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How do accents work

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I can understand the accent when the language you're speaking isn't your native or first language, but why do we all speak different? Why do I sound different than everybody here cuz I grew up two states away, why do americans sound different from you and scots are different than irish and all that. The dictionaries have the same pronounciations so why do we all speak different?
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Language is constantly evolving and changing. From the way it's pronounced, to verb structure and rubbish like that which I don't have a clue about.

    However, they evolve differently in different places. Therefore they become different. They merge a bit as people travel, so you get a 'language' over a large area thats mutually understood (except scotland ;)) but in different areas there are different dialects.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    the way i speak over here would sound really different from someone about 10miles away in belfast.
    My friends Dealer hasa really really strong belfast accent and is a massive chav and he said how you can understand a word he's saying.

    eta: also for somereason (jsut the way they talk), every second thrid and maybe forth work is 'fok' for 'fok-leek'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    we just do. :p

    your accent will also probably change as you move around too. for example if you moved down to london from lincoln you might gradually develop a londoner accent (like my sister!).

    it varies from say county to county or city to city just like in america. only thing is england is much smaller. :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    accent can change and with it it changes your deeper persona
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    \
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If I remember right, accents are the KingofGlasgow's specialist subject.

    I'm sure it's all in the pronunciation of consonants or something like that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    do americans have different accents to each other ooi?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is it just me or are Girls with Geordie or Scouse accents or very very posh accents just totally hot sounding?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    subject13 wrote:
    very very posh accents just totally hot sounding?
    :yes:
    the others :no:
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    The way I see it, our voices can produce many different sounds. We learn these sound by hearing our parents and other people speak when we're little. Many of these sounds are similar but not exactly the same. Each language uses some of these sounds, many (or all) of which aren't used by another.
    When a person speaks a foreign language, they produce a word of that language but use sounds of their own that sound close to the corresponding sound of that language. That's what an accent is; I can't say "ee" in the same way an English person could, I use the closest sound to "ee" that's found in the greek language. Similarly, I can make a couple of sounds that English people can't (that's why they have trouble pronouncing my name, or why I can't pronounce the difference between "leave" and "live").

    Of course, people can learn making the sounds of the foreign language, but it's not as easy as learning its words or grammar. So many of these "accents" aren't the sounds of the person's own language, but partly failed attempts to make the sounds of yours.
    There are people, however, who can learn the sounds (almost) perfectly, and although they're foreign, you'd think they have the same accent as you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's because of Orderly Heterogeneity :yes:

    (possibly!)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's a territorial thing mostly. It's a way of showing identity. I talk differently than people living in surrounding villages, you lot probably wouldn't notice it but the inhabitants do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What's with the influx of white Jamaicans down south?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    subject13 wrote:
    Is it just me or are Girls with Geordie or Scouse accents or very very posh accents just totally hot sounding?

    No, it's not just you at all. All girls in Newcastle are insanely hot and don't have any STDs or crazed ex boyfriends lurking by the swing bridge waiting to slice and dice you with a broken bottle of dog.. :flirt: :thumb:

    I don't know how anyone couldn't love the Geordie accent it's geet canny leik. I'm partial to a Scouse and Manc accent, too. Not one for posh accents on the whole, though.

    It's baffling when you start to think about why we all speak so differently... so I won't bother, it'll make my head hurt.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    subject13 wrote:
    Is it just me or are Girls with Geordie or Scouse accents or very very posh accents just totally hot sounding?

    Scouse and Irish accents are hot!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, accents are basically just 'a way of pronouncing a language'. Thus, since everybody (presumably) talks, everyone has an accent. One of the reasons accents exist is because humans are invariably variable. Because of this inherent variability, accents spring up. Most accents have developed out of historical developments, e.g. Scottish from Old Northumbrian, but they can develop in recent times. E.g. kids of parents who moved to the new town of Milton Keynes developed an accent that wasn't acquired from their parents, but as a development of their own. Turlough is right, in a way, that accents do identify with local areas etc, but some accents don't always mark this, e.g. General American or Received Pronunciation.

