Different American Accents

[Language ★★★]


(P1) Many English learners and teachers often point out the  “American accent”. The problem here is that there really isn’t one single American accent but many. Researchers don’t agree on exactly how many different accents there are but it could be anywhere from 20 to over 100!

(P2) The dialect spoken by TV announcers and actors in the USA is often called “General American English”. People who speak general American English pronounce words like “hot” and “not” with what is called an unrounded vowel. So these words sound like “haht” and “naht”.

(P3) On the east coast of the USA, in places like New England, there is a small difference here. The “r” in some words is often not enunciated. The first syllable in words like “parking” are often pronounced as “pah-king” with a strong “a” sound like “cat” or “man”.

(P4) New York City has a peculiar dialect by itself. Much like the New England accent, the “r” is sometimes not pronounced but the “a” sounds are not as strong. A word like “carnival” would probably sound like “caw-na-val”.

(P5) As we move down into the southern states, the american accent becomes quite different. The final “r” on words is usually dropped. So when someone says “summer day” in the south, it can often come out as “summah day”. In some words, a vowel can be said with two or even three different sounds. For example, in general, American English, the “a” in “cat” is pronounced with only one sound. Southerners, however, might pronounce the “a” in cat as “kei-yat”.

(P6) There are many many other accents and dialects in American English. One accent is not any better or worse than the others. However, it’s useful for tourists who visit America to understand the accent where they are planning to visit. Don’t be surprised if you hear more than one of these accents or even a medley of them during your stay.

WORDS: 314

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/american-accents/

VOCABULARY: point out, unrounded, enunciated, peculiar, southerners


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Does your country have different dialects and accents? If yes, can you explain them?
  3. Why do you think there are so many different accents in the USA?
  4. Do you prefer one English accent over another? Why or why not?


  1. How many different american accents are there?
  2. The accent used by ___________ and ____________ is mostly a general American accent.
  3. People who are from the New England States generally don’t pronounce the ____ in words.
  4. The New York City and New England dialects are not alike in some ways, especially when pronouncing r. (T or F)
  5. It’s helpful for tourists visiting the USA to know which accent is used where. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the problem here (P1)
  • could be anywhere from 20 to 100 (P1)
  • what is called (P2)
  • by itself (P4)
  • not any better or worse (P6)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kufm/files/styles/x_large/public/201506/american-flag-_pd_.jpg

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