I'm starting a thread about English accents! Not just native English accents, by the way, but also accents of people from non-English speaking countries.
So, what kind of accent do you speak with? Do you like your accent? What kinds of accents do you like or dislike?
I myself speak with a Welsh, Irish and Scottish mixed accent. It's rhotic and has the velar fricative in ''loch'' /lQx/.
So anyway, what about you? And remember, everyone has an accent!
Speak - Australian English with probably a general accent
Like - Boston, NY, Irish, Glaswegian
Dislike - some southern US accents, something like Viriginia maybe, Northern Irish
I have your ordinary run-of-the-mill non-regional American accent. I can't say that I have an opinion on whether I like it or not -- it's mine and I'm stuck with it, I suppose, so no point in getting all worked up either way.
I like most accents on the right people -- even Damian's could-you-repeat-that-in-English-please? Scottish eccentricities ;)
I like Australian, Irish, Scottish, and South African on anybody, but I generally dislike Southern US in men and honking Brooklyn/Bronx/Queens in women. Ambivalent about English. No idea what Welsh sounds like.
I'm a native speaker of North American English. To be more specific my dialect is Californian. I'm perfectly happy with it (what can I say? it's natural to me...like Uriel said). Being interested in phonology, dialectology and linguistics in general I think all accents are interesting, and truly feel annoying accents aren't necessarily an accent-wide thing but can be chalked up to individuals (if I think of an accent I across the board don't like I'll make an addendum to this message). For instance I think that even tho Fran Drescher's accent does annoy me, it's more Fran Drescher herself than her actual accent. I've heard similar accents from other people that didn't annoy me :) But regardless I still think even a less esthetically pleasing accent is very interesting to me linguistically.
I personally think ol' Fran's hamming it up a little -- she wasn't that obnoxious in This Is Spinal Tap.
<<I personally think ol' Fran's hamming it up a little -- she wasn't that obnoxious in This Is Spinal Tap.>>
Yeah I was thinking of that too. It wasn't as annoying in "This is Spinal Tap" from what I remember. She's probably been typecast with that type of accent she had in "The Nanny" as she's had it in more of her recent stuff.
Not to mention her in Saturday Night Fever.
What do you think prompts people to decide that they "like" or "dislike" a particular accent? Sound quality only, association with someone that you admire or find attractive (or despise and find unattractive), history, politics, what?
<<What do you think prompts people to decide that they "like" or "dislike" a particular accent? Sound quality only, association with someone that you admire or find attractive (or despise and find unattractive), history, politics, what?>>
I think most of it is actually the people who speak it, and the inevitable associations (whether true or not) of their accent with their character. For instance, it's no coincidence that dialects spoken in rural areas are often seen as "backwards" or "incorrect" by the city dwellers of the world. The city dwellers are the ones with power and prestige. At best rural dialects may be considered "rustic" or even "genuine" but the same people who in theory find them charming wouldn't likely find them suitable or preferable for professional purposes.
For Americans a Southern accent is probably most stigmatized on a national level, and while people may truly believe they don't like it for esthetic reasons only, you'd think that if people judged on esthetic reasons only that there'd be much more variation in terms of the accents Americans dislike the most. Obviously, in the case of American accents, a Southern accent is often inextricably linked with negative stereotypes of Southerners.
A good example of this phenomenon may be found in people removed from a sociolinguistic context. Studies have shown that many Americans typically perceive RP British English and Cockney English as being equally pleasing to the ear and generally esthetically pleasing. Of course the average American is naturally not immersed in the sociolinguistic context of dialects spoken thousands of miles away, so while they can tell it's a British accent, they're often far removed of the sociolinguistic baggage and/or prestige each British accent carries. While Americans may find a Cockney accent pleasing or be neutral on it, it obviously carries a much different social status in the context of England.
The same has been found in the reverse situation. The typical British person is not necessarily fully aware of which American accents are stigmatized in the American context. They may perceive a rural Southern US accent and, say, a Pacific Northwest accent as having a few differences, but may not be aware of the associated social statuses associated with each one.
In short, I do believe sheer esthetics may play a role in someone liking or not liking an accent, but I believe most people are unaware of just how powerful sociolinguistic phenomena (stereotypes, associations, etc.) are in shaping people's preferences for certain accents.
Kirk - I agree, a social class stigimatisation affects how someone views an accent. I think that is the reason for me not liking some southern US accents, yet at the same time I do like some people speaking with such accents - eg Dr Phil, I love the way he talks (but that might be just because I like Dr Phil as a person on TV).
Mannix - here is my website if you are interested in hearing my voice: http://www.geocities.com/fkosovel
Only the eastern half of Texas is really Southern. I guess I've heard him talk and never noticed his accent.