Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Regional differences in American Pronunciation

The USA is a country which exhibits a number of regional differences in pronunciation.  The regions which often have different pronunciations are found in the northeast and south.  However, it is important to note that not all speakers of a region pronounce all words the same.  Even withone one region there is variation.

In the western USA, caramel is usually pronounced with two syllables and in the eastern USA with three. In the southeast, mayonnaise tends to be pronounced with two syllables and the first one is pronounced man. In the the rest of the country, it tends to have three syllables and the first syllable is pronounced may.

In the southeast and northeast of the country, the second vowel of pyjamas usually has the vowel of jam.  In the rest of the country, the second vowel usually has the vowel of father.  In the northeast of the country, the first syllable of syrup is usually pronounced sear but in the rest of the country it is usually pronounced sir. Finally, the word lawyer is usually pronounced law in the first syllable by speakers of the southeast.  The exception is Florida where it is usually pronounced with the diphthong of boy as in the rest of the country.

American English is far from uniform.  Many of the regional differences occur in the southeast and northeast of the country.  The pronunciation of American English can thus vary significantly from one region to another.

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