Social Question

jazzjeppe's avatar

What's the differences between North American dialects?

Asked by jazzjeppe (2266 points ) February 28th, 2010

I know this a big question but I won’t go in to regional dialects. Sometimes you hear people making fun out of the Canadian dialect but I am having a hard time to distinguish between common US dialect and the Canadian. Are there any obvious differences, like in sounds or pronunciation I can listen to?

I am also wondering if the Alaska dialect, if it’s more of a Canadian one?

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6 Answers

funnynerd's avatar

In Minnesota, we emphasize our “o” sounds, like they do in Swedish and Finnish, and we also have long “a” sounds, presumably also similar to the vowel sounds in Northern European languages.

In Canada, it’s common to hear “about” pronounced “aboot”, likely because of Scottish influence.

Sarah Palin sounds like she’s from Minnesota because of the Minnesotans who relocated to Wasilla somewhere around WWll.

The conclusion I would draw from this is that our accents are heavily influenced by who settled where.

marinelife's avatar

The Alaska dialect is not Canadian sounding.

faye's avatar

I’ve never heard ‘aboot’, must be down east.

Seek's avatar

When you’re dealing with such large countries, you really have no choice but to take regional dialects into account. New York talks differently than New Orleans, and Atlanta is a completely different world from Chicago. I’ve never been further west than that, but I’m sure Houston is a world apart from Seattle.

Jeruba's avatar

This is a huge question and one that would be very hard to answer in writing. The speech of people in some parts of the U.S. is virtually unintelligible to people in other parts, both in terms of accent and with the use of strictly regional expressions. Some think the speech of certain regions sounds ridiculous. Yet it all comes under the heading of American English. Not many of us speak like the characters and announcers on American television. Put someone from New Jersey, someone from South Carolina, someone from Maine, and someone from Iowa in the same room, and you’ll hear a difference, all right. And Canadian English, of course, has traits of its own.

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