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  1. #1
    enthink is offline Junior Member
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    American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Hello,

    Is there a non-small region in the US in which most people speak a dialect of American English that is very similar to British English as regards pronunciation? If not, which region is the closest?

    For example, car would be pronounced more like [ca:] if it was before a consonant (e.g. in "cars" [ca:z]). This is called "linking r," which is a typical British English feature and which is pronounced only when followed by a vowel ("car is").

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Quote Originally Posted by enthink View Post
    For example, car would be pronounced more like [ca:] if it was before a consonant (e.g. in "cars" [ca:z]). This is called "linking r," which is a typical British English feature and which is pronounced only when followed by a vowel ("car is").
    Accents that have this feature are called non-rhotic. Most American accents are rhotic (they don't have this feature). An example of a non-rhotic American accent is the Boston accent. Also some speakers of Southern American English are non-rhotic, but their number is decreasing. You should note however that, whereas British accents are indeed mostly non-rhotic too, it doesn't mean that those American accents are "British-like". They are not, it's just one feature they have in common. There are many other features.

    Bear in mind that American accents have a long history. Last time many Americans spoke British English was some 200 (?) years ago. Many changes have happened in both American and British English since then. Some features of Early Modern English have survived in American English, while they have been dropped in British English (and the other way around).
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 05-Nov-2010 at 12:57.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    I can't say that I have come across American pronunciation that is very similar to British- some regional varieties may be less dis-similar, but the differences are fairly apparent. With the geographical separation, you are less likely to find the gradations you get where the borders are side-by-side.

  4. #4
    enthink is offline Junior Member
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    some regional varieties may be less dis-similar
    Could you name some of those regions? Thank you.

  5. #5
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Just a very general observation, but parts of New England (the upper-most pink parts of this map) use the non-rhotic accent, and also tend to add an "r" sound to words ending in the letter "a", as do many BrE speakers. (For example, President John F. Kennedy, a Boston native, was often mocked due to his pronunciation of "Cuba" as "Cuber.")

  6. #6
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    Just a very general observation, but parts of New England (the upper-most pink parts of this map) use the non-rhotic accent, and also tend to add an "r" sound to words ending in the letter "a", as do many BrE speakers. (For example, President John F. Kennedy, a Boston native, was often mocked due to his pronunciation of "Cuba" as "Cuber.")
    Which is called "intrusive R". A good example was given lately on this forum: YouTube - Tim Minchin - Some people have it worse than I ("Banda Aceh" pronounced like "Bandar Aceh", 2:45)

  7. #7
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Which is called "intrusive R". A good example was given lately on this forum: YouTube - Tim Minchin - Some people have it worse than I ("Banda Aceh" pronounced like "Bandar Aceh", 2:45)
    I think it's different. It's not an intrusive 'r' if it comes at the end of a sentence or before a consonant, which I think is what Ouisch is suggesting.

  8. #8
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: American Dialects: Whose pronunciation is most similar to British English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think it's different. It's not an intrusive 'r' if it comes at the end of a sentence or before a consonant, which I think is what Ouisch is suggesting.
    I agree. If the "R" came before a consonant it would be a different phenomenon. I've never heard of it, interesting!

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