A correspondent has created a map of the USA and Canada where people can record their regional accent based on pronunciations of various vowel sounds: “You just click on the map where you grew up, select which accent the quiz said you had, and then a dot color-coded to your accent appears on the map. Pretty neat, isn’t it?” To take the quiz, go here or here. And yes, it is pretty neat.


  1. Oh, very cool! I’ve entered myself, and I’ve linked to your post on my site to encourage others to go enter their own accents and locations. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Heh – I’m a Dane who grew up on too many US sitcoms (and Degrassi …). I’ve had Australian, UK and US lecturers at uni and I’ve spent two years in Bath:
    “New York City. You are most definitely from New York City. Not New Jersey, not Connecticut. If you are from Jersey then you can probably get into New York City in 10 minutes or less.”
    Does that make sense? Does it even make sense to ask the question? Is there a similar British test?
    My young Northener friend got “Northeastern
    This could either mean an r-less NYC or Providence accent or one from Jersey which doesn’t sound the same.”

  3. michael farris says:

    I was pegged as western.
    I grew up in Southwest and Central Florida. My mother was from Indiana (from a part that hasn’t historically made the cot/caught distinction which I don’t) and my father was raised in various parts of the south (notably Hattiesburg) but had no trace of a southern accent (I think he worked to get rid of it while in the army). The area I spent most of my childhood in was split between locals (typical cracker or aave accents) and (white) transplantees from the north.
    Another one of these tests labelled me as Lowest Common Denominator American English, which is probably pretty accurate.

  4. Got me wrong: Rless Northeastern accent.
    Northeastern is correct, Rless isn’t. My dialect is Hudson Valley (same as the late Rod Serling).

  5. Not bad…pegged me as “Northern, or that Western New England accent the news stations aim for.”
    Bridgeport-area CT born and raised, seems pretty accurate.

  6. Way off for me. Apparently I’m from Fargo or (gasp!) Ontario, not from Cape Breton.

  7. Called me neutral and said I forgot my local teams (hah! just check my blog) when I moved and lived in a Republican town. Neither of which is right. I grew up in Oak Ridge, TN, but have lived in California, Texas, Germany, and Maryland as an adult – the first three in the army.

  8. I got the result. I speak pretty standard Australian English. I’m definitely not r-less, and I don’t know much about Providence. Working of my basic knowledge of USA’n history in that New Jersey (and generally the NE USA) was more colonially inclined before independence, I’d say it’s fairly logical that I sound more like those folks than other USA residents…Australia still retaining ties to the Crown and all.
    Oh…I’ve a question for discussion. The question struck me a while ago, “Where on earth did the English phrase ‘at all’ come from?”. In itself, I couldn’t for the life of me give a good explanation of why it means what it does. Then I noticed its spoken and semantic correspondence to the Latin abbreviation “et al.”. I’ve subsequently discontinued any practice of the phrase “at all”, and now only use “et al.” in its proper sense.
    However, I’ve noticed that it’s not a terrible modern thing, as C S Lewis uses “at all” in his works I read recently. So, gathered ladies and gents, does the written phrase “at all” have a reason for continued existence in the English language? Why shouldn’t it be ‘corrected’ (if indeed it’s a mistake) back to “et al.”?

  9. It looks like “at all” is common in English from the 15th century. You can see a lot of examples by searching on the Middle English Dictionary.
    In Old Icelandic the expression at öllu meant ‘in all respects’ and could be used in both affirmative and negative sentences, which seems quite similar to the Middle English usage. But in English the usage came to be restricted to negative/conditional/interrogative sentences, so the meaning became ‘in any respect’.

  10. This, the first OED quotation, is from the mid 14th century.
    For me, “at all” doesn’t mean “et al.” at all. “and all” means “etc.”, though not in American English.

  11. Got me to Boston, but I’m not from there. Must’ve mixed the Detroit with the Canadian. Detroit actually has a lot of Southern influence, and that was the second suggestion.

  12. RavinDave says:

    Way off base on me. I got tagged as “Southern”. I’m Nebraska-neutral. And I have a pretty good ear and paid enough dues doing phonetic transcription that I know I’m among the norm here in my city.

  13. What in interesting idea!

  14. Thanks for that info on “at all” and all. My brain still doesn’t understand how “at” + “all” = “at all” semantically. But, language is what it is, and so that’s what we have. Seems “at all” is quite acceptable.

  15. marie-lucie says:

    If “at all” is a survival from the Norse language brought to Eastern England 1000-odd years ago (as suggested by the resemblance with the Icelandic expression mentioned above), the “at” at that time probably did not mean exactly what it does in Modern English (where it has more than one meaning anyway). It is not often illuminating to try to interpret such fossilized word-groups in terms of the modern meaning of their components. Another strange expression when you try to analyze it is “of course” – it is just one of those things you have to learn whole.

  16. I got pegged as “Neutral” but I’m not exactly neutral American. I have some Canadian Raising as a result of growing up in Southeast Alaska, where the local accent has been infiltrated by British Columbian insurgents as well as a substratum of Tlingit (e.g. final ejective stops as emphasis). And this test wouldn’t do anything to cover the various Alaskan Native English dialects since it doesn’t test for consonant retroflexion or tongue root retraction at all. It also probably doesn’t do any good for Hawaiian English, “Rez” English of various Native North American groups, Samoan English, or any of the Spanish-influenced dialects of the southwest. So it’s a good start, but it’s completely neglected the US colonies and minority ethnic groups.

  17. John Emerson says:

    This test seems less accurate than a very similiar test I took months ago, which correctly pegged me as Minnesota-Wisconsin (“North Central”). This one puts me at “Western” or “Great Lakes” (or whatever they call those).
    Apropos of nothing, something I read claimed that the expletive “Bah” is from the Picard dialect of Old French. Treat as rumor.

  18. Are you quite sure it wasn’t from Bahhhsque?

Speak Your Mind