Why do we have accents?

Sitting in class listening to our great foreign instructor, Andrew Read, give his lecture I wondered why we all have accents and what makes them. Obviously it’s because of the areas where we are native from and thats exactly my point, why does living in different areas cause everyone to sound different in speaking. Yes, someone might have an accent because they aren’t speaking their first language, but what about British accents compared to American accents? Both countries are known for speaking english so why is there an accent barrier between us? And that question stands for all countries. Even within our own country we have multiple different types of accents, but why?


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Reading in this article it goes in depth about what makes an accent an accent. You form whatever accent you have from your parents teaching you to speak. Based on your ethnicity and where you are living globally has a big impact on your accent. For example, in the article it states that people from Boston have very recognizable accents because of the deep Irish influence that lives there. The Boston accent is then born from a mixture of the Irish people living there and the American accent they are living around. Also with what language they speak influences their “foreign” accent. Germans have very specific soundsĀ in their language that english speaking people don’t have at all in their language. Therefore, when they try and speak anything other than German, they sound like they have an accent, and vice versa for english speaking people.


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Really it just depends on where you grew up and how the people around you speak, which causes you to speak the same. It’s due to your dialect and how you pronounce things. Growing up in the Philadelphia area I always pronounced the word ‘water’ as ‘wudder’ and never thought anything of it till I realized that’s really only a Philly thing to say. There was always that myth that Australians got their accents from drunken British people, when in reality it was just all the mixtures of British accents coming together into one.


3 thoughts on “Why do we have accents?

  1. Candace Burke

    I also found this post very interesting. It does make sense that people get their accents from their parents because that is who they hear and learn from as a child. How come when people move, however, they can lose their accents? Is it because they are around other people who talk differently and they just adapt to it overtime?

  2. Kate Billings

    I found this post interesting because I have never really thought of how people got their accents. It makes sense that children get them from their parents as they grow up. Thinking about it now I know some of my friends pronounce certain words differently, and I then come to realize that their parents pronounce them the same way. It’s very interesting that there are many different historical influences that go into forming an accent. Interesting topic to write about because I don’t think many people think about where accents come from!

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