Question to UK citizens
I've been wondering--do you think American accents, in general, are pleasant?
I suspect that the average UK citizen might find American accents unpleasant, either because they're too cloying, too nasal, or in the case of Southern varieties, too "country".
What do you think? Be blunt; an honest opinion is requested.
too cloying? that's the last thing I would associate with an American accent.
too much loudness, too much arrogance, and too much plainess are the characteristics of an American accent. Sad but true. This is my honest opinion! I will not put them as classy, sexy, and mellifluous sounding.
I carry some pain killers in my bag, whenever I visit the USA.
The average Brit is nowhere near as enamoured of the general American accent as the average American appears to be of the British accent - by that I mean the Standard English English RP type accent - probably the only one most Americans have in mind when they think of that mystical thing - the British accent. I'm afraid that's true - I reckon that a British person who is madly in love with an American accent is a pretty rare being.
Personally I find some Americans really do sound quite nice when they speak - it depends on so many factors. If it's softly delivered with not too much rhoticism, and, especially, not blasted at you at top decibel rating, then I like it quite a lot. There really are some nicely spoken Americans who are pleasant to listen to. I know - I've met them. Such included a couple (man and woman) from Seattle who stopped me once to ask for directions to the Greyfriars Bobby church and then insisted that we chat a bit longer because they freely admitted they could listen to the local Scottish accent for hours on end.....I couldn't spare them that much time but it was long enough for me to quite like the way they spoke, so it was even Stephens. They really were lovely people.
On the other hand a lot of Americans do sound loud and quite dreich (but a lot of Brits with some of our regional accents sound equally awful). I find that a lot of American girls sound pretty awful - sorry to be sexist but you asked for candid opinions. Loud again and many seem to swallow some of their word endings and they can't seem to get their words out quickly enough. On the whole I prefer the voices of American men to those of the women.
So did a local Scottish guy on the top deck of an Edinburgh bus late one night when I was on my way home. Sitting at the back of the bus was an American couple - man and woman - and both were speaking so loudly the whole bus could hear them - lower deck as well, no doubt. The woman was much more strident and loud than the guy. It was pretty dire. Anyway as the bus approached this Scottish guy's stop he got up and before he got to the stairs to the lower deck he looked directly back at the Americans and said: "You ought to speak up a wee bit - they cannae quite hear you in Kirkcaldy". Kirkcaldy is a town right over on the other side of the Firth of Forth.
I know it was being rude to tourists but that incident highlights what I've just said more or less about what many people here feel about American accents generally. Also the Scottish guy was probably on his way home from the pub.
I would say though that I'd much rather hear Americans talking than some Brits talking in their own local accents.
I'd agree with most of the points above.
Can anyone tell me where Loyd Grossman got his accent from? Now that's a freaky accent.
We don't talk louder than anyone else. I swear, it's the wierdest misconception. Then again, people are always telling me (personally) that I have a super mellow voice. It's a family trait. My great grandmother can hear everyone just fine except for my sister and I. she says our voices don't register in her ears. She always has to put on her hearing aids. Its kind of sad.
<<So did a local Scottish guy on the top deck of an Edinburgh bus late one night when I was on my way home. Sitting at the back of the bus was an American couple - man and woman - and both were speaking so loudly the whole bus could hear them - lower deck as well, no doubt. The woman was much more strident and loud than the guy. It was pretty dire. Anyway as the bus approached this Scottish guy's stop he got up and before he got to the stairs to the lower deck he looked directly back at the Americans and said: "You ought to speak up a wee bit - they cannae quite hear you in Kirkcaldy". Kirkcaldy is a town right over on the other side of the Firth of Forth.>>
Wasn't it you, Damian? :-)
(Sorry, I couldn't resist that. :-))
I LOVE American accents on women particularly Mid-western and southern. American's being loud is a stereotype, but stereotypes tend to have a degree of truth to them. Heard a couple of New Yorkers (women), taking the piss out of the train announcements, and they were speaking quite loudly.
What I find funny though is that on other boards, American men often state that they dislike English men but like English women; and conversely American women state that they like English men but dislike English women, another stereotype I know, but one I've seen repeated many times.
Anyway you've picked a funny time to ask that question, with global perception of America, at an all time low; ask that question a few years after Bush has left and you may find that more people like Americans, i.e. this question is highly subjective.
I must admit that I'm surprised that we are perceived as loud; that's something I wasn't expecting.
<chuckle> I can honestly say I don't have that fault; people are constantly asking me to "speak up" because my volume is so low. No joke.
However, the question was really about the "accent", not the volume.
I sort of dislike the nasal aspect of the American accents I have encountered except one... I remembered he was from New Hampshire. Strange thing he had a sort of hybird of both accents (well it was closer to American). But sounded quite pleasant.
I think East Coast people tend to be louder than other Americans, and they are probably more likely to be the type of Americans that Europeans tend to encounter. I don't know -- does anyone have any stats on where most American tourists originally came from?
my dad visisted usa, he told me that he found californians as the best American people in terms of politness, personal behaviour and helpfulness. And he found people in NY/NJ area extremely rude who did not even bother to answer back to your greetings.
***Can anyone tell me where Loyd Grossman got his accent from? Now that's a freaky accent***
Loyd Grossman's current accent has been closely analysed and identified as being that of the area around 42 degrees N 45 degrees W. He was born in Marble Head, Boston, MA, so he pretty well had a good headstart in adopting his weird Mid Atlantic twang. He was half way there before he even left his home shores. I quite like listening to him - his half English/half American accent is strangely compelling. I believe he lives in the Thames Valley somewhere.
Nonsense about the East Coast being louder than the WC or Americans being louder than people in the UK or elsewhere. In fact, East Coast accents are less rhotic and probably less grating to UKers than those on the West Coast. It's inconsequential either way. People that don't like American accents don't like Americans and most people in the UK don't like Americans. It's sad and based on bigotry, but it's true. Eventually, it will be reciprocated.
***Wasn't it you, Damian? :-)
(Sorry, I couldn't resist that. :-)) ***
You're another cheeky wee lassie! :-)
Definitely, irrefutably NOT me - I would never be so boldly rude to complete strangers.......to my best mates yes, but not to total strangers. :-) I got off the bus a couple of stops or so after my slightly blootered countryman and I could not bring myelf to look at the two Americans in the face - just a tad embarrassed. Anyway, the local guy had a pretty strong accent and maybe the Americans didn't have a clue what he said to them, or maybe they continued to talk so loudly together they didn't even hear him. Hee hee!