Gut Rumbles

May 01, 2003

goddamit! this is war!

I've received a lot of comments and a bunch of very readable emails (nothing hateful) about accents in America. I must admit that I have learned a LOT about accents in my travels across this country, and I've tuned my musicians's ear to detect them.

I am GOOD at it now.

Some accents, I find very pleasing to hear (those would be Southern, Appalachian and Texan), and others make me want to strangle somebody (those would be all forms of yankee). But we live in a diverse country full of people who talk funny. I have learned to supress my desire to choke somebody who talks yankee (and it comes in many forms).

So.... I ask YOU to tell me.

What accent do YOU have?

What accents please your ear?

What accent makes you want to CHOKE somebody?

Comments are open...


No accent here. I grew up in Maine, but my parents were transplants. Then I lived in South America for awhile, so I mixed it up even more.

I've been in the Boston area awhile, so I'll probably start pahking my cah in the garahge again soon.

Posted by: Geoffrey on May 1, 2003 06:57 PM

Well, I don't have an accent. You know what I sound like.

I love Southern accents. You know that.

Mostly, I like deeper, resonant voices.

Posted by: Da Goddess on May 1, 2003 07:17 PM

I'm still trying to figure out how Acidman know that this boy's Midwest accent makes this boy untrustworthy. Boys with Midwest accents are the only ones you can trust.

I would like to work on getting an East Texas accent and using it here in the Midwest.

Posted by: Carl on May 1, 2003 07:25 PM

Heh. I have a relatively minimal accent. When I did phone support, people used to generally assume I was midwest; Ohio or wherever, with the broadcast standard thing going on. Most often, they would say "are you Canadian?" Apparently my grandfathers were enough of an influence to do that.

And yet, when I lived in Florida for 6 weeks, people would exclaim at me "you're from Boston!!" I would proceed to defend myself because I grew up on the rural South Shore and to me it was always "Boston? A *city*?! Fuck the city! Cities are evil!" So even though saying "Boston" was really shorthand for "you sound like a damn Massachusetts Yankee commie bastard," I was horrified at anyone associating me with the city.

I also had people on support calls, once each, assume I was a California surfer dude. from New Jersey, and from somewhere in the south. Go figure. Perhaps it depended on my sinuses and stress level at any given time.

Accents are fun. I just love listening to Brits and Irish. One of the coolest is my old Kenyan colleague, where you hear it and say "British? No. French? Not that either. Um... Carribean? Maybe, but..."

I always enjoyed southern accents too. When I was a freshman in high school, the girl I was obsessed with used to put on a fake southern accent that was utterly charming, not that I needed to be charmed further. My sister came home from a few years in North Carolina with a pretty good accent, and my cousin in Texas sounds native. Comes by it naturally, her mother having been from Georgia.

Accents get annoying when they obstruct comprehension, and I say that as someone good at understanding people who are near unintelligable. Learned that working in convenience stores, where you had to recognize "pukka mubwahs" meant "pack of Marlboros." Or at least piss off the customers if you couldn't.

Posted by: Jay Solo on May 1, 2003 07:37 PM

Goddess, you have a YANKEE accent, straight from your Ohio roots. I thought I explained that fact to you.

Acidman's ear does not lie.

Posted by: Acidman on May 1, 2003 07:42 PM

Nevadans don't have accents, All you tourists have the accents. Californians are the worst.

A female voice with an Irish lilt, or perhaps Scottish second, is the only kind better than a soft southern belle's.

Posted by: Rich Jordan on May 1, 2003 07:49 PM

I'm a Navy brat, so I lived all over the US. Therefore, I really don't have an accent, but from living for years here in Maryland (the Yankee part of the South!) I've picked up some of the inflections when it comes to individual words. Chestpeak (Chesepeake), 'Naplis (Annapolis), Warshindun (Washington), and of course Bawlmeer (Baltimore). A Maryland accent sounds normal to me, and I like Southern accents. Texas accents grate a bit on me oddly enough, and I can stand a pure New England Yankee accent (that's from being based in Groton).

