Accents (in English)

A while ago, this whole “Accent Vlog” thing was all the rage in Bloglandia. Nowadays, not so much. Nevertheless, I could not resist the temptation to make a little vlog (God, what a pretentious sounding word!) about it.

The instructions are to say these words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And answer these questions:

  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?
  • What do you drink water out of at school?
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23 comments

  1. I would tell you you can’t speak Spanish but I missed that last part… But, I thought it was strange you called it a grocery cart! lol Makes sense when I heard it but I’ve always called it a shopping cart. I also say pop and homies and couldn’t think of a word for the rain while the sun’s shining. I detected a distinct Western accent. ;) j/k

  2. We say most things the same – although I do say “shopping cart” haha. I feel like your accent is very similar to the one I have – which in my opinion is sort of an absence of an accent!

  3. This is interesting because when talking your accent is neutral (for me as a Canadian)… but then when you start reading the list you sound sooo American! (Not any particular American accent since I don’t know them all). Us Canadians can’t usually hear our own accent but since I’ve moved away I can really, really notice it. (We all sound like hockey players).

  4. You have a cute accent in Spanish! and well, I don’t know a lot about American accents… so I have no clue =) but it is something very difficult for non-native speakers like me who try to get a good native-like accent…

  5. Oh man! You totally don’t sound like you’re from California. I’d say somewhere in the midwest. It’s so weird to hear your talking voice (but in a good way). I like your response to “What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?” because I was thinking the same thing! I was like, maybe we don’t have a name for it because that never happens in CA? Then I thought maybe it was a spring shower? But I’m not really sure what a spring shower is so…. haha. I quite enjoyed this post.

      1. Yeah I grew up in southern California. We moved there when I was 5. But my parents are from Chicago, and every now and then I’d say an expression that was lost on my born and raised Californian friends, haha.

  6. Sooo I thought I’d make one too because it’s cool! I’m really interested in dialects so I love discovering differences among speakers from different areas. I don’t think I have a really strong Philly accent like a lot of my friends do, but you can be the judge!

    I definitely hear a midwest accent in your English! Also, you’re accent en español isn’t your typical guiri/gringo speaking Spanish para nada in my opinion; you can definitely tell you’ve lived/studied in Spain. You have a good accent!

    Here’s the link:

  7. “What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?”
    —> In the South of the United States, they say “the devil is beating his wife” when it is both sunny and raining. (I am from New England, but have lived in Washington, DC for 15 years and learned this expression while living here.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshower#Devils

    When I was growing up, we called it a “sunshower.”

  8. The accent of young people in the Midwest isn’t very different from most other young people in the US, aside from pockets of the country that have stronger, more specific regional differences. Also, traits from California English tend to get spread around faster because so much media (esp. reality shows now) are made in California with and by Californians. That’s why your parents have maintained more of their differences, and why you haven’t picked them up (Accents on TV in our parents’ generation(s) were intentionally more controlled and neutral, and therefore kind of fake — that’s why we make jokes about the way people talked on TV in the 50s and 60s). So that’s also why the Californians reading (myself included) feel like you speak “normally” (though of course that word is relative, and it’s why the Canadian reader picked up on the “American” accent so quickly).

    Another factor is that poorer and less formally educated people tend to maintain regional accents for a few different reasons (including lack of exposure and identity) and since you’re college educated and not poor, your English is more “neutrally” American. I’ll bet that there are some more rural parts of Indiana that have more specific Midwestern dialects.

    I hope that was more helpful and interesting than it was ….kill-joy-ing. Haha :)

    1. No, not joy killing at all! I find linguistics fascinating and I like it even more when it relates to something I’ve posted and/or experienced. All of what you’ve said makes a lot of sense.

  9. This is my first time coming across your blog and I LOVE it! I am originally from Southern California and studied abroad in Barcelona in college (1998 yikes!). I have been back 3 times since and my husband and I eventually want to buy a flat somewhere in Spain. I love reading about all of your travels! So glad I came across your blog. Thanks!

    BTW I said every word the same as you except caramel…I always pronounce it carmel. ;)

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