7 responses to “Yes, I am from Southern California of Midwestern ancestry.”

  1. gillen

    Same here, but it has that damn “Mary, Merry, Marry” question and none of the answers ever match the way perfectly sensible and normal people like me say them.

    Mary and Marry are exactly the same (with the ‘a’ having the same sound as in ‘bat’) and can only be distinguished by context. Merry sounds like ‘meh-ree’.

    The other options are all absurd.

  2. Anonymous

    Pegged me, too

    I’m squarely in the St. Louis yellow there but Cincy, Columbus and Pittsburgh have serious accents so it’s a very, very general quiz. I suppose they could narrow it down to region with a few questions. Still, a fun quiz. :)

    e.

  3. jakeinhartsel

    Well I seem to be from everywhere or nowhere.

    But I do want to thank you folks from the midwest that traveled on out to California, for not stopping in Colorado.

    JakeInHartselIn the middle of South Park

    1. jakeinhartsel

      More on everywhere and nowhere. Although I was born in Colorado, part of my growing up was in Minnesota and in my working life I have lived in Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Maryland, Spain, Alabama, and France and I did my Army time in Germany.

      So I guess that qualifies as all over.

      JakeInHartsel

  4. studeronomy

    Neutral? Shit, these folks have never been to southern Indiana, y’all.

  5. kasheri
    What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

    Western

    Western is kind of neutral, but not quite since it’s still possible to tell where you’re from. So you might not actually be from the West (but you probably are). If you really want to sound “neutral,” learn how to say “stock” and “stalk” differently.

    Personality Test Results

    Click Here to Take This Quiz
    Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

    But this doesn’t explain why people often think I’m from “somewhere else.” I’ve had people spontaneously ask if I’m from England, if I’m Southern, and even ask if I’m from Connecticut because they think I sound like Katharine Hepburn. They’re always a little miffed when I tell them I was born just a few miles away.

  6. torgo_x

    Dialects

    I think they forgot a biggie: whether “log file” and “lock file” have the same first vowel. But speaking of fine distinctions:

    That quiz way over-emphasizes the whole issue
    of aw/ah — and that’s a problem, because there’s lots of dialects (like mine) where it comes down to
    making the call between ah being steady [ɑ], verses a subtly complex diphthong that starts very slightly to one side of [ɑ], spends most of its time there, and goes a bit past it on the way out. Even on an acoustic spectrogram, the difference is so faint. (Although there are dialects
    where there’s just no missing it.)

    And speaking of which: I did a passable amount of staring at, and zooming in on, and playing 10-millisecond snippets of

    >acoustic spectrograms
    in
    “http://torgo-x.livejournal.com/963487.html”
    >grad school
    ; and I was constantly surprised by
    how a person could have a feature
    of their speech (such as their stop consonants not
    being totally abrupt closures) that was plain
    as day on an acoustic spectrograph, all over
    the place, and was quite audible
    if you played only this or that 70ms clip, but
    which neither I nor they could manage to hear,
    with even careful listening, as they were talking.

    Other meager grad school achievements:

    * Also I learned that you can get get three people from the same dialect group that sound quite alike to the, uh, naked ear; but the acoustic spectrogram will show, for each speaker, at least one fine-grain peculiarity. Is it dialectal? Is it idiosyncratic? Or maybe what was thought to be their big common dialect is actually five littler ones, distinguished by these tiny features.

    * Finally, I learned to get really good at being able to tightly edit audio, when need be. I.e., you can edit right up to a voiceless stop consonant (p/t/k etc), versus an ‘m’ or an ‘n’ that will require more time on each side; and if you don’t have clear audio, the f/s/th/sh distinctions might go out the window. The listeners will adapt, but it’ll give them a headache.
    Think bad AM radio.

    And therefore: crappy, grifty long-distance carriers that drop the signal totally flat until 50ms after they hear you starting a word, are just plain horrible. That more-than-tightly edits all these crucial phonetic distinctions, until you’re barely hearing anything more than a stream of slurred vowels. This is to say nothing of the all-around awful audio quality you get on conference calls.

    And the fact that telephone audio quality is generally moving backwards in time is
    “http://torgo-x.livejournal.com/tag/killface”
    >reason number 21 that I want to destroy the world
    .

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