Speaking Like An American


[YouTube - Link]
Ever wonder how the rest of the world view Americans and our accent? Here's an English girl named Joanna Grace recording a short video clip of herself talking as an American.

If you find that intriguing, Urlesque has nine more such clips of non-Americans speaking "American," including various accents like the southern drawl and valley girl.

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by naturalghost.

Update 3/3/09 by Alex: If you like that, check out Amy Walker talking in 21 accents of English.

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The "Americar" sounds like really awful New York to me. (Actually, most New Yorkers I've encountered are actually from various European countries; the "typical" accents must be endemic to smaller neighborhoods without much influx from outside.)

The "A"s spoken through the nose are very New Jersey; I just cringe every time I hear that!

I caught some very "round" "O"s that sound very Wisconsin or Minnesota. Since my parents are from Milwaukee, I grew up with a slight Midwestern accent despite having lived my whole life in New Jersey (I do an excellent Mr. Rogers impression). I NEVER say my "A"s through my nose! My students often assume that I must, therefore, be Canadian. If I lived in Wisconsin, students there would assume otherwise, since they'd actually know some Canadian accents (and they'd probably perceive me as a surprisingly intelligible New Jerseyan, assuming they had any idea of New Jersey accents).

Anyway, Miss Grace's "American" accent is difficult to pin down to one specific location, just as mine is. She could easily fool most Brits with it, I think, and probably many United Statesians --- but nobody would be able to hear her and say, "Hey, you must be from Minnesota, enso?" because it contains elements from widely disparate regions.

I love when an occasional student feels they've mastered "the" British accent (oh, there's just one?) and decide to try to trick the entire class into thinking that they're actually British and have been using "the" American accent (oh, there's just one?) all this time. When it's really time to get back to work and they won't let it rest, I'll pop their bubble by saying, "British, ay? What's the last letter of the alphabet?"

In the immortal words of Sgt. Bilko, "Don't think of it as losing; think of it as a learning experience."
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She didn't fool me or any of my friends. We could easily tell she was not American, but she's still better at faking the accent than I am at pretending to be British! I was on vacation in London for a week and I tried to fake the accent, but people kept on looking at me like I grew horns.
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