Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Go down

Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Bryant on Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:26 pm

Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?
by Natalie Wolchover
Live Sciecne


In 1776, whether you were declaring America independent from the crown or swearing your loyalty to King George III, your pronunciation would have been much the same. At that time, American and British accents hadn't yet diverged. What's surprising, though, is that Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen's English.

It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly.

Traditional English, whether spoken in the British Isles or the American colonies, was largely "rhotic." Rhotic speakers pronounce the "R" sound in such words as "hard" and "winter," while non-rhotic speakers do not. Today, however, non-rhotic speech is common throughout most of Britain. For example, most modern Brits would tell you it's been a "hahd wintuh."

It was around the time of the American Revolution that non-rhotic speech came into use among the upper class in southern England, in and around London. According to John Algeo in "The Cambridge History of the English Language" (Cambridge University Press, 2001), this shift occurred because people of low birth rank who had become wealthy during the Industrial Revolution were seeking ways to distinguish themselves from other commoners; they cultivated the prestigious non-rhotic pronunciation in order to demonstrate their new upper-class status.

"London pronunciation became the prerogative of a new breed of specialists — orthoepists and teachers of elocution. The orthoepists decided upon correct pronunciations, compiled pronouncing dictionaries and, in private and expensive tutoring sessions, drilled enterprising citizens in fashionable articulation," Algeo wrote.

The lofty manner of speech developed by these specialists gradually became standardized — it is officially called "Received Pronunciation" — and it spread across Britain. However, people in the north of England, Scotland and Ireland have largely maintained their traditional rhotic accents.

Most American accents have also remained rhotic, with some exceptions: New York and Boston accents have become non-rhotic. According to Algeo, after the Revolutionary War, these cities were "under the strongest influence by the British elite."

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover. Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook.
avatar
Bryant
Admin

Posts : 1452
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 30
Location : John Day, Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Marconius on Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:21 pm

Cause my family, as well as most US citizens, were never British.....duh.

_________________
"If guns are supposed to kill people, then all of mine are defective..."
-The Honorable Ted Nugent

"We have four boxes used to guarantee our liberty: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box". -- Ambrose Bierce (1887)

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!" -Gen. L. "Chesty" Puller, CO, 1 MARDIV, in Korea surrounded by 22 enemy divisions

Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.
avatar
Marconius

Posts : 1800
Join date : 2012-01-31
Age : 48
Location : Opelousas Louisiana

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Marconius on Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:37 pm

I wonder how they would classify our speech patterns. We would pronounce the r in hard but winter is wintah. I guess she would say that we are semi-rhotic......even though we were never infuenced by the Brits.

We also don't pronounce the "th" if it is at the beginning of words. Thick is tick and thin is tin.

Sorry, but I see this while thing (or ting) as BS. We have too many localized dialects to try to spout off this kinda stuff. Too many immigrants coming from too many different places. Methinks she needs to go back to school and quit being so damned anglocentric.

Sorry if this sounds rough Bryant, but it ain't directed at you. I just get so damn tired of reading BS like this from some supposed scholar. If she were as smart as she thinks she is, she wouldn't have gotten a degree in some damn liberal art. She would have gotten a real degree in something truly useful (have I told you my feelings on useless liberal arts degrees).

_________________
"If guns are supposed to kill people, then all of mine are defective..."
-The Honorable Ted Nugent

"We have four boxes used to guarantee our liberty: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box". -- Ambrose Bierce (1887)

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!" -Gen. L. "Chesty" Puller, CO, 1 MARDIV, in Korea surrounded by 22 enemy divisions

Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.
avatar
Marconius

Posts : 1800
Join date : 2012-01-31
Age : 48
Location : Opelousas Louisiana

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Sir Pun on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:25 am

Well i get what ur saying marc, but thats more cultural, than linguistic. As a matter of record, we did all pick up english somewhere (historically anyway), and the different dialects can be traced back, sort of like a map, and shes speaking more about the time of founding and the orig 13, from which all of our major regional dialects stem.

Sir Pun

Posts : 1621
Join date : 2013-01-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Sir Pun on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:26 am

Of course its anglocentric, its english lol

Sir Pun

Posts : 1621
Join date : 2013-01-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Dennis324 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:21 am

Bryant wrote:
It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly.
 
 And then there's this...
 

 
Man, my dad would've killed me.  It was bad enough that I had long hair and dressed like a bum in high school.  But this, my friends, is the youth of today.  Do we expect these 'Wiggas' to lead our nation one day?

 This....would tempt me greatly to support abortion clinics.

_________________

 


                   Roll Tide!
avatar
Dennis324

Posts : 1689
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 55
Location : Alabama

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum