I was watching Design on a Dime, and was trying to figure out Kristan Cunningham's accent. My guess was that she's a southerner whose accent has morphed because she lives in California.
I was right. She's originally from West Virginia. I don't know what the "true" accent is down there, but I'm guessing that it's more pronounced than her current accent.
I've met southerners whose accents have naturally changed because they've lived in the north for a while, and others who purposely changed their accent to avoid scorn. One time I met someone at a party, and when she told me she that was from Tennessee, I was surprised because she didn't have a southern accent. She said that she'd trained herself to get rid of it because she didn't want people to think she was dumb.
Conversely, I've met northerners who've taken on a southern drawl after living down there for a while. I wonder if accent-snob northerners are as horrified as the ones who've made the Tennessee woman feel like a lesser person, because she dared to speak her true identity.
Update: it seems that Kristan's accent has changed--it seems to have become more "flat." I wonder if she saw this post ;)
The same problem exists in Canada. People from my part of the country (Cape Breton) and especially people from Newfoundland are sometimes looked down upon because of the accent. Here in Malaysia, we see the exact same thing: people from the east coast (Kelantan and Terengganu) are often ridiculed for the way they speak. I've never really had a strong Cape Breton accent, so I'm not sure how much I've lost. Anyway, a good example of someone changing their accent (other than self-conscious examples like Madonna) is the wife of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. She's American, but in her speech a hint of an Australian accent is beginning to emerge!
I'm always amazed when actors and actresses are able to change their accent. But there is always a hint of their real accent in there somewhere.
Except for Charlize Theron. I compared her voice in Monster to her voice in The Devil's Advocate and she's really managed to take on an American accent well. Even when she gives interviews, her accent is pure American. And she claims she had a really thick South African accent.
It's cool to pay attention to accents. I've even spotted an accent blending on yet another HGTV show--the woman has a "strange" British accent. But then I found out the show is produced in Australia, which might explain it.
Jordan--do you speak Bahasa Malay?
Ya, saya boleh cakap bahasa melayu! I do speak it, and I'm improving a little every week. Everyone says it's such an easy language, but so far of all the other white folk I know here, even those married to Malays, I've only met one other who can speak the language with some fluency. That's because you could live here without ever having to speak it, because of the ubiquity of English.
If someone asked me to describe an Australian accent, I'd say: take one part Southern American twang and mix it with two parts British.
English is Malaysia is what makes travel there easier (I've been there twice). I'm surprised, though, that people don't need to learn Malay to survive there.
I agree with Amy's description of the Australian accent. One time I asked a Southerner if she was from Australia because I mistakenly thought she was an Australian living in the U.S. She looked at me incredulously. I'm sure that no one had assumed that before.
Her accent is very much like mine and that of several friends whose parents are from Ireland. (We are not from the South; we're Northeasterners.)
Cool--I just met a guy from Chicago whose parents came from Ireland, but he didn't have an accent like hers at all. Hers is definitely a southern one, at least.
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