Community Web Version Now Available
Speaking without an accent

I just read this article "Is there a place in America where people speak without accents?" which I found very interesting.

As the question about "speaking without an accent" is asked here very often, I thought I should share it with you

Aug 23, 2016 1:55 PM
Comments · 10
If you speak a language, you have an accent. Accent is an essential characteristic of intelligible speech.  To say otherwise is either logically impossible or a figure of speech e.g. when someone speaks with what is considered to be the most common or dominant accent of a language.
August 23, 2016
As a non-American, I would disagree that the "General American" speech described in the article is a non-accent. To me it's an American accent. Maybe in some languages it is possible to speak without an accent, but I suspect there is no such a thing as accentless English: what may seem accentless in the USA will seem like an American accent in Britain; what may seem accentless in England will be an English accent to a Scot, etc.
August 23, 2016
Of course everyone has an accent, and of course everyone thinks that his own accent is “no accent.” That being said, regional differences in the US pale in comparison to those in England, much less Great Britain and China (where people are actually native speakers of other languages).

As far a General American, if we define that as the American accent with the fewest regional features, we will come up with an accent from some midpoint in the country, that will be least objectionable to the greatest number of Americans. As usual, the business world, motivated by profit, has solved the riddle for us. They paid for linguists to do exhaustive phonological research, and found that the most neutral American accent is in southern and central Iowa. That is where newscasters and other TV personalities from both coasts have traditionally gone to improve their speach. (Nowadays, they don’t have to physically travel there, since the pronunciation is well-documented as General American.) Obviously, this is only “neutral” in relation to American accents — it does not take British, Australian, or other accents into account at all. Note that this is absolutely not a “prestige accent” — it is just meant to sound as “normal” as possible to the greatest number of Americans.

August 23, 2016
That's interesting! 
August 26, 2016

These two videos give some more tips about the ¨broadcaster accent.¨  In the YouTube video, Fun Tour of American Accent, the narrator demonstrates that broadcasters vary their melody in more extreme ways than normal. (This portion starts at 4:15 if you do not enjoy listening to all her accents.)

In the pronunciation video  ¨Julia Boorstin - Interview with a Broadcaster¨  Rachel from Rachel´s English discusses with her tips that she does as a broadcaster to pronounce things in a more clear, understandable way. 

August 24, 2016
Show More
Language Skills
Bosnian, Croatian, English, German, Serbian
Learning Language
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian