Regional Accents in American English
SUMMARY OF REGIONAL AMERICAN ENGLISH ACCENTS
There are around 160 recognized dialects of the English language, or regional accents. These terms are often used interchangeably. Even if you’re really into accents, it would probably be impossible to learn them all. Even native speakers can’t understand them all. For example, it’s very difficult for us American English speakers to understand Scottish English speakers!
AMERICAN ENGLISH ACCENTS: THE 4 MOST COMMON ONES
If you travel around the US, you will encounter different American English accents. In this lesson we will look at 4 of the most common accents: Southern, New England, New York City, & Midwestern.
Remember, these are general accent regions. Even within these regions there are smaller subdivision of accents! Hale is from the South so this is the accent he is most familiar with. In this lesson, our English teacher Hale shares clips from American TV shows that feature the US Southern Accent:
-King of the Hill
Next, let’s look at the New England American English accent.
The most famous version is the Boston accent. In this lesson, you can see examples from the video clips:
-Good Will Hunting
New York City is not too far from New England, but the accent is a bit different. Within New York City, there are even distinctive accents in different neighborhoods (Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn). Check out the clips from:
Finally, let’s look at the Midwest. This is often considered where “standard” American English comes from. However, there are variations from speakers in Minnesota and the Dakotas that are definitely something different. Check out the clips in the lesson from the shows and movies:
-Making a Murderer
-Drop Dead Gorgeous
In conclusion, if you want to develop a specific regional accent, you’ll really need to find a teacher from that region or go there to get immersed in the dialect! In general though, it’s not necessary to become an expert in a regional dialect. It’s probably more sensible to learn “standard” American English, which is the accent you hear most news reporters, journalists or other nation-wide broadcasting professionals using.
Pro Tip 1: Understand that there are four major regional dialects in the United States, each with different accents
Pro Tip 2: Learn standard American English, not just one regional accent.
Pro Tip 3: As you advance in your listening skills, if you want a challenge start watching TV shows and movies that feature regional accents.