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Regional Dialects of American English
Transcript of Regional Dialects of American English
Pacific Northwest Dialect
Like the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest dialect is very neutral and is not considered to be one of the distinct sub-accents in the United States.
The dialect dates back to colonial expansion prior to the Oregon Treaty, when the area was considered single and unified.
The culture and linguistic features spread northward into Alaska during the Gold Rush of 1897.
Origin of the potluck; more influence from Native American words & languages
Pacific Southwest Dialect
Also known as "California English"
Much of the area was settled during the Gold Rush which contributed to some of the slang, including "pan out" and "goner"
Speakers from the Midwest and South converged during the Gold Rush to form the Pacific Southwest Dialect.
American Southern Dialect
NYC Area Dialect
Northern New England Dialect
Rocky Mountain Dialect
The Southwestern Dialect is influenced by Mexican dialects of Spanish.
Words such as "patio" and "plaza" originated from the Southwest Dialect
The Southwest region is a "melting pot" of other dialects.
The North-Midland dialect is considered to be one of the most neutral or least-accented regions in the United States.
During the time when many immigrants moved to America from Europe, the upper Midwest was settled by a large number of Scandinavians.
Cot-caught merger transition:
Some areas in the North-Midland region are undergoing a merger of the vowel sounds in "cot" and "caught", a process which is complete in roughly half of the United States.
The American Southern Dialect is one of the most well-known and distinguishable in the United States.
A carbonated drink is referred to as "soda" and "Coke" is a generalized term for all of those.
Characteristics include: R-dropping (ex. "they going to the store", "you staying home"), a-...'in (a hootin' and a hollerin'), use of "yonder" (she went down yonder), y'all as a 2nd person plural pronoun, use of "done" as an auxiliary verb
In some areas of Southern Appalachia, an "n" is added to some pronouns indicative of "one", for instance "her'n" instead of "her one"
An extra "r" in some words' pronunciations, such as "warsh" instead of "wash"
People within the area pronounce "Appalachia" with a short -a- in the 3rd syllable, while people outside the area pronounce it with a long -a-
The Philadelphia dialect is considered by many to be one of the hardest accents to mimic.
The Philadelphia area has been resistant to the caught-cot merger that was discussed earlier.
The words "Mary", "marry", and "merry" all sound different from each other.
Sandwiches commonly called "sub sandwiches" in other regions of the US are referred to as "hoagies" in the Philadelphia region
There are many variations of the NYC Area Dialect. This is largely due to the diverse flow of immigrants into the area during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Words that end in "r" are not pronounced with the "r" on the end in this dialect.
The "g" at the end of "-ing" isn't often pronounced either.
Common terms include "n'at" (and that), "slippy" (slippery), and "house", "found", and "down" being pronounced with the "ah" sound instead of the "ow" sound
Like many Northerners, a carbonated drink is referred to as "pop"
This dialect is commonly referred to as a Boston accent or a Maine accent.
A characteristic of this dialect is the broadening of the letter A, for instance "car keys" and "khakis" are pronounced the same.
The "g" in words ending in -ing is often dropped.
When settlers came to the area from Europe, their dialect of English evolved and they eventually began dropping R's in their pronunciations. While this is common in modern British English, it was not at the time, and the Boston accent evolved individually.
This accent is most closely associated with Chicago.
Some people may pronounce "awt" and "oht" sounds with extra L's in them (ex. both >> bolth)
Carbonated soft drinks are referred to as pop, except in the far eastern areas of the dialect where it is called soda
This dialect is a result of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (different pronunciations of vowels in the Great Lakes Region, so that the names "Ian" and "Ann" sound the same. Such vowel shifts occur without people even noticing them).
There isn't a distinct boundary between the Upper Midwest Dialect and the North-Midland Dialect, so the areas between the two don't have distinguishable differences.
This dialect is also considered very neutral, but does have some vocabulary & grammar differences from other regions.
Speakers say "Do you want to come with?" instead of "Do you want to come with us?" This is in part due to influences from other Germanic languages spoken by a large number of immigrants to the area including German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Dutch. All of these languages have a similar grammatical structure and it was adopted into English as well.
Many of the words in this dialect originally came from Spanish, cowboy slang, or Native American words.
It was originally developed from the North Midland and Northern dialects, and was later influenced by English coal miners and Mormon settlers.
Influences on Dialects
A major factor in the individual development of regional American dialects is the European settlers that moved there.
A large number of speakers of Germanic languages (Germans, English, Norwegians, Swedes, Dutch) settled in the Upper Midwest, which influenced some of their grammar.
The East & Northeast has the greatest variation in dialects, because that is where the majority of immigrants from Europe settled in the 19th and 20th centuries.
by Rachael Brady
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Thanks to Kmill & his limitless wealth of knowledge