There are over 330 million people living in the United States.
Being a huge country with 50 states, you’ll find many states and regions have different accents, dialects, and even slang variations. Many Americans don’t even speak English or only speak English as a second language; 22% of the U.S. population doesn’t speak English at home.
What does an American accent sound like? Are you interested in learning about the list of accents you’ll hear in the U.S.? Or are you wondering, “what American accent do I have?”
Here are the 10 different variations of the American accent, including the states and regions where you’ll find this accent.
Florida is one of the most diverse states in the U.S. Because of its year-long warm weather and myriad of luxurious beaches, Florida attracts retirees as well as “snowbirds” from all over the world. Florida is also a popular destination for immigrants; one in five Florida residents are immigrants.
Florida’s accent is an interesting mix of all of these cultures plus the traditional southern American accent.
Many describe the accent as a mix between a southern, Midwest, and northeast accent. And if you’re a retiree, add a little bit of that senior accent in there!
The Floridian accent also varies, depending on the city and region you’re in. Northern Floridians hold more of a traditional southern accent. South Florida has something called the “Miami accent,” which combines a Spanish-speaking accent (usually a Cuban accent) and a New York/New Jersey accent.
Speaking of New Jersey accent…
2. New Jersey
Have you ever seen the TV show Jersey Shore? The characters in the show have a New Jersey accent.
The classic New Jersey accent sounds similar to a New York accent, except it’s less harsh.
Keep in mind, North and South Jersey also have different slang. For example, North Jerseyans say “sub” while South Jersyans say “hoagie.”
When you meet a Chicagoan, do they say, “I’m from Chicago,” or do they say, “I’m from Chicaeehhgo?”
Chicago accents are a little more on the nasal side. The “ay” sound is overexaggerated. The “th” sound is usually pronounced as a “d.” For example, Chicagoans say “dat” instead of “that.”
The “Chicago” accent is also called the Great Lakes accent and the Midwest accent. Many people in the Midwest U.S. speak with this accent, such as in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
Many states hold the famed “southern accent” but each state has its unique interpretation of this accent. Georgia is a great example.
While Georgia’s southern accent isn’t as strong, they have their own unique slang. Famous examples include “might could,” “bless your heart,” and “pitch a fit.”
Accent training doesn’t only include matching the tone of your voice to the accent. It also includes speaking with the region’s slang. This is one of the most challenging parts of learning a language, especially if you’re speaking with an accent.
5. New York
“Do you want a cup of cawfee?” That’s how you’ll ask that question if you were from New York. The New York accent is jokingly called the New Yawk accent. That’s because the “aw” sound appears heavily in this accent.
The New York accent is one of the most famous and distinguishable accents. Many New York native celebrities and famous radio hosts speak with this accent and it’s recognized throughout the world.
New York has always been a famous immigration spot and the New York accent combines all of these unique accents. You can hear a little bit of Italian, British, Irish, German, and Russian in the New York accent.
Next to the New York accent, the California accent is another famous one that’s commonly heard in major Hollywood films. It’s also considered one of the best accents heard in America. The sound is similar to a Chicago accent; the Californian accent is on the nasal side but is not as harsh as the Chicago accent.
The two most famous examples are the “valley girl” and the “surfer dude.” The SoCal valley girl speaks in a high-pitched, nasal tone and says the word “like” frequently. The “surfer dude” speaks in a lower tone but uses heavy slang, such as “gnarly,” “brah,” and the popular “duuuude!”
This accent mixes the languages English and Spanish, using slang and pronunciations from both languages. You’ll hear Spanglish in states such as New York, Texas, Florida, and California.
Most people confuse Spanglish with Mexican American-English. This accent and dialect are primarily English but with Mexican-Spanish influences. This accent is famous amongst Mexican Americans and you’ll hear this accent in states such as New Mexico and Texas.
8. Hawaiian Accent
Aloha! Hawaii is one of the most diverse states and their accent represents their unique culture. Hawaiian accents are unique because they speak slower and elongate their vowels, which is why most tourists describe the Hawaiian accent as “relaxing.”
Hey, y’all! The Texas accent is what most people think of when the “country” accent comes to mind. A traditional Texas accent has a thick drawl. You’ll mainly hear this with the “r” sound; Texans overexaggerate their “r’s,” making their accent sound heavy.
The tone is deeper with some nasal sounds, especially with the “ay” sound.
Keep in mind, Texas is becoming more diverse. You won’t hear this accent in a major city like Austin, but you will in a smaller town.
“I need to pahk mah cahr.”
This is the sentence that best correlates with the Boston accent. Bostonians put more emphasis on the “ah” sound and the “r” sound is almost inaudible. This is why “car” sounds like “cahr.”
The same goes for the “or” sound. Instead of saying “forty,” a Bostonian will say “fohty.”
The American Accent Is Diverse and Unique
Is there only one American accent? There are many different American accent variations! These are the 10 most famous accents you’ll hear throughout the U.S. American accents also give us a good insight into American culture and history.
For more interesting facts, continue reading our lifestyle section.