Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday quiz: At the tone, the time will be ...

I thought this quiz was fun. I always suspected I didn't have an accent, although I am sometimes accused of sounding a bit Canadian (which I assume means I talk fast & clipped).

It turns out I have the Classic Midland Accent, even though I have never spent any time in what I would call the American Midland. This is the accent Americans can most easily understand no matter where they are from. It is the voice the original Bell Telephone company selected to tell you the time of day when you felt you needed to call them to find out (that was when those calls were free). It is the accent you are most likely to hear on any large corporation's voice mail program (which will change immediately once you reach an actual person, an outsourced employee who has probably never heard of the American Midland). And according to this chart, it is the accent most heard in the American West, which is where I've always lived. Apparently, I would feel right at home in southern Ohio or southern Illinois (but not northern, hmmm?).

This is my result. Take the short quiz yourself (click down below) & see if your accent reflects what you think it should.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
Boston
North Central
The Inland North
The South
Philadelphia
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I was a bit disappointed they didn't ask for pronounciation of some words people tell me I say funny. Such as: EGG or LEG (which I say with a long "A" so they rhyme with spade). ORANGE sounds a bit like SYRINGE from me (two distinct syllables). I say "pleasure, treasure, measure" all the same way (play-zhure, tray-zhure, may-zhure), which I'm told is part of my Scots-Irish heritage.

And of course, for Nevada natives, there is that old bugaboo, which is asking others to please honor the state's preference in order to cut down on ear bleeding. It is Nuh-VAD-uh ... accent on the VAD, which rhymes with bad or dad or lad, OK?

33 comments:

DivaJood said...

Midland here as well. I was sorry they didn't ask about root, roof, or room, which I pronounce as "ruht, ruhf, and ruhm", which is classically midland. Route is the same as root.

But the dead giveaway is Mary, merry and marry - which are all pronounced the same way.

D.K. Raed said...

Diva:
so you get your kicks on Ruht Sixty-Six? For me, route mostly rhymes with about, but I've been known to say root, too ... kind of interchangeable, sometimes even within the same sentence.

I thought EVERYONE said Mary, merry & marry the same way, but E.K. just informed me he says "marry" differently. Guess that's why he ended up being labeled a Northeastern Accent.

DivaJood said...

I do get my kicks on Ruht 66, and am surprised you don't. Hmmmm. And I learned that most people pronounce Mary, merry and marry differently, which makes them all incorrect, right? I mean, we're right, right?

Mary said...

Accents are fascinating aren't they? I always am given a hard time because I say Larry the same way I would say marry. People around here pronounce it the same way I would say merry. Of course my name is a complete different pronounciation but around here it is said like Murray by the born and raised eastern shore people. Anyway I have a Northeastern accent which is as it should be. Been here all my life. And that's Northeastern as in "the correct pronunciation of everything, thank you."

D.K. Raed said...

Diva:
of course we are right; we have the highly sought-after classic midland accent! I think the reason I say many words slightly differently is my grandparents on both sides still had a bit of an irish brogue and/or scots gargle mixed into their speech habits.

Mary:
"Murray", you are definitely Northeastern! "Mary married Larry in the merry month of May" ... four of those words rhyme ... at least to MY ears! I shouldn't be, but was surprised to learn that husband of 32-yrs pointed out he says "marry" differently. Well, he was born in Brooklyn & even though it's faint, still retains enough of an accent that a fellow Brooklynite always recognizes it.

an average patriot said...

That's funny! Heavy Boston as Brother Tim keeps telling me. I think everyone else but me has an accent!

an average patriot said...

oh yeah one and won! Everything sounds the same to me. Makes me think we up here talk lazy or something!

D.K. Raed said...

Avg Pat:
so you sound like Dennis Leary? That's cool! Also, I hear no difference between "one" and "won" ... does that make me Baastan?

an average patriot said...

you're funny! That depends on whether or not you keep your cows in the baan and paak your caa in Haavaad yaad or not! did I already tell you Yippee! Gore announces for Obama tonight at 8.

D.K. Raed said...

Avg Pat:
Yeaaay, Go Gore ... hope he gives a really rousing endorsement!

I have no cows, but here's a funny UT accent for you haaavaad caaa paakas (not mine BTW, I am not native UT): A Utahn PORKs his CORE in the COREPART! The A's and O's are reversed, no one knows why. It always makes me think how hard up someone must be to PORK a hunk of driving metal.

an average patriot said...

Red
You're funny! The accent you describe sounds like a New Joiseyite they talk just like that! You're a riot!

Fran said...

