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Author Topic: Why are UK and US accents so different?  (Read 6665 times)

Freyda

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« on: 12/04/2009 19:30:01 »
Freyda asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I am new to your show and I have become obsessed. I hail from New Orleans and I have downloaded podcasts from back in the day.. for listening while I jog.

One reason that I love the show is that I love to listen to ya'll talk.  I
love your accents, except Phil, I can't understand a word he says (LOL).

My question is about accents. The UK and The US are both english speaking starting with the UK. How and why is the American accent  different from yours, why is the Australian accent so similiar to yours?

Thanks and keep it coming
Freyda Staten DVM

What do you think?


 

Offline DrN

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2009 19:46:38 »
In my opinion, its a reflection on where the originating population came from.

Australia was a British penal colony, so I would guess the accent would have come mainly from British people. From what I understand, a large number of people came from East Anglia, which would explain why the accent and slang is so similar to the Norfolk dialect!! Conversely, the original inhabitants of the US came from all over the place, especially Europe, and I find it interesting to note that many Europeans speak English with a slightly American accent, even when they learned in England.

Also, like anything, language evolves. This includes dialects - and it explains the occurence of regional dialects within the same country. Essentially, when a group of people become isolated from other groups of similar people, their accents, and give them long enough, the actual words they use, will change.
 

Offline graham.d

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #2 on: 12/04/2009 20:13:46 »
Australia has a much smaller population and had people emigrating there from mainly the UK until the second half of the 20th century. The US was established and had a reduced influx from Britain at a much earlier time. Also the countries from which immigration continued was more widespread. There is more in common with Elizabethan English in American speech than there is in current English speech for example. As fishytails says, language changes with time in isolated communities - even though the USA is not totally cut off from the civilised world :-)
 

blakestyger

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #3 on: 12/04/2009 22:31:45 »
Remarkable coincidence about Australia No 1.

They stopped sending convicts out there at the same time they discovered gold. ;D
 

Offline stereologist

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #4 on: 13/04/2009 04:38:00 »
The American accent in Europe is due to American 'propaganda' in the form of movies and television.

English spoke in different places has its own unique sounds. Within the UK there is a wide range of accents. I'm sure the Australians here differences across their country as do the New Zealanders. New York City has many variations itself. Canadian English is different. Newfoundlanders are proud of the fact they are difficult to understand. I love that place.

How can we forget someone saying ya'll. I wonder what part of the world that comes from?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #5 on: 13/04/2009 05:23:43 »
From the makers who brought you a girl's virgina.

The fourth meaning says New Orleans:
The fifth says Southern USA.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ya'll
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #6 on: 13/04/2009 18:13:00 »
Since when is a pommy accent similar to an aussies?
 

blakestyger

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #7 on: 13/04/2009 18:22:37 »
Since when is a pommy accent similar to an aussies?

Go to the East End of London and listen carefully.
 

Offline AllenG

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #8 on: 14/04/2009 00:32:56 »
The American Southern accent varies greatly.
I hear differences in accents from towns that are no more than 30 miles apart.
And the coastal accents are markedly different from the mountain accents.

As badly as Hollywood butchers the Southern accent, I can only imagine what they do with the English accent.
 

Offline graham.d

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #9 on: 14/04/2009 12:15:17 »
One of the most famous is Dick Van Dyke trying to do a cockney accent in Mary Poppins. It was so bad it was really funny - though not intended.

Some actors are good - Meryl Streep (US) or Nicole Kidman (Australian) for example, though they don't attempt local accents. It is also surprising how many Brits play Americans in US TV shows. You can probably say how well they do?? House (in TV series House) is played by Hugh Laurie or Sarah Connor (in Terminator - the Sarah Connor Chronicles) is played by Lena Headey, but there are loads more.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #10 on: 14/04/2009 19:48:33 »
I wonder if part of the original queation  i.e. " How and why is the American accent  different from yours, why is the Australian accent so similiar to yours?" is due to the person asking it coming from the US. From my point of view (UK, born and bred) I think the US and Aussie (and NZ and SA) accents are pretty similar - certainly more like one another than the accents of Newcastle and Cornwall or Liverpool and Glasgow.
 

Offline DrN

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #11 on: 18/04/2009 00:20:16 »
Since when is a pommy accent similar to an aussies?

The Norfolk accent is very similar to the Australian in lots of ways. Plus I noticed several old Norfolk expressions that were similar to those used by australian colleagues, which other English colleagues had never heard of. Having said that, I can't remember what they were now! That discussion was a good few years ago now.

The Norfolk accent also shares a lot with the rest of East Anglia and East London, it generally gets harsher as you head nearer to London.
 

Offline cedar_tree

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #12 on: 18/04/2009 01:08:24 »
it boils to where the language had started from. it migrates farther away from its original starting spot picking up ideas and dropping some along the way to improve each nation containing language.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared diamond is a good book to help explain the start of language.

as an American, dangerous practices make Americans yell at each other like barking dogs.
 

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Why are UK and US accents so different?
« Reply #12 on: 18/04/2009 01:08:24 »

 

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