Minnesotan Accents (midwest usa)

Julian   Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 02:54 GMT

The confusion lies in your source material.

The Northeast accent was the standard American accent five decades ago, when the population center and the intelligentsia were in the Northeast. Many film, television, and radio personalities of the era were trained in this manner of speaking. When the population center shifted west over the years, so too did our accent. Now the standard is based on the North central (or Upper Midwest) dialect.

In the passage that you’ve quoted, Ms. Dauer states that the accent is based on that of college-educated speakers from the Northeast; that may be so, but nowhere does she claim that this is the American standard. She misleads you into thinking that it is by asserting that the accent is "typically used on national television and radio news programs," but that’s a rather ambiguous statement – the New York accent is "typically" used on television and radio, the Midwestern accent is "typically" used on television and radio, and so is the Southern accent, the California accent, et. al. "Typically" does not measure the "frequency," the "regularity," nor the "commonality" of the accent’s use.

She then goes on to say that the Northeast accent "corresponds to the pronunciation in current American English dictionaries," implying that if it’s in the dictionary then it must be correct. What she neglects to say is that in most American English dictionaries, when a word has multiple regional pronunciations, all accepted pronunciations are listed.

Ms. Dauer seems to me to be one of those East Coast, Ivy League snobs, who refuse to believe that their standard English has been displaced. She is like the RP English zealots who whine about the rising threat of Estuary English. Just take a look at the title of her book: "Accurate English: A Complete Course in Pronunciation." Who is she to say what accurate English is?