Americans have a heavy American accent
Determine the region from which you want to mimic the accent. First, it is very helpful to know the difference between the nasal accent of a Texan and the Southern accent of someone from Mississippi or Tennessee. Midwestern accents such as Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota also differ. The New York accent is very distinctive and the Boston accent is also familiar to many people.
Learn typical, region-specific phrases. A classic from the southern states is the word "y'all", which is the shortened form of "you all" and is used for the plural form of "you". People in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania say "yinz" to express a plural "you". In Massachusetts and some other New England states, people like to use the word "wicked" to describe the intensity of an action. "That was a wicked bad car accident" or "That test was wicked easy". The famous Boston accent is also spoken in Massachusetts. To practice this, we take the phrase "Park the car at Harvard Yard and get a cup of coffee". Now pronounce all a's long. In the end it should sound something like this: "" Pahk the cah in Hahvehd yahd and get a cup of coffee ".
Watch films from independent production companies that are based in each region. For example, if you want to speak with a Mississippi accent, find a film that is both set in Mississippi and made by a local production company.
Practice the typical words and phrases. Above all, it is important to note where the stresses are and where letters are added or omitted (e.g. in Wisconsin a "t" is often used at the end of a word when a word ends in a double s, such as "acrosst" instead of "across" and in Connecticut it is common to either leave out the "d" or to place less emphasis on it when it is in the middle of a word, such as "ranom" instead of "random").
Try to apply these special rules (omitted and added letters, stresses) to the rest of your vocabulary.
If you want to speak like a “Valley Girl” (for the girls), say things like “like” (as an interjection), “oh my god” and “a lot”. (eg: "So I was, like, walking down the street, and this guy was wearing, like, the weirdest hat, I was like 'Oh my god' cause, yeah") Many teenage girls or younger also speak so. This way of talking emerged in the US in the 1980s and was adopted by the movies back then. Older people and adults shouldn't and prefer not to speak like Valley Girls either. Some people find it offensive when someone imitates this accent.
- Been: Say "Bin" or "Ben", not "Been"
- Again: Rhymes with "ten" (-short A-sound- ga-en-)
- Often: The US accent of "often" rhymes with "coffin", although many people (especially the younger generations) use the British pronunciation "off-tin".
- Tomato: Say "Toemaytoe".
Say a tense A with a short vowel. What do you mean with that? Most Americans have two ways of pronouncing their short a's (strained and relaxed). When the A is tense, the tongue is a little further back in the mouth when pronounced, so that it sounds more like "eh-uh", "ay-uh", or "ee-yuh". Most people in the US use the tense A before M and N, and in some regions before S and G. All other short A's are loose, like in British English. The difference between the two short A-sounds gets smaller with each generation and increases the more you get to the south, where "Ian" and "Anne" are pronounced the same. In addition, a long A is spoken in California for words with “ang” or “ank”, so that “rang” sounds more like “rain” than “ran”.
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