.htm<<

I strongly disagree. The male speaker from Cleveland has the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, which makes his accent quite different compared to the one of the original poster. The original poster has absolutely no trace of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift.

This is much like comparing the Windsor, Ontario accent to the Detroit, Michigan accent. Even though the cities are so close, the accents have very sharp, pronounced differences.
-   Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:39 am GMT
>> This is much like comparing the Windsor, Ontario accent to the Detroit, Michigan accent. Even though the cities are so close, the accents have very sharp, pronounced differences. <<

why is there such a difference between the two accents?
+   Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:01 am GMT
Detroit natives often have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift and they do not have the LOT-THOUGHT merger. As with most unmerged speakers, the LOT-CLOTH split is also present.

Windsor natives may or may not have the Canadian Shift, but even without the shift, they are firmly LOT-THOUGHT merged.

I am not sure why such drastic differences exist between two cities so close to each other, but the Northern Cities Vowel Shift and LOT-THOUGHT distinction do not seem to travel over to the Canadian side. On the other hand, Canadian raising is present in most northern areas of the United States along the border. It is interesting, as many Windsor and Detroit natives travel back and forth across the border on a daily basis.

This is probably the best of example of such a sharp difference between dialects directly on the United States/Canada border. There is also a similar difference between dialects on the Western New York/Ontario border, but I am not that familiar with the borders located further east. From what I have read, the northern extremes of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have a significant French speaking population. As to whether or not they blend with what is spoken in Quebec, I cannot say for sure, as I am unfamiliar with French dialects. I have never been to Maine, but I have spoken with native English speakers from both places. Based on my experiences, the dialects have distinct differences, but again, I am comparing speakers from southern Maine to speakers from Fredericton and Saint John.

As for going further west, there are differences along the border, but as a rule, they are almost always less pronounced.
+   Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:50 am GMT
Correction: In the fourth paragraph, I meant to say that I have spoken to native English speakers from both Maine and New Brunswick. I do not recall ever speaking to any native English speakers from Quebec, but I have known native French speakers from Quebec. Needless to say, they have a different accent compared to New Englanders.
Jasper   Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:26 pm GMT
↑ Not knowing all the complexities of Canadian English, I can nonetheless assert that Eastern Canadian English seems markedly different from Western Canadian English, noticeable in the first sentence or two.
+   Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:18 pm GMT
Jasper, this is true, especially when you compare general speech samples from Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island to everything from Ontario westward. I have spoken to individuals from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and their dialect seems fairly standard Canadian these days, but it almost always lacks the Canadian Shift. There are pockets of Nova Scotia that have strong Scottish influences, but from what I have heard and read, these features seem to be receding in the urban areas. Again, I am going on limited experiences, as I have never been anywhere in Canada east of Quebec. When I had the chance to visit Quebec, I was far too young and had very little knowledge of dialects. I asked an old friend of mine from Montreal (native French speaker) about New Brunswick, and while he claims to have little to no knowledge of northern Maine dialects, he said that some speakers from New Brunswick will often use French and English within the same sentence when speaking with native French speakers.
monoph   Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:39 am GMT
Is a monophthongal /o/ really particular to the North Central region? I remember reading that it is a feature found in California and Canada as well.
monoph   Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:38 am GMT
@Caspian


So have you made your recording yet? We'll see how convincing your North central accent is.
Andy   Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:09 am GMT
I was just wondering.. is the original poster's pronunciation of in words like path or passed common in the US? It sounds almost British to me. But I'm not a native speaker so I can't really tell.
(but when I compare it for example with this:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/path
it definitely sounds quite different to me)

thanks
br   Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:51 am GMT
Hmm. How exactly does the /{/ sound British? I don't really hear any traces of the CVS besides for the cot-caught merged vowel. I think that the /{/ sounds like [{]. What does it sound like to the rest of you guys?