Well I don’t think there is ‘one’ American accent. Similarly to accents in the UK, they vary depending on where people are or where they originally are from. I like American accents though. I tend to like accents generally though. It is that point of difference.
I find the Californian accent way too annoying.
Seriously, the time it takes for them to say one sentence, I can usually fit in three. It’s just,,, hurry up and say what you wanna say old bean. Not very cricket, what. Not fitting at all. One must not mumble.
When I have heard British people sort of mocking Americans it usually is done in a southern accent.
I’m not sure about how they really perceive our accent, but if you go by Top Gear they definitely think Americans are fat. The two episodes I have seen they visited the American south. They made fun of how people spoke once or twice.
Unless I miss my guess, our most distinctive accents actually draw from Great British immigrants.
What do they think of their own slough of accents? I hear tell one can’t get from one end of London to another without passing through a half-dozen different kinds.
@Nullo Personally, I love the variety of accents we have within the UK – it’s fabulous in such a small country to be able to pinpoint quite accurately which patch someone hails from. Some are sing-songy, some are very formal sounding, some add in lots of additional unnecessary words, some can sound quite harsh. I can’t think of one UK accent that directly compares to an American one off the top of my head though…
@Harold I think it is very likely she did not understand you, I highly doubt she purposely acted like she couldn’t when she could. An amazing amount of Americans won’t stop and really listen to someone with an accent, and take the time to concentrate and decipher what is being said if it sounds foreign. Most British accents Americans can understand, fewer Americans know the different words used by the Brits. For instance lift vs. elevator, flat vs. apartment, mad vs. crazy, etc.
I dated a guy from Newcastle (talk about an accent!) We met in the south and he had an awful time understanding folks with that drawl. We took a trip up to Boston’s north shore and it was much easier for him. The accent people in my hometown is so distinct, I heard someone talking in Florida and new she had to be from there, and she was.
@harple Did all of those accents grow up in the city, or are they imports that settled there?
The Appalachian accent, for example, is largely a blend of Scottish and Irish, with some Welsh thrown in for flavor. Blending would make direct comparisons difficult.
@Nullo We have so many influences here, normans, romans, celts etc etc, goodness knows where our accents originate from. You mention the Appalacian accent being a blend of Scottish, Irish and some Welsh… but the accents in those three countries vary so much within them. Wales has two VERY distinct accents (aside from all the variations beyond that) for example.
@JLeslie – You may be correct, but I figure if I can understand someone else’s accent, they should make an effort to understand me. As to UK accents, I don’t find them particularly hard to understand. Scottish is more difficult.
@Harold This is a generalization, but what I find is people who live in places with many accents are more likely to be patient and listen more attentively to a foreign accent. My statistics professor had a string Indian accent, but I had no trouble understanding him. A lot of people in my class complained about his accent, and said they could not always understand him. They usually were from small towns, and rarely exposed to anyone who was dissimilar to them. Someone living in the American deep south, in a small town, with a strong southern drawl, who speaks very slowly, might have trouble with an English accent, they have trouble with some American accents. And, vice a versa for that matter. My husband had to print up a list of what not to say for his staff who answers the 800 line, because people calling in from other parts of the country would not necessarily understand what they are saying.
I do agree with you, everyone should make an effort. I also agree generally Scottish is more difficult.
@Harold If you put a single dash (-) before and after what you write with no space it will put a line/strike through your sentence. Double dash will give you the small font.
Well, I don’t find many people difficult to understand, I am pretty good with accents. I don’t have trouble understanding Australians except when they use some native to Australia expressions I am not familar with, but their accent I don’t find to be a problem at all.
All over the world typically the biggest factor in understanding each other in ones own language is social class, but not always.