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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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David / September 4, 2008 10:12 AM

I've got the plain, flat Midwestern accent. I'm happy with it.

Gordon / September 4, 2008 10:30 AM

I have a smart-assed bastard accent, with a touch of Rod Serling monotone.

Andrew / September 4, 2008 10:48 AM

Gordon, you've nailed it perfectly.

I've noticed more than a touch of the Chicago accent creeping into my otherwise radio standard accent, learned from my dad. It's mostly in the nasal 'a' that I hear it.

Brian / September 4, 2008 10:50 AM

Having lived a bunch of places, and being prone to picking up accents, I have a strange amalgamation.

I am originally from Chicago, and have some elements of a Chicago accent, though not a strong one. I lived in the south near Nashville, and I had picked up a bit of a southern accent (which still comes out when I talk to or visit friends down there). I also lived in Indianapolis, which helped me shed some of the southern accent, and gave me more of a plain midwestern accent. Certain words still come out southern ("hours" and "years" for example... no idea why), while others come out almost Bridgeport-like. To complicate matters further, when I lived in Indianapolis, I worked phone tech support, and dealt with a lot of New Yorkers, and unfortunately picked up a few things from them.

corinna / September 4, 2008 10:56 AM

The town next to mine in upstate NY has a peculiarity I've noticed myself sprouting after three years in Chicago--gerunds have an almost "ee" sound.

David / September 4, 2008 11:12 AM

Coming from southern Michigan, I'm pretty sure the Midwest is the "control group" of regional accents. I remember being told years ago that a lot of newscasters are from the Midwest, because they're heard as having an accent from nowhere in particular.

That being said, I think that my appetite for reading has sorta stilted my pronunciation. I went to Sweden a few years ago and everybody asked me if I was British. Weird.

Carrie / September 4, 2008 11:42 AM

I have a slight Wisconsin accent. Only a couple of words really highlight it... you know, words like toast and tv.

jen / September 4, 2008 11:43 AM

the perfect american accent -- i'm from cleveland. ;)

[i say that because yes, i've heard the same thing david said about newscasters]

jen / September 4, 2008 11:47 AM

anyone seen this documentary?

sb / September 4, 2008 12:46 PM

i've got a dc/baltimore, west virginia, alabama accent. which mean i have no accent anymore. unless i'm drinking or screaming "roll tide!" in which case the alabama accent wins.

zoenotcool / September 4, 2008 1:11 PM


Jasmine / September 4, 2008 2:05 PM

I have no idea. Grew up in Asia and central California before moving to New York City at 8. People tell me I don't sound like a Noo Yawker but I talk too fast.

mo / September 4, 2008 2:09 PM

Grew up mostly in Raleigh, NC, but Mom wasn't from NC, and Dad's mom had an Irish accent and dad was from Appalachia, so his accent wasn't typical (though my uncle's was). So I have the NC accent on certain vowels, but mostly not. I've been told it comes out most in my pronunciaton of O and where I put the stress in words like insurance.

G / September 4, 2008 2:36 PM

Mostly a Chicago accent, since most of my time spent in this country has been in the Chicago area.

On rare occasion I end up switching up my V and W sounds because the country I grew up in didn't have different sounds for the two.

Ian / September 4, 2008 3:17 PM

I am told I have a strong British accent (I prefer English, but the terms British and English are used interchangeably, Just ask an aggrieved Scots or Welshman!), which would make sense as I am originally from England. When I first arrived in Chicago (and still on occasion) I had trouble making myself understood. I think this relates more to people expecting to hear certain phrases and words, rather than the accent itself.

Another ten years and maybe I will speak like a true Chicagoan,

Mindy / September 4, 2008 3:42 PM

yah, i sure do. born and raised 18 years in northeastern wisconsin. ive been told i sound like i could have had a part in 'fargo." i think i tend to elongate vowel sounds. about = aboot, bag = bayg, etc.

Steven / September 4, 2008 5:10 PM

Cross Mike Ditka with Fred Schneider of the B-52's and that's me. Probably why I can't say anything with a straight face any more.

Janaynay / September 4, 2008 5:21 PM

Suthun' through and through

Brandy / September 4, 2008 5:37 PM

I had a Minnesota accent until my Minnesotan family told me I had a Chicago accent.

fluffy / September 4, 2008 9:58 PM

I have a slight accent. It's very subtle - less so when I drink. Then you can kinda tell English is my second language.

Graham / September 5, 2008 9:09 AM

No idea. People tell me I betray a slight Southern accent from time to time; but when I lived down South, people frequently told me that I talked "like a g_____n yankee." So maybe I've picked up a combination of a number of accents over the years.

But I find that using my radio "air voice" is often very effective on the job.

mikely / September 5, 2008 9:21 AM

My girlfriend is from Spain and lived in the U'K. for several years, so her English has a British inflection with a Spanish tone to some words ("little" is "leetle," "Tim" is "team," etc. And she tries not to, but every now and then the Brit idioms like "knackered" and "carry on" come through. She says Americans talk like every sentence is a question, which I am guilty of. "So ... yesterday? I was walking down the street and I noticed there's a T-Shirt Deli on Berwyn? Next to Tulip?" One of my friends used the word "among" recently, which she got a total kick out of.

