Regional varieties

Frank   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 06:25 GMT
How many regional varieties would you say can be found in American English? Which ones?
Ryan   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 08:00 GMT
That is a tough question to answer. Everyone speaks a little bit differently no matter where you go. Also, perception of different varieties differs based upon where you are from. Southerners claim there are many different regional Southern accents, but I can only tell perhaps two or three of them apart.

However, the ones that I think anyone curious about the United States should be familiar with, though, are:

New England/Boston
New York City area
Philadelphia/Atlantic Coast
Western Pennsylvania
Coastal Virginia/Carolinas
Deep South
New Orleans (different than Cajun)
American Midlands
Great Lakes Region/Chicago/St. Louis
Northern Minnesota/Wisconsin/Dakotas
Far West
California Surfer Talk
African American
Native American

Many of these varieties can be split into more varieties but I could definitely tell the difference between these accents if anyone asked me to distinguish them.
patsd   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 08:05 GMT
<<<<<<<<<<How many regional varieties would you say can be found in American English? Which ones?>>>>>>>>>>

This has been discussed at great length on other threads. However, becuase you asked:

In the most broad scale possible, there are probably 4 main accents. New England, "East-Coast", Southern and "standard." However, I would break each of them down thusly, get out your atlas at this time.

New England is spoken in the New England states which are all north of New York state, in the far north-eastern portion of the country. Now, according to New Englanders, there are about 5 or 6 different accents that they can tell apart but pretty much no one else in the country can.(if they ever gave it a thought in the first place) In my opinion, the New England accent is pretty uniform compared to the others. The differences I believe are basicly what kind of a Canadian accent influence there is in the area, which blends with the traditional Boston "pahhk the cahh in hahhvad yahhhd" accent.

The "East-Coast" features a few well known accents, and everyone can tell the difference in these. This area I am speaking of is also very northern, and goes from New York state, to as far south as about Maryland, and very abrubtly stops there, at about the Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania area. In this area, New York City has its own accent, and so does Philadelphia. One note about New York City; it has at least two different tradional accents in Brooklyn and the Bronx. (Also Long Island, just east of NYC, is slightly different, but in practice I would call it the same as NYC) Becuase this part of the country is relatively small, the New York and Philadelphia accents dominate the entire area to varying degrees, and proximitey to these cities will explain ones accent.

In the south, I think Texas has its own accent, and there seems to be a difference between Dallas(which is a little more upbeat sounding than the rest of the south) Houston (which is different but I cant describe how) and west Texas, which is more of an Old West accent from the movies. And the Atlantic Coast with Geogria and the Carolians have their own accent. The "twangyist" and harshest accent in the south I believe is found in the state of Arkansas. The slowest and most drawn out accents, in general, are in Alabama and Mississippi, which are the essense of the south. The city of New Orleans has its own accent as well.

The standard accent that I mentioned includes the biggest part of the country. The entire Mid-West, and everywhere west of the Rocky Mountains is included in this. This is the general accent that is most heard on TV and the movies.
Now, the standard accent dominates everwhere from the north central farmland to the Pacific coast. The only real variety is found in the upper Mid-West, in the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinios, and Michigan. They are different becuase they have Scandanvian and German roots which just simply had an effect on the English spoken in these areas. These states are different from the rest of the country, but unique from each other also. Illinois is pretty standard except for Chicago and surrounding areas. Chicago has its own accent. Dispite all this, Americans would conisder these places to be far more "general" than any of the southern, New England or Eastern accents previously explored.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 08:45 GMT
You may find the information on this site useful and enjoyable:

That is the home page of the TELSUR project, the atlas of North American English.