Us Oregoninans cringe when people mispronounce our State name by saying
Or-ee-gone

It's Or-uh-gun

I take calls from Travel agents for a living & we talk to people nationwide AND Canada.
It is interesting that the accents vary so much, as does the pace. Su-thern ac-cents have a drawwwl, and usually come at a slow-ah pace.
They also tend to have more manners and formalities, as they say please & thank you & call me "Ma'am". Occasionally I hear the
you 'all or y'all.

NYC & East coasters are ripping along so fast, you can barely hear what they are saying. Aye need a quote in a harry.

The West coasters tend to be more laid back & seem to have a sense of humor.

Then today, I had a call from Montreal that began with a "Bon Jour" & ended with merci beaucoup. That is pretty much the extent of my French language knowledge.

Spanish speakers get transferred to Spanish speaking operators, but I can wow them by saying, Un momento por favor....

Speaking of accents-- the ASIAN accent is the hardest for me to decipher. It is a two fold issue-- culturally, the Asian language is spoken rapidly.....so when someone speaks with a heavy accent, in broken english at a fast pace, often running the words together... I'm lost. Plus accents of the syllables can get garbled-- so the Mariner, becomes the
Mar-EEner. Jonsmth.... is actully John Smith.
But hey- if you have a heavy accent-- slow down your speech so people can hear & understand what you are saying.
Bon Voyage, or Later, as we say in Oregon

enigma4ever said...

too funny..I have been sitting here eavesdropping....funny how we all sounds so different....

D.K. Raed said...

Fran:
Very important to remember Oregon has a "gun" (that's what some Oregonian said to me once). I bet that Or-eh-gone pronunciation comes from "Oregonian" ... but I forget if you guys say that with a "go" or a "gone"?

I like the polite southern accents in phone calls. But I will give any NYC fast talker a run for their money. I have to constantly remind myself to s-l-o-w it down or I will sound like Minnie Mouse with a head cold!

So cool you get to have global phone conversations! I agree the Asian accent is hardest to follow, especially if you are trying to understand every single word. That's when I usually hand the phone to E.K. who has the knack.

Enigma:
But in our heads, we all sound the same! And in the virtual/online world, we have no accents at all.

Border Explorer said...

This was lots of fun, DK. I was shocked to have a Western accent, since I've lived in the Midwest most all my life. I wonder what I'm saying "wrong" that you got Midwest and I missed the mark? I was looking for the Chicago broad "a" (as in "lamb" rhymes with "jam") to show in the quiz, but it didn't.
Cool.

Utah Savage said...

I write short stories in a Suthern accent, read them to myself that way, too. But I can speak broadcastereeze, having worked as voice talent--got paid big bucks whoring my voice. Liked the fact that I could work in my jammies and forget to comb my hair, and nobody cared.

Speak a little Spanish with an Italian accent.lroztm

D.K. Raed said...

B.Explorer:
You mean everyone doesn't say lamb so it rhymes with jam? That is news to me. Hunh! Next you'll be telling me Missouri has an "uh" at the end. oh wait ... I better revise that if I ever travel there. I think most Western States have that Midland Accent (westward ho travel pattern) so I'm not sure what the diff is. There are lots of local tip-off phrases though ... like when we lived in Washington State, we always knew we were dealing with an Idahoan when they couldn't just say yes (they say, You Betcha)!

UT Savage:
OMG, I would've loved to be able to work in my jammies & wild hair "whoring my voice"! But I'm afraid the only way I could've gone that route would've been more on the former rather than latter talent.

I do like to read outloud and have often been the one called upon to read to a group. I like to speak even boring statistics like they are a stage play! It's a bit tougher now that my eyesight has started to go, but I can still fake it. Problem is unless I make sure to slow down, I do sound like Minnie Mouse (no broadcaster voice for me).

My college spanish teacher was Italian, so I think that's the accent I learned, too. I know for sure it isn't the same as the locals around here. I got along fine in Portugal (I don't speak Portugese but my wierdly accented spanish sufficed for daily interaction). I have no idea what those last initials are that you wrote (lroztm)!

Fran said...

When I first moved to the West Coast I was told I had an accent (from the midwest),
After living in Oregon for 28 years, I am now told I have an accent when I visit the Midwest (Mom's)!
Oregonian is pronounced Or-ah-go-nian.

Tomato- tomato let's call the whole thing off!

Utah Savage said...

I just reposted a poem for you, in response to a comment you just made at my place. This is a little like tag, but all you need to do is read this poem, and you will know what I know. Why I live alone.

D.K. Raed said...

Fran:
I was sure it was "go" (that's how *I* say it, so it MUST be right), but thought I'd ask just in case. You have been there long enough to be a true native! Down here we get a similar mangling of Zion (as in Zion National Park). It is ZI-un, but lots of tourists say ZI-on. I guess we should be thankful tourists are still coming given the bad economy (we get a lot of europeans).