    After about the age of 5 most of the 'difficult' phonological issues are acquired, making it more difficult for kids who move from one area to another to acquire the new area's accent. After about 14, it's really very difficult for people to acquire new accents regardless of the amount of exposure to the new accent. As Zalbor's point, this is to do with 'principles and parameters' where what happens is that when a language principle is set (say, the way to pronounce a vowel) it is very difficult to 'un-set' this principle. In French, they have a characteristic /r/ sound which English English doesn't have. Thus, when English kids are growing up their principle for /r/ is set in such a way that when we are exposed to a 'new' /r/ sound (from French, say), it is very difficult for us to 'un-set' our principle and acquire a new phonological or phonetic form. So, um, yeah, hope that helps :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That makes so much sense to me, I feel really clever :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's cause you're doing Eng Lang! lol :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know! And just to show that Sociolinguistics and Phonetics are THE best areas of the subject, I got a 2:1 and a First (respectively) this year for those two, but only a 2:2 and a third for Syntax and Semantics. Oyer.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lol, they are by far the best subjects! I'd have to agree. Congratulations on first for phonetics, that's really good! I'm still not very good at it having only done it for a year and a half, sociolinguistics is my area. If you're interested in sociolinguistics stuff, adolescents in particular, you might have heard of Penelope Eckert (Jocks and Burnouts fame)? I met her at a conference a few weeks ago, and I'm going to Arizona to work with one of her old Ph.D. students! If anyone can appreciate this, it'll be you KHSS :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    :hyper: Lucky thing!
    What was the name of the fake school ... Belten High or something?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've had 4 very different accents!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's the one! That's pretty impressive! If you google Norma Mendoza-Denton, that's who I'll be working with. She did something similar to Eckert, but with gang girls in California. Yo homie! *click*
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In French, they have a characteristic /r/ sound which English English doesn't have. Thus, when English kids are growing up their principle for /r/ is set in such a way that when we are exposed to a 'new' /r/ sound (from French, say), it is very difficult for us to 'un-set' our principle and acquire a new phonological or phonetic form.
    Is that why most people can't roll their r's properly when they speak Spanish? Like, I'm one of like almost nobody on the Peru trip that could do it, they all just said it as a normal r. And in Spain it's like a speech impediment if you can't do it, and they go to speech correction schools and stuff.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Her work looks really interesting. What are you going to be working on with her?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Franki wrote:
    Is that why most people can't roll their r's properly when they speak Spanish? Like, I'm one of like almost nobody on the Peru trip that could do it, they all just said it as a normal r. And in Spain it's like a speech impediment if you can't do it, and they go to speech correction schools and stuff.
    Yeah. In Spanish there are two types of /r/ which correspond to two different meanings, so pero (regular r) is different to pero (trilled r). Phonologically, the two /r/ sounds in Spanish are different. But in English, we don't have this distinction. 'hurry' (regular r) means exactly the same as 'hurry' (trilled r). So, it's more difficult for English speakers to learn the different Spanish system.
    Her work looks really interesting. What are you going to be working on with her?
    Well, I'm working on adolescent language in Glasgow, but no-one in Britain doen linguistic ethnography really. So, I'm going to be learning how to do that. I'm going to try and improve my phonetics knowledge, sociolinguistics knowledge, cover gender as well, and some adolescent language issues. So, a whole bunch of stuff really. I'm actually going to be sitting in on classes again, so it'll be like going back to undergrad! Yay! :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah. In Spanish there are two types of /r/ which correspond to two different meanings, so pero (regular r) is different to pero (trilled r). Phonologically, the two /r/ sounds in Spanish are different. But in English, we don't have this distinction. 'hurry' (regular r) means exactly the same as 'hurry' (trilled r). So, it's more difficult for English speakers to learn the different Spanish system.
    Yeh. Except it would be perro, because pero means but and perro means dog, and you can't really have two things with different meanings spelt the same can you ;p.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's because you're confusing orthography with a phonological representation :p Using the IPA and phonetic transcription you would get two different looking words.

    ETA: this is my attempt in paint and from memory. The first one is with a normal /r/, the second with a trilled /r/
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    my_name wrote:
    I can understand the accent when the language you're speaking isn't your native or first language, but why do we all speak different? Why do I sound different than everybody here cuz I grew up two states away, why do americans sound different from you and scots are different than irish and all that. The dictionaries have the same pronounciations so why do we all speak different?

    want to know what i HATE? i grew up on the south side of chicago so when i went away to school in central IL, EVERYONE said i had a chicago accent but i never heard it. it's interesting.

    where did you grow up?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Minnesota, right by the Iowa border. And everybody laughs at how I pronounce bag and sag and other 3 letter words with a in the middle (with a long a like bagel) *tear*

    Although facinating, whtas been said in this thread, I don't understand a damn bit of it and am still as confused as before :p
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