How did the "American Voice" come to be?
June 8, 2004 8:30 PM Subscribe
I was listening to sound recordings of Theodore Roosevelt's voice,
circa 1912, and was struck by TR's accent. It's nasal and aristocratic, and there are hints of both modern British and American dialects. I couldn't quite pin down TR's accent to a stereotypical New York, New England, or Long Island dialect. Which got me wondering:
At what point did the vocal style of American and Canadian English become distinct from British and Scottish English? I know that regional dialects are shaped by the immigrant communities that populated that region. But there is a fundamental difference between accents on either side of the Atlantic.
Put another way, what did Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin "sound" like? And how did the generic Midwest voice that we call "American" - Mr. Game Show Host and Ms. Voicemail - develop from the milieu of voices of Puritans, German/Irish immigrants, and slaves?
posted by PrinceValium to society & culture (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite