Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Regional Accent Test

Review the questions, then please begin recording. You can record your answers at Vocaroo. Post a link to your Vocaroo file in the comment section and I'll reply with your "score." Remember there are no right or wrong answers, answers are only indications of regional influences upon your idiolect.

First name:
Did you move anywhere before age 18? If so, where:
[OPTIONAL] Area of college(s) attended, if attended:
[OPTIONAL] Places you lived after graduation:

Multiple choice.

How do you address a group of people? You may pick multiple.

  1. You
  2. You guys
  3. You all
  4. Y'all
  5. Yous
  6. Yinz
  7. Other: [please list]

Paul says, “I'm going to the store. Do you want to come with?” Does “do you want to come with” sound grammatical or no? Would you ask that question in the same wording?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don't know
Yolanda asks, "I called you yesterday. Why you ain't call?" Does "why you ain't call" sound grammatical or no? Would you ask that question in the same wording?
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don't know

What do you call a free-standing municipal water dispenser?

  1. Water fountain
  2. Fountain
  3. Drinking fountain
  4. Bubbler
  5. Other: [please list]

What do you call your casual shoes?

  1. Sneakers
  2. Tennis shoes
  3. Gym shoes
  4. Other: [please list]

In your kitchen, what does water come out of?

  1. Spigot
  2. Faucet
  3. Tap
  4. Other: [please list]

What do you call a generic hard candy on a short, white stick?

  1. Sucker
  2. Lollipop

Short answer.

What do you call rain while the sun is shining? If you do not have a word for it, say you do not.

What do you call the largest meal of the day?

What do you call your third meal of the day?

What does a farmer milk the cow's milk into?

When people say “I'm going to the city.” What city jumps to mind?

What do you call a flavored carbonated beverage?

What's a poke of potato chips? If you don't know, say "Don't know."

Say the following in a steady, moderate speed.


Read the following sentences aloud in a natural speaking rhythm. Try not to over-enunciate and try not to speak with unusual clarity. Speak naturally as if you were talking with a friend at a restaurant.

“I had to run to catch the bus and when I got on I realized I didn't know the route it was taking.”

“My cat has several kittens to the litter. She loves the nook by the pots and pans.”

"I think the tourists will go for an orange or apple during their tour."

"The aliens understood why humans love juice but could not understand the role of a father and mother."

"You can buy mirrors from the shop on 33rd Street if you hurry."


  1. I love this idea.

    Chicago 1-2; Tennessee 2-3; Central New Jersey, 3-18
    Boston 18-22
    Washington, D.C.

    You guys.
    No, I wouldn't use “come with.”
    No, I wouldn't use “ain't call” either.
    Water fountain
    I still call it rain.
    Don't have a word for largest meal of the day.
    Third meal is dinner.
    A pail? I'm not sure what sort of nifty attachments they have now.
    New York City
    No idea what a “poke” is.


    1. You speak with a General American accent highly influenced by New York City or New Jersey near NYC. I'll talk about where your accent gets interesting.

      1. You say "you guys" instead of "yous." Yous is a classic middle east coast, but you prefer General American.

      2. You say "sneakers" which is typical of the west and east coasts.

      3. You say lollipop which is indicative of the east coast.

      4. You distinguish between cot and caught and the 'au' vowel undergoes metathesis (where the au get closer to something like ua). This is an Eastern New York phenomenon.

      5. You distinguish Mary and merry which is an Eastern New York trait. All other American accents have merged the sounds.

      6. You do the same thing to don and dawn that you do with cot and caught, where dawn becomes more like dwan. Again, NYC.

      7. Non-rhotic accent on 'Charleston' (where the [r] is dropped or reduced). East coast trait.

      8. Unlike New York/New Jersey, you say orange and not arange as well as mirror rather than mirra'/mirrar, this is a General American feature to your accent where New York City was expected.

      9. You said humans and not yumans. Yumans is a general New York feature, while the aspirated [h] in humans is General American.

      Diagnosis: New York accent with strong tendencies toward General American.