Posted by: Mike Trettel on May 1, 2003 08:00 PM

A deep, throaty Scottish brogue can make my panties fly off at the speed of light. Good thing I married a Scot, hey? (He doesn't have one, but he can mimic it quite well, indeed.)

You just have to hear me talk to know what accent I might have; I've been told several different things but I think it's because I'm a natural-born mimic.

Posted by: margi on May 1, 2003 08:43 PM

MB's ear and tongue have an unfortunate tendency to pick up whatever is being spoken locally. The Scottish Burr found its way home from those trips there; some words stuck, too.

Natively she should sound pure Yankee, but it just didn't work out that way, so unknown how to describe; that would best be left to others to decide. Don't know what that makes her at all.

Posted by: MommaBear on May 1, 2003 08:53 PM

My parents are from the Virginia mountain coal country, so they started off with pretty serious accents, but they moved to KY then to FL. Florida is where, surrounded by wintering New Yorkers and other sundry carpetbaggers, I developed a pretty bland somewhere-in-the-midwest-newsanchor accent. But I still use words like "Y'all," and "grits," and the occasional "n'nem."

My relatives who stayed in Virginia still have the drawl, though, and I like it.

The one accent (or is it just a speech pattern?) that drives me nuts is William F. Buckley Jr.'s. JUST SAY THE WORDS, BILL! They don't have to sound as though you've coated them in 50-weight!

Posted by: Kevin Baker on May 1, 2003 09:05 PM

I was born in New York and lived their until I was 8, when my family moved to Missouri. They couldn't understand us (we talked too fast and had an accent ), so they sent my sister and me to SPEECH PATHOLOGY classes.

Now I speak like a fuckin' redneck Hillbilly, but a NY accent is still music to my ears -- you know, the way God MEANT us to talk!

Posted by: cj on May 1, 2003 10:41 PM

Bullshit Rob. You couldn't tell where I was from. You said I had no discernable accent.

Gotta love that selective memory...or is it just pickled?

Posted by: Da Goddess on May 2, 2003 12:26 AM

I can't stand accents, because it means someone is flapping their yap and disturbing my PEACE AND QUIET.

Ahem. That being said, the accent I hate the most is the Fake Southern Accent. This "accent" is affected by displaced Yankees or children of Yankees, who do dee-clayuh that they simply must talk like an ersatz Scarlet O'Hara after being in the presence of an authentic southerner for five minutes, even though their own natural accent is straight outta Brooklyn. I had a friend who used to do that after talking to my Tennessee-born mother, and it always made me want to slap the drawl right out of her mouth.

Posted by: Andrea Harris on May 2, 2003 12:33 AM

Mine is Central Texas (as opposed to other regions in Texas -- I think they all have their own special differences), and is more pronounced after several cocktails. Texas accents are not supposed to be obvious, but gentle and easy on the ear. Fake a Texas accent around a real Texan and you risk an ass-kicking (especially if you're a Yankee).

Posted by: Raspil on May 2, 2003 02:04 AM

I had an Irish accent, but it's been diluted by ten years living in England, and the result is that many people mistake my accent for American or Canadian.

Posted by: Jack on May 2, 2003 03:49 AM

I thought I had a Western accent, until I had a guy from North Carolina ask me if I grew up here in subtropical West Georgia.

(Well, now that I re-read that paragraph, it sorta makes sense. Bet y'all didn't know West Georgia was cowboy country!)

Posted by: Kevin McGehee on May 2, 2003 07:02 AM

I have a slight southern accent, nothing like my cousins from North Carolina, but put me down there and after five minutes I'd blend right in.

I don't care for the north western accents, but that's only because they remind me of liberal politicians. The one accent that boggles my mind was this computer science prof I once had. He was Chinese but studied in Australia. I can't explain how it sounded, but it wasn't understandable.

You didn't ask, but as for sexy accents, Southern trumps all in my opinion but any accent is sexy. British, Aussie, Spanish, doesn't matter. An accent is exotic no matter what the flavor. (as long as it's not obnoxious)

Posted by: tim on May 2, 2003 09:59 AM

I was born in Cullman, Alabama. I have in Bermingham, Ala.,Charleston, S.C., Wurzberg, Germany, Nurmberg, Germany, Junction City, Kansas, San Deago, Calf., Lone Jack, Mo., K. C. Mo., Bellows Falls, Vt., now somewhere in South West Gerogia.

Accent? Sourthern, of course.

Posted by: Don on May 2, 2003 11:34 AM

Shit, I have the dumbest accent ever, especially when drunk. I grew up in Nor'east Ohiyah and learned to speak from my brother, who learned to speak in southeast ohio, which is kinda appalachia. However, nobody I know speaks like I do in Nor'east Ohiya. To make it worse, I am now in Canada and have assimilated some English Canadian words and accent like aboot (about), hoose (house), eh?, tuque (winter hat), giv'er (go for it) and others. I also picked up some Quebecois slang from my roommate and mix that in as well. I sound like a fool. When I hit the bottle, it gets even worse, with strangers openly mocking me and bartenders cannot understand me in English or the French. When questioned as to my origin, I just fuck with people and say Kansas. All of the above having been said, I hate the Boston accent and the Valley Girl accent. Fucking Yankee bastards. I know most of ya'll are from the south, so would you consider Ohio as Yankee territory?

Posted by: Jordan on May 2, 2003 01:27 PM

I am from (and currently live in) Ohio. I also lived in Georgia for about 15 years. Northerners say I sound southern (still say fixin' too!). Southerners say I sound yankee. Just can't fit in anywhere!

Men with British accents, ala Sean Connery. mmmmmmmm.....

Posted by: Jilly on May 2, 2003 01:27 PM

by "yankee" I suppose you mean the tawk of the Norteastanah.... that's me, so fuck you.

Actually, since I find the New England accent to be EXTREMELY influenced by outside accents (c'mon... I KNOW you've heard a transplanted New Englander adopt a southern accent... have you ever, ever heard a transplanted southerner adopt a new england accent??? nope, me either.) I have a story to tell.

A few years ago, I worked a customer service phone line for a client of ours who was based outta Richmond, VA. Most of their customers came from either Richmond or futher south (GA, FL, etc.). A couple months after I started, a fried of mine asked me what the fuck I was saying.... I had said: Gawd moooonin' y'all. I had spoken to these people so much I had adopted thier accent. Scared the shit outta me, too.

Got worse from there... my office moved up near Worcester, MA (which is a world of it's own....) and consolidated the majority of our Bawstan office. After a few months there, I had a Rhode Island/Virginia/Worcester/Boston accent.... I sounded God-awful every time I opened my mouth! Thankfully, I got away from the phone contact and the Worcester area and back to RI, where I revitalized my stricktly Rhode Island accent... I sound NORMAL again... the rest of you sound fucked-up!

Posted by: Jim S on May 2, 2003 01:57 PM

I was an Air Force brat, myself, with stays in Colorado, Philadelphia, France, England, and Texas before high school. I don't have much accent normally, but I tend to pick up whatever accent is shown by the people I'm with.

I took a course in linguistics one semester, and the first day, the professor had everyone in the class read a particular paragraph that was loaded with "indicator words." She was able to place everyone in the class, sometimes down to the county, except for me.

As for what I like, almost anything sounds nice to me except Brooklyn and Cockney, although a broad Lancashire accent gives me a lot of deciphering trouble.

Posted by: wheels on May 2, 2003 02:02 PM

I grew up in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio, which has caused me to have an accent that's sort of a cross between Appalachian and standard midwest (broadcaster) yankee. But as Jordan points out, it is quite different than even an accent from northern Ohio. People from there (or anywhere further north for that matter) always say I sound like I'm southern, but just as in Jilly's case, no southerner I've met so far has ever said that.

I had a New Yorker and a Texan as roommates for a while when I lived in Houston and it was funny to see how frustrated those two would be trying to talk to each other. The New Yorker talked too fast and the Texan talked too slow..what a hoot.

Oh and yes Jordan, most southerners (including but not limited too Texas, Jawja, TenC etc) would consider us Ohioians to be damn yankee bastards, so wear the badge proudly.

Posted by: MarcL on May 2, 2003 02:58 PM

I was born in Western North Carolina and raised in East Tennessee. I can mangle the language like only an applachin can. My brother-in-law is the best. I have been listening to this accent all my life, and I have to be around him for about 30 minutes before I can understand him. However, it's still music to my ears.

Lately, since I moved to South Carolina, my accent has been mellowing towards southern . Not that it's a bad thing.

The accent that makes my hands itch for the ClueBat is the poor folks from New England. I am sure they are fine folks, but just don't talk around me.

Posted by: SamuraiGrant on May 2, 2003 03:56 PM

I'm in OK, but close enough to the border to be mistaken for a Texican. My dream is to live in N'Awlins and pick up that coonass accent so I can order those awstrs all day long.

Posted by: Erin on May 2, 2003 07:19 PM

Nothing grates on me quite so much as a western
Pennsylvania accent (Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Mike
Ditka, et al).Eastern Shoor Murriland is nearly as
annoying(it's the wootter.), and Chicago Police
Department is a close third. (Yes, the CPD has its
own accent, spoken by blacks, whites, and others
alike (Listen to Dennis Farina sometime.)
A HIGHLAND Scots burr is the only acceptable
accent, denoting culture, itellectual superiority
and good looks.

Posted by: Dave on May 2, 2003 07:30 PM

A friend from Germany told me they have regional accents in her country as well. What would a Yankee German sound like? I like Southern accents, especially when you're far away from home. Foreign accents are usually a turn on. Yankee accents drive you to drinking.

Posted by: Holytara on May 2, 2003 10:46 PM

The best German Yankee accent (old High German)
I ever heard was from a Dane (Kurt Jurgens).As for
German Southerners, they're hillbillies (damf they
don't yodel,too.) Schwarzenegger's Austrian accent
is pretty close. They of East Germany sort of lost
their regional accents (at least the younger ones
did).Their current accent sounds as Slavic as it
does German.

Posted by: Dave on May 2, 2003 11:59 PM

I have the very bland accentless speech that comes from moving to a different country every two years while growing up. My father is from Washington State but spent over thirty years constantly travelling and has no accent that I can discern (aside from a military crispness to his speech), and my mother is not a native english speaker, but is highly intelligent and quite careful in her diction. The word that most gives away she has any kind of accent at all is 'participation'. When she says it, it sounds like 'PbARTusPbAYshun'. She does have a bit of difficulty with P's. She was three years old when her family immigrated to Israel from Soviet Georgia.

I'm currently living in Germany, in the state of Rheinland Pfalz, about half an hour to forty minutes from the French border. A lot of people in this particular area speak french, even more so in the state south of here, Saarland, and they also speak a weird dialect of German here. Kind of like speaking German with a heavy French accent. An example, the word for 'twenty' is 'zwanzig'. In the rest of Germany, they say 'zvanzik', here, they say 'zvanzeesh'. Nearly any word ending in IG is 'eesh' instead of 'ik'. The language structure is also not as formal here as is High German.

Posted by: Stormi on May 3, 2003 12:57 PM

Funny, I was just talking about this with a friend a couple of days ago...

I've lived in lower Appalachia for a handful of years now, and I can say that it's made me miss the warm Delta drawl I was raised around. Things here, while still Southern, are very blunt and twangy (and rather grating).

I tend to very much like a Scottish (or, as a cheap stand-in, Irish) accent; this is prolly a throwback from my childhood where those with the brogue were fondly-regarded men and MANLY men, at that.

I like the midwestern accent; they tend to draw out the I and the A the way that we Southerin Fokes do, but there is a clipped nature to other aspects of their speech.

You make me want to be ashamed to admit that I have a proclivity to twitch in my jeans where a Massachussetts accent is concerned. This prolly has more to do with misplaced affections for a Catholic boy or two with the aforementioned accent rather than the accent itself. Still, however, it whips m'head around.

Can't-stands include no accent atall (what are you, a fucking ROBOT?) because this says to me that you either have something to hide or your past/roots have no meaning to you, and Brooklynite nasal-screechiness.

Posted by: Jett on May 3, 2003 01:56 PM

Grew up in rural South Dakota, and have a typical midwestern accent. But the longer I live in Minneapolis, the more traces of the "Fargo" accent I pick up, Yaa Knowww.

Posted by: Keith on May 4, 2003 10:51 AM

Man, everytime I hear a Southern accent I have mixed feelings. If' it's a guy, I find it a turn on, if it's a girl, I just want to slap her. I grew up on the Canadian prairies, where guys speak with the Canuck accent, which I can say is cute and innocent. W'sup? Zarite, whooja think gonna win? L8er.

Posted by: TYLER on August 22, 2003 12:53 PM

My people are very colorful and talented

But they have this Mild-British accent
(deap-British in the county) with a southern dialect. our speech though has no draw what so ever, infact we talk kina fast. I had theis teacher of Indiana, she said that the people of "Delmarva",( which is ware im at) wher " so hard to understan" at first when she moved here.... Whell thats my insite, m'just fiiling yall in on the cout a accents and such.( think of it as a... Bristish with southern words-no drawl accent)

Posted by: KIDD on October 15, 2003 11:22 PM


Posted by: KIDD on October 15, 2003 11:25 PM

I have mostly a Mid-Western accent and proud of it!

The one accent that really makes me want to choke the hell out of the person who is using it is southern. It's lucky I haven't killed anyone yet considering the fact that I live in Birmingham. I'm not talking about every person in general, only those ass holes who think it's cool to use things such as double negatives. And to any Turner South Rick and Bubba fans out there........I'M TALKING TO YOU!!! How can you people stand to listen to that crap??? The 2 sexiest fat men alive....GOOD GOD!!! It's no wonder the stats show that Alabama is the fattest state in the nation. At least the southern accents in this state seem to be fading away little by little as more westerners/northerners pour into this state every year from places such as California, Missouri and Illinois. Anyway.....enough about southern accents. I'm about to go insane talking about it.

2 accents I wish I could imitate: Jersey/NYC, British

Posted by: Matt on October 17, 2003 10:27 AM

Im a Midwesterner from NORTHERN Kentucky (dat's right, its not ALL da South!)and i sound mostly like a cross between Chicago and Boston, and I'm proud of it.

The accents that sound like music to my earz are Chicago, Ohio (Columbus ta Cleveland), Wisconsin, and Boston Urban.

I hate the following accents and lingos with a PASSION: Kentucky, southern Indiana, Appalachia, the entire South, and Texas. Anytime I hear one of these people i think i feel my ears bleeding. Its just da most god-awful and poor excuse for a language ever, and i instantly think "redneck" "hick". I want ta strangle them before i lose my hearing.

Posted by: RYAN on November 1, 2003 08:59 PM

hello. I live in central wisconsin, but i dont think i have an wisconsin people have accents? i really dont think so...most people on tv talk like i do..... i pronounce my "t"s.... for instance, instead of saying kitty, "kiddy" i say "kitty" so...yeah....what do you all think of wisconsin accents?

Posted by: Gabrielle on May 4, 2004 05:28 PM
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