Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rare Varieties of North American English

General American is the name for the generalized American accent spoken by most people in the United States and by a good many Canadians. There's no single General American because nearly all speakers have colored their speech with their regional accents and word choices. A General American speaker from Chicago may say gym shoes for all casual shoes; another from Boston may say a great movie was wicked awesome. But there are many dialects of North American English that are rare and unusual, featuring a prosody and word choice that will surprise you. Let's take a look at some of the more peculiar speeches of North America, shall we?

Appalachian English

Spoken among the Appalachian Mountain settlers. It is a unique "Southern" descendent of Scotch-Irish hillpeople. The tongue is often parodied (quite poorly) by Kenneth in 30 Rock.


Tangier, Virginia is a tiny island out in the Atlantic Ocean. It was settled during the Reconstruction period of England, and its dialect has taken a unique turn. The island is a popular target of language tourists but the dialect dying fast.

Boston Brahmin

Everyone knows about the typical Boston accent, which in my opinion is more appropriately described as an accent clade along the eastern Massachusetts coast. The famous Boston accent is usually stereotyped as a Southie or lower class accent. There remains among the very elderly of Boston's elite the Boston Brahmin accent and it's quite different.


The accent of Newfoundland, Canada, is one of the most divergent widely-spoken accents of North America.

West Jamaican

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