  2. Watch out for the cacophony as I receive an email right at the end. Your ears have been warned.

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  4. Pelks

    You, you guys, you all
    Yes; would use "come with"
    No; wouldn't use "ain't call"
    Drinking fountain
    Gym shoes

    Sun shower
    Pail, or a bucket
    Downtown (Chicago)
    Don't know what a poke is


  5. You have a nearly typical Chicago accent. You distinguish between cot and caught / don and dawn, you use gym shoes instead of tennis shoes, and you do not distinguish between supper and dinner. Except you do a few odd things:

    1. You say lollipop instead of sucker. That is very non-Chicagoan of you. It is more prevalent in the East Coast.

    2. You say soda instead of pop.

    Overall, your accent is pretty Chicagoan but with surprising vocabulary choice indicating an influence from somewhere else in the United States (possibly the northeast?).

  6. Kevin
    Westminster, MD (until 18)
    College in South Carolina


    1. You have a very bizarre mishmash of Southern and Eastern Coastal influences. I would not be able to place your accent to a particular region and it is not General America.

      1. Though you are from Maryland you say y'all and spigot and devil's beating his wife, endemic to the South, as opposed to the expected you all and faucet and sunshower.

      2. You distinguish cot and caught as well as don and dawn, which is normal for anyone along the East Coast, including Maryland, but not indicative of "broadcaster English."

      3. Your pronunciation of pecan is extremely southern (not including Florida).

      4. Your accent is rhotic (meaning you pronounce the 'r' in words like Charleston) which can be found in parts of Maryland or the south.

      Without a doubt, your accent was the hardest to place. Perhaps that's because I have such little contact with southern East Coast accents. If I were to take a blind guess, I would have been stumped.

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    1. Tevin
      Vancouver, Washington
      I'm not sure where exactly I'm going to college.

      7: Hey guys (Collegues)
      Heya guys (Friends)
      Hello everyone. (Formal)
      (Note, I tend to change my typical pronunciation at times, especially when being formal.)



      3. drinking fountain.

      2. Tennis shoes (Tenna shoes)

      2. Faucet

      2. Usually either, but mostly lollipop

      When the sun is shining and it rains I call it a tropical shower.

      The largest meal of the day is dinner.

      The third meal of the day is dinner.

      The farmer empties the cow's milk into a bucket.

      The first city of think of is Portland, Oregon.

      I typically call carbonated drinks sodas. (Or Soda Pops)

      Tropical shower

      I have no idea what a poke of potato chips is.
      The rest of my submission is included in the following recording:

    2. Michael Scott
      St. Charles, MO (Suburb of Saint Louis)
      Moved to Flint Hill, MO (rural area outside of St. Louis) at age 11
      Went to college in Iowa City, IA (Southeast Iowa)
      Just about to graduate. It is important to note that my father is from southern Missouri and my mother is from south Florida

      Y'all or you guys, 50/50
      "come with" sounds fine, but I'd say "wanna join me?"
      "ain't you call" is not grammatical, i'd say "didn't" I only use "ain't" in the present
      Mostly water fountain, but sometimes drinking fountain
      Always tennis shoes
      Faucet, the tap is for beer

      1. I call it a "sun shower," but I'm pretty sure I made that up myself, I was never really told what it was called as far as I can remember.
      2. Dinner
      3. Dinner
      4. A pail
      5. Saint Louis
      6. Soda, my dad's family calls it "pop" and my mom's calls it "coke" though
      7. Don't know what a poke is


  8. Can I still do this??
    phoenix, az
    You, you guys, you people
    Yes, I would use come with.
    No, I wouldn't use ain't.
    Water fountain, drinking fountain I use both.
    I just call them shoes.
    It comes out of the faucet .
    A sucker like a tootsie pop in shape, a lollipop is the flat spiral shaped one on a stick.
    I don't have a word for this.
    I don't have a word for that either.
    A pail
    No city in particular, I think of being out in the country an going into town/city .
    I don't know what a poke of potato chips are.

    ((Sorry if the recording is not the best and awkward silence in the begininng))