I've lived in too many places to have an accent. Baltimore's is my favorite, with the rolling o's. "Do you wanna gao to Hoighlandtaown to gao baowling or do you just wanna go haome, hon?"

Graham / September 5, 2008 9:43 AM

Heh. Funny thing, Mikely. I lived in Bawmer long enough to pick up/imitate that accent, myself. It's one of my favorites -- it has to be heard to be believed.

Carrie / September 5, 2008 10:02 AM

Mindy-- ha! I also say bag as bayg. I think people from WI are the only ones who pronounce it that way. It's totally normal to me :)

Dubi / September 5, 2008 12:56 PM

The hardest thing about getting rid of my forign accent is a nanosecond of the sound "EE". The "EE" that makes the difference in pronunciation between words like SHIP and SHEEP.

irisheyes1212 / September 5, 2008 1:03 PM

I fluctuate between Chicagoan and flat Midwestern. Born and raised on NW side of Chicago my whole life.

It's like nails on a chalkboard to me when people say "melk" for milk or "pellow" for pillow. *shudder*

I love accents though...I want a Southern accent that would rock. My current beau has an Irish accent, my last one was from London. Awesome.

annie / September 5, 2008 2:10 PM

I went to school to be on the radio and was told the same thing about Midwestern accents, that they are perfect for reading the news, etc. Except a Chicago accent, which I'm told I have. I grew up on the South Side and have lived here my whole life, but I don't think I have an accent. My whole family has the "da" thing going on, I'm not that bad.

and Irisheyes, it's a brogue! but I bet you knew that.

irisheyes1212 / September 5, 2008 2:27 PM

Oh yea Annie I know. I just always call anything that doesn't sound exactly like me an accent lol. (brogues, dialect, etc)
All I know is I love 'em!

printdude / September 5, 2008 3:43 PM

My accent is shi-Caw-go, trew an' trew.

I've a pal that has an Irish Brogue he get from too many beerce; Although he's Polish, he speaks in a crazy-ass brougue when wasted. He sound an awful lot like the Pitt character in "snatch".

My own accent comes from da streets and da barz

mike-ts / September 5, 2008 10:18 PM

Though I grew up in da Region, I've been told that I have a hint of a Southern drawl. I have a bad habit of inserting L's into words at bad times (yels, pick up the palper, etc), and drawing out the words, instead of saying them staccato machine gun style like most Chicagoans do, eliminates that.

Or maybe it's from my mother, who also grew up in da Region, but from time to time would break out in a Kentucky type twang that sounded like a banjo playing. She came from an ethnically Russian neighborhood, so go figure.

I'm told that I speak Spanish with a correct Castillian style. I learned some German while stationed there in the army, and was told that I had a bad Russian accent to my German.

I think I'll stick to the written word.

charlie / September 6, 2008 10:30 AM

I gots yer aksent ride hear fruitscake.

Val / September 6, 2008 11:19 AM

I have lived in Chicago for three years now, and constantly notice the difference between the way I pronounce words and native Chicagoans. I also grew up with theatre training so I learned to talk less nasal but The Midwest is known for talking through their noses (or sounding like it at least). If I'm not careful... that will be me in a few years.... ahhh

Hal / September 6, 2008 8:16 PM

Have always had a pretty generic Midwest/TV accent. I grew up in Texas, but always in the big city, so I think I was exposed to a mish-mash and never picked up much of anything. Though every once in a while, someone will pick up the Texas. I do always use "y'all" and "howdy," though.

vit / September 6, 2008 11:14 PM

From what I'm told, I have a bit of a mishmash of a Chicago and New England accent. I grew up in Chicago, but my family is from New England, so I mix 'em up. Apparently it comes out with words that have an "e" in them (e.g. 'merry', 'erin', etc) and words the occasional bizarre way of (not) pronounce 'r' when I ought to, yet not doing either consistently.

kate / September 7, 2008 2:24 PM


I learned to talk in Texas and spent my childhood in the southwest and have been in Chicago for over a decade. It's straight-up Chicago with slightly southern pronunciations.

Trow me one of dem Old Stylesss, y'all!

T / September 10, 2008 10:23 AM

If you are truly a refined Southerner, especially a female, you can say both "yes" and "no" with two syllables - "ya-yes" and "no-oh." And Albany, Georgia is the only Albany I know where it is properly pronounced "All-benny." Y'all keep grinning like a mule eatin' briars, now!

L / November 3, 2008 7:38 PM

ive lived in kansas city central northren illinois(i guess you would say) & oklahoma my accent is slightly chicago with some st.louis & a tiny bit of okie when i moved to okie i notest people didnt say warsh said chicago wrong & dont use as many prepations which was weird for a 7yo so i dont say wanna come with(me) i jus say wanna come to get over that whole thing & i dont pronounce my A's as hard a someone from the north but when i say "th" words(like the,that,ect.) it dose sound a bit like a D because i say it fast lol

so in KC & illinois i sound normal but here i tone down my TV accent oh well!

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