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Major English Accents:
Standard American, Southern American, New York American, British RP, Australian

Use this list to see how a few key sounds can cause major pronunciation changes. This list shows the most common and most diverse English language accents (or dialects). Note: the point of resonance is a linguistic term. This means the place where sound appears to be reverberating in the mouth. Some languages, for instance, use more throaty sounds, others nasal sounds, others the front of the mouth, others the back of the mouth and so on. Visualizing and speaking from the point of resonance can be key in mastering an accent. Once you see all of these differences, you may be interested in the free Learn by Language classes.

Note also: Standard American and British RP are the accents used for national communication.


Point of Resonance

Letter A

Letter O

Letter I

Letter R

Letter T

Other Features

Standard American

Middle of the mouth

3 sounds, Short A in cat,” “ah” in “all” and Long A in “late”

3 sounds: short O as in “hot,” long O as in “boat,” reduced “u” sound when unstressed as in “compute.”

O in “to” reduces as in “t’day.”

2 sounds: short I in “sit,” long I in “sight.” Sometimes “E” if from other language

Not trilled, always pronounced whether first, middle or last letter

5 sounds: regular T in table, T = D between vowel sounds (water) , silent T after N (internet), Stopped T before N (written), T has stopped sound when last letter, as in “hot.”

Americans generally emphasize vowel sounds, with consonants pronounced clearly, but smoothly. Lips move with ease, in a relaxed way.

Southern American

Forward- middle of mouth

Short A has a major lilt, almost sounds like Y follows A, "cat" =  "ca(y)ut."

Short O is held out longer than standard, relaxed “oo” as in “book” and “could” has lilt

Long I is combination of “ah” and Long I, short I has lilt, "sit" = "si-ut."

Middle and final R are dropped in some regions, not all (not when R is between vowels)

Same as standard American

“lilt” on vowels, meaning sound moves up or down as vowel is pronounced, often “uh” sound at end, “ing” is usually “in’” as in laughin’

New York American

Front lower part of mouth

“aw,” “al,” and “au” (also some O spellings) are pronounced broadly as diphthong (double vowel)that ends on “uh.” Awful sounds like "o'a-ful." Short A is often reduced.

O is same as standard except lips are not rounded

Changes from IPA “ai” to “ia” in many words,  "dime" = "diam"

Middle and Final Rs are often dropped with the pitch moving down (not when R is between vowels), in very heavy accents, middle “er” sounds like “oi," "perfect" = "poifect."

Same as standard American

Jaw is moved a lot when speaking

Standard British

Front of the mouth, mouth is more closed than in American speech

A is generally “ah” as in “after,” for Long A as in “late,” the A sound is not literally long as in American., some words use short A as in “that.” This short A is also not as emphasized as American short A.

O in “to” reduces as in “t’day,” Long O  is relaxed “oo” often with a short “e” sound first, “progress” and “process” are pronounced with Long O (Americans pronounce with Short O).

“ile” reduces in American and not in British. Americans say short I in “mobil” for “mobile phone” and British say a Long I.

Drop the final R sound and the R sound before a consonant (as in “work”)

T does not reduce to a D sound between vowels, stopped T when T is final letter can be more emphasized. Stopped T’s are used in some dialects when T is in the middle, as in “bottle.”

British L is stronger than American L (tongue is pressed more); British English emphasizes consonants.


Back of the mouth, lips are fairly closed

“A” is often the British “ah,” but also sometimes the American short A, especially when N follows. Australians combine British and American A sounds.

Long O becomes diphthong “ow/ou” as in “ouch,” “ow” becomes short A

“ay” becomes Long I, Long I becomes “oy”

Same as Britsh

T and D combine when in the middle, as in “better.”

L is often dropped in the middle of a word, first H is often dropped.

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