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Speech accent archive (English) (gmu.edu)
75 points by siromoney on Jan 10, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

The paragraph is pretty Americanised ... dropped conjunctions all over the place. "we will go and meet her on Wednesday at the train station". Most of the speakers that likely learnt British English trip up over this sentence.

Well spotted; in fact one of the Scots speakers says 'go to meet her' by accident, and the other one says 'meet her on Wednesday'.

Bummed there isn't an example of old-timey, upper-class peninsular Charleston, SC accent. By and large, these people don't live there anymore, but it's an amazing, strange, beautiful accent.




Woah, that's a crazy accent. It's like a Virginia Gentlemen accent had a baby with an upper class Boston accent and somewhere in there is a French Canadian grandparent. The vowels are so proper and Southern, but the non-Rhotic finals are crazy.

I'm listening to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJv9t80pufc&t=2m35s

"Ten Years Ago" is literally made up of pieces of several different accents. "Tee-un Yee-ahs Ago-uh"

Then every other "r" is said, until he gets to "contributuhs".

I might be mistaken but I think he also rhoticises his final "ls". I bet he also says "law" like "lawr".

"Fourth of July" turns into "Fowth of Joooo-lie" and then he says "articulate" perfectly normal.

"ways" -> "wuuh-ehs"

"know" -> sounds like Canadian "knoo"

"mortgage" -> "mow-gayj"

actually I almost can't predict how he'll pronounce one word to another, just when I start to think I got an ear for it, then he'll throw in something like "manufacturing"->"man-oo-fact-yoo-rin"

For anyone who's into this kind of stuff, the International Dialects of English Archive[1] is an awesome resource. I've used it a lot to practice accents for acting roles.


this is absolutely fascinating. thanks for sharing.

It's interesting and rare to see my university in the news. It would be interesting to build language and acoustic models for these accents to improve speech recognition, but there isn't nearly enough data to do that.

In the last 10-15 years, GMU has exploded as a regional university in the mid-Atlantic. It's a huge change from the small commuter school it used to be back in the 80's and 90's. I think it's for the best, Northern Virginia has no world class universities despite being one of the largest metro-areas in the U.S. It's geographically in a prime location to assume that mantle.

I have relatives as far afield as Arkansas trying desperately to get their kids into it, only to be disappointed when they don't and end up having to send their kids to Georgetown or UMB or something. It's apparently become quite selective.

Also, if you want to hear about it in the news, a few of the faculty from literature and a couple other departments are constantly on NPR. Which is interesting because since NPR is in D.C., you'd expect them to have more faculty from GWU and Georgetown. I think I hear "George Mason" on the radio at least once a week these days.

I looked up the rankings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mason_University

And apparently it's pretty solidly a Tier-1 school now. Kinda crazy, it used to just be this weird tier-3 local offshoot of UVA.

As a current student at GMU, I'm not so sure I'd call it a Tier-1 school just yet. It's still got a lot of improvement to do, but it has definitely grown incredibly fast even in the time I've been here. My mother is also a graduate of GMU and my father went to GMU for a short time before completing his degree at College Park, so I've seen Mason grow throughout my childhood and now into my adult life.

People in the NoVa area don't really seem to treat GMU the way they treat UVA or VTech or even VCU. I'm glad it's starting to be treated seriously. It's just odd seeing GMU cited more and more often as a serious research school in the same sentence as other more well-known universities when people in the NoVa university don't share that same level of respect.

My comments about rarely hearing GMU's name were more targeted towards how much I hear it in the news. I listen to NPR on a daily basis and broadcasters or guests on different shows frequently name studies from universities like Princeton and Yale and Carnegie Mellon but I've only started hearing GMU's name come up on non-University topics within the past month or so. I've heard studies cited by GMU in different fields cited 3-4 times this week already.

I wasn't really aware GMU had a major research arm - is this relatively new? I grew up in the D.C. Metro Area and really just remember it as that weird local commuter school with a basketball stadium that the circus came to and the performing arts center. Growing up we had a grad student who rented a room and was in the choir. We used to go to her performances every once in a while. I've been the campus a few times in the last decade or so, and I used to visit the old weird library on the quad to study when I was in High School.

If they're growing their research arm, that can have a huge impact on the academic reputation of the school. It'll get them lots of name recognition.

But yeah, it definitely doesn't have the local reputation yet because we all remember it for what it used to be, a kind of community college that happened to offer 4-year programs.

I was really surprised when my relatives and friend's kids who are college aged started bringing it up in conversation about applications alongside of much more recognizable school name. I guess in the high-school guidance departments it's gotten quite a good name.

Times change I guess?

Very cool. I wonder where the quote came from:

    Please call Stella.  Ask her to bring these things with her from the    
    store:  Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, 
    and maybe a snack for her brother Bob.  We also need a small plastic 
    snake and a big toy frog for the kids.  She can scoop these things into 
    three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.
Is it some sort of "the quick brown fox" quote, that tests a complete range of sounds? Anyone know the history?

I think it is a tongue twister designed for observation of pronunciation. I read Edith Skinner's "Speaking with Distinction" and there are a lot of similar tongue twisters for practicing vowels and consonants clusters.

Also you can find out a lot of old tongue twisters for English in elocution textbooks in 19th century from archive.org..

The samples presented aren’t always representative of the accents of the region. For instance, english57 is much closer to a ‘typical’ Birmingham/midlands accent than english2.

Awesome archive all the same!

Interesting archive. I also found an audio archive for Yiddish dialects:

* by location: http://eydes.de/UsrAA1E0667HF/index/li/li.html

* by words: http://eydes.de/UsrAA1E0667HF/index/wi2/wi2.html

* main page: http://eydes.de/UsrAA1E0667HF/index/

I would be very interested to see if providing speaker locale as a feature to a machine learning algorithm would increase its performance for speech recognition.

that's probably a wrong assumptions. it is more related to the first language. locale may give wrong correlations.

The guy from Henley on Thames was the best (speakerid=70).

It is interesting. To my ear he's got a pretty standard Southern (West London to Oxford) accent but with, I think, a bit of poor North London creeping in there too ("we also need").

Before I noticed the biog I guessed he was ~70 (it says 69). Would have been great to have more biographical information - often you can hear a few accents in someone's speech and sometimes guess their geographical progression (in the UK at least).

Quicktime fail.


Distinct lack of Derbyshire accents!

How to submit a sample: http://accent.gmu.edu/howto.php#

and I couldn't find a single Geordie, either! (I'm not one, so I can't provide anything but a simulated, and almost certainly wrong, sample.)

No Cornish either, shocking! I would submit a sample but I don't fancy being an exemplary case - accents are serious business!

How about all those people who learned english as a second language and then went to live in various english speaking countries? My accent is a weird mix of Italian/Irish/Northern UK sounds, it wouldn't fit anywhere in that list..

I listened to too many before stopping myself (maybe 40 or 50)... I was struck by how similar they all were. When I try to imitate an accent, I think I must exaggerate the differences from my natural speech too much. Interesting.

There's also the British Library's archive of Accents & Dialects.


I don't know much about accents, but I wonder if it'd be possible to match different accents and see how well they'd understand eachother.

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