The Happy Feminist

Godfather, my guess is that you're from Connecticut . . .

Miss Prism, like most all Americans, I like a nice English or Scottish accent. The only one I don't really like was the accent of the guy who won the last season of the Apprentice (don't know if that aired in Britain). It sounded like he was spitting out all his words, a little like Robin Leach. But strangely, the Apprentice guy's accent grew on me when it emerged that he had a fairly decent personality.


My Dad told me a story sort of similar to the "get lead" story above. He was taking a standardized test at some point in time, and a woman ahead of him needed an eraser. But being from the UK, she raised her hand and asked, "Does anyone have a rubber?" Clearly, finding this amusing is infantile of me. :-)

My mom has tried to lose her southern accent for 40+ years now, to no avail. Especially when she's mad.

A Pang

I wish there was a Canadian one! Oh well. Just for the heck of it:

55% General American English
20% Dixie
10% Yankee
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern

And an easy class is called a "bird course".


I've just realised there is a recording of my accent in this Flash movie. OK, I'm certainly hamming it up, but it's scarily close to the real one.

http://eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php if anyone cares.
Silly song, but entirely safe for work.


A Pang, I'm also Canadian and I got exactly the same results you did. I had problems with picking the term for an easy course: I've heard "bird course" my whole life, and that wasn't listed. Although at UBC an easy course is sometimes also called a "jock course", as in Geo101, "Rocks for Jocks", or Bio101, "Jock Lab".


I wish there was a Canadian one!

Ask Canadians to pronounce the word "source" and then ask them to pronounce the word "resource" and then question them on why the "s" turns into a "z."

Also, when did Canadians transform the action of "line up" into a noun?

Language is so intriguing :)

The Happy Feminist

Oh Miss Prism, I wish I had a fun accent like that!

(Emmeline Spankhurts. *belly laugh*)


And mine re-emerges when I go to visit, or even talk with my family on the phone. My college roommate could tell in an instant when I was talking with people back home.

What's most interesting to me about accents, though, is how they shift in people who've lived many different places. It's not only my accent that changes when I'm back home, but the words I use shift, too. "I expect that'll be alright" is something that I never say at home in California, but slips out constantly when I'm in Georgia.

That phenomenon- adjusting your accent according to your audience- is called "accomodation". People do it both consciously & unconsciously- like the occasional pretentious dork who puts on a fakey british accent when addressing someone from England. One of my sociolinguistics professors did a study on accomodation in use by Oprah & Pres. Clinton (where she observed how & when Oprah's speech went "Black" & Clinton's went "Southern", depending on who they were addressing at the time). Interesting stuff.

The Happy Feminist

One English habit I adopted is the saying "Right," when someone asks me to do something in a professional situation. It sounds brisk and efficient sound without being too overtly English.


TangoMan: it gets voiced between two voiced sounds (vowels). This is fairly common in language (lots of languages do it systematically), and in fact is why English has the sound v. (We do other things, like the in- prefix changing the n to m, r, l or ng in front of the right other letters -- impossible, irregular, illegible, incredible (different n sound, like the one in sing or Nguyen)).
Resource (n) has the z sound; re-source (v, to source again) has the s sound. And of course every verb can become a noun and vice versa.

Arwen, I also called them bird courses at McGill. But jock was mostly used for rhyming -- we had a Rocks for Jocks class, but also Clapping for Credit.

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