Where Did The American Accent Come From?

We cannot be certain.

This is because the first English explorers started establishing colonies on the East coast in the early 17th century, and we don’t have many texts describing what they sounded like after a few decades of living on the new land. Nor do we have audio recordings, because we only started seeing them over two hundred years later. Therefore, there is quite a gap in our knowledge of how America gained its lingual diversity.

Note that these British settlers were certainly not the posh kind of British people Americans stereotype them to be. Rather, they spoke a Tudor dialect which is a lot different to common belief and came from all other the British Isles.

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British people three hundred years ago actually did speak with the hard “r” which is common in America today. Basically, the posh “Received Pronunciation” accent only came after the Victorians, when it became popular to speak with a “h” sound instead of an “r”. So the early Americans that came from the European island must have sounded more similar to Americans today than we think they did. No – they weren’t the kind of British colonists we know them as.

Upon arrival, there was probably quite a mash up of talk. Furthermore, other European countries were scrambling for landholdings in America. As British colonists probably had quite a lot of interaction with these foreign people, it’s likely that an effort would have been made to better learn their languages, resulting in a manipulation of the original English that had turned up from across the seas.

Typical American speech would have developed over a long period of time, so there is no way to state a specific date when “this” went to “that”.

The East Coast received a lot of traffic from European countries and African slaves, so what makes states in the North East distinct from ones on the West Coast is a combination of inhabitants migrating from the “centre” of the world, whereas the West Coast got more from Asia and the Far East – they were closer to there than Europe.

So there is no straight answer to the question. America is a complete mix of many nations and the origins of each accent is hard to define, seen as speech in Europe, for example, wasn’t the same as it is today.

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