UT Savage:
I just read it & left you a comment. Wow, now I know what you know and you know what I know! hmmmm, perhaps you need to find a fellow apneac-snorer? I wonder if THAT question is ever addressed at E-Harmony or Craig's List. Probably not, they are all into body part enhancement.

Tina said...

The quiz informs me that I have a "West" accent, which according to the quiz, means I have no accent at all and that most people would not be able to guess where I'm from.
I am 100% a born and bred N.E. Ohio girl. I thought for sure I'd score a "Midland" accent like you.... especially when you factor in that I was raised by a born and bred N.E. Ohio momma and a Pittsburgh, PA born and raised-until-his-late-teens papa.
The only time I was informed that I had an accent was during college when I dated an Italian guy from Yonkers, NY. He used to make a habit of ridiculing me about how I said words like water and area (it's wah-dder and air-ree-ah to me), so I would blast him back about the way he said water and area (wuhh-dah and air-ree-urr to him), But my all-time favorite word to blast him about was the way he said "throw" (he said "trohw").
Last I heard, he just got married to his 2nd wife, an East Orange, N.J. girl, so I hope they're 2 happy East Coast peas in a pod.
And of course, I would say orange is pronounced like "orrrange" and said as if it were a single syllable word, whereas he would say it was clearly a 2 syllable word and pronounced like "ahrr-ange".... sigh.

DivaJood said...

My brother can speak like Donald Duck. Really. And is there a difference between one and won? Doesn't one and won make two? Is there a difference between too, to and two? Pardon me boys, is that the Tatanooga Two To?

D.K. Raed said...

Tina:
That IS odd that you as a native non-westerner would get a WEST accent rating, while I as a lifetime authentic westerner would get the MIDLAND accent rating. Or ... maybe NE Ohio does speak more like the West (rather than, say, southern ohio). I know when I say orange with 2 distinct syllables (or-inge), it drives some people crazy. And I don't remember which part of NY it is, but some of hub's family say "turdy-turd street", while others say "toidy-toid street" ... bet your old boyfriend would know.

Diva:
aaah, but does your brother naturally revert to sounding like Donald Duck unless he actively controls his voice? If so, I hope he didn't name his kids or have any nephews named Huey, Dewey & Louie. All of which reminds me of another McCain euphemism, Scrooge McDuck (Donald's uncle) -- I need to use that again soon, it's so perfect.

DivaJood said...

My brother doesn't naturally revert to anything. But he does speak like Donald when he wants to be Goofy.

D.K. Raed said...

Diva: what, no Foghorn Leghorn (my favorite cartoon accent)? oh wait, I think that's Warner Bros, not Disney. My favorite Disney voices are BUGS BUNNY and Sylvester the Cat. Bugs because he is smart & sarcastic, and Sylvester because I once had a job answering phones for a company with many s's in its name. For amusement, when I was bored, I would answer in my best Sylvester voice. My phone needed frequent wiping!

DivaJood said...

Bugs and Sylvester are Loony Toons, not Disney. And I loved Sylvester so much, I used to have Tuxedo Cat named Sylvester. She had two litters of kittens, however, so my mother called her Sylvia instead.

D.K. Raed said...

Diva, I guess they are all Disney to me, huh? We also had a B&W cat; it was first cat I was allowed to name; I came up Tinkerbell. She had kittens on my bed. It was magical.

Mauigirl said...

Very acccurate - it correctly identified me as living in the Northeast.

D.K. Raed said...

Mauigirl: so maybe you know which part of NYC says "turdy-turd street" vs "toidy-toid street"?

Ingrid said...

too funny... but do you live in Midland? We drove through once on our way moving to Phoenix. Now after moving here from Canada (eh, you MUST be saying 'eh' who knows although I know this guy who talks like a 'hoser' I swear but he's from Texas also..go figure, eh)
anyway.. I must have the weirdest accent so I'm going to try (born and raised in NL, emigrated and lived in Canada and now here in the Southern US)
wait, you're from the SW..so no way you're even close to Midland..(duh)..
ok, I'm gonna check it out now

Ingrid

Ingrid said...

alright my test results showed mine to be the Northeastern. Kinda funny but I talk about it a little as to probably why on my own blog since this is yours.

Ingrid

Mauigirl said...

D.K., "turdy-turd" and the like hail from the borough of Brooklyn. I think it is the Irish influence, as in Ireland they don't pronounce the "th" sound.

D.K. Raed said...

Mauigirl: ah, so then "toidy-toid" must be from Joisey! Interesting about the Irish connection, sounds completely plausible to me ... tanks!

ps, (I answered Ingrid on her blog, "Blogger Round Table").