Dan   Monday, July 19, 2004, 01:15 GMT

I'm really interested in learning the california accent, could somebody help me with some examples, C

Is it true that the standard american accent is the californian one?
CalifJim   Monday, July 19, 2004, 05:51 GMT
The so-called Standard American accent is that of Chicago in the 1930's. They were supposedly the first to broadcast radio, and that's supposed to have something to do with it.

The Californian accent is not very different from the Standard American accent. Composed of people from all over, the population speaks with a mix of accents, but local television and radio broadcasts are fairly "standard". Only recent arrivals from other parts of the country which have distinct accents speak a noticeably different English.

No one speaking Standard American English in California would be noticed as speaking particularly different from the native Californians.

As with many varieties of American English, it is the pronunciation of "au" in words like "author" that varies. Some Californians make no distinction between "cot" and "caught", for example. Many make a distinction, but not as pronounced a difference as is made in the eastern U.S.

Not too exciting, really. Learn Standard American English, and soften the "au" sounds, and you'll sound just like a Californian. By "soften", I mean don't pronounce them as strongly as the British or New Yorkers. You can accomplish this by not rounding your lips as much. This brings the "au" sound a little closer to the short 'o' in "cot" without matching the vowel exactly.
Damian   Monday, July 19, 2004, 06:41 GMT
Often when I see TV news reports from California on various incidents, when local people are being interviewed, they obviously have an American accent (or what sounds to me to be American) but with a distinct "foreign" strain running through it. I use the word foreign because I can't think of another suitable word but I guess you know what I mean. I would think that that is due to the Spanish speaking influence and/or the general wide ethnic nature of the population of California, with people from all over as Calif Jim mentions. I notice the same with regard to Florida, where the influence is even stronger. It's early morning and I can't think of the word used over there for the strong Spanish speaking please! It's on the tip of my tongue...... !
Ben   Monday, July 19, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Hispanic, maybe?

The newscasters you were talking about probably grew up in Mexican or Hispanic households, meaning that while they may not speak English with different phonetics, they probably have retained some of the rhythm and musicality of the language their parents spoke.
Random Chappie   Monday, July 19, 2004, 18:29 GMT
I'm currently living in California and the accents I hear most often are...
1. Chinese, including Taiwanese, Cantonese, and Mainland Chinese
2. Mexican
3. Indian
4. "He was like...she was like...dude...whatever"
5. General American
6. Vietnamese
7. Russian

There goes.
Julian   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 01:24 GMT
In my neighborhood of North Hollywood (NoHo), the accents I hear most often are

1. Latino
2. Armenian
3. Surfer dude / Valley girl
4. General American
5. Filipino
6. Urban / African-American vernacular (regardless of race)
7. East Coast Jewish
8. Other

But if you drive south five miles to the more affluent surburbs of Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Encino, there's a sharp increase in Surfer / Valley, GenAm, Jewish, Russian, and Persian accents, and a decline in Latino and Urban.
Carmen   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 01:27 GMT
America is trully the UN and Cali is the most important example
Jeff   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 02:43 GMT
I got a question,
When y'all refer to mexican accent, for example,
are you talking about americans with mexican parents ,
or immigrants from mexico?
CalifJim   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 03:19 GMT
Both Mexican-Americans and immigrants from Mexico.
Some Mexican-Americans speak Standard American English.
Some (second and third generation Americans) know very little Spanish, but speak English with an ever so slight Mexican accent, probably picked up from the community they live in or grew up in.
Others (even second and third generation Americans) barely know any English.
It is truly a mix.
Pat   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 06:36 GMT
<<<Often when I see TV news reports from California on various incidents, when local people are being interviewed, they obviously have an American accent (or what sounds to me to be American) but with a distinct "foreign" strain running through it>>

Well, frankly thats becuase if there is a place in the world full of foreigners, this is it. Thats not meant as a negative commentary, just answering your question.
Kalifornia   Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 22:21 GMT
In California ''cot'' and ''caught'' are pronounced the same. They are pronounced ''kaht''.
VW   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 02:07 GMT
Some of the people I meet from California (mostly younger people) seem to almost sound sing-songy (I hesitate to invoke the valley girl or surfer stereotype but there is a little bit to that style of speaking that seems to have remained in some people I've met). Interesting that CalifJim mentioned the California accent was the Chicago accent of the 1930's, what happened to the Chicago accent between now and then, did it get sick of the winters and move west?
CalifJim   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 04:01 GMT
<In California ''cot'' and ''caught'' are pronounced the same. They are pronounced ''kaht''.>

This doesn't apply to all Californians. But the California "au" is not the same as the New York "au" by any means, if that's what you wish to call attention to.

Side issue: It's amazing the number of people who claim they CANNOT say the "aw" in "taught", and when you listen to them carefully, they use the sound all the time! Can they not hear the difference or is there a psychological reason behind their refusal to admit it?!
Dan   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 05:08 GMT
What about matter and madder, there's a different in the a sound like in california?
Dulcinea del Toboso   Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 05:27 GMT
Well, I was born in California? When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, it seemed there was no difference in my California speech and the speech of those in Oregon and Washington? However, as time went on, I acquired the speech of this region? Then, listening to Californians, I noticed that they did speak differently, but at first it was hard to realize and describe just what was different?