Origin of Accents?

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Assasinof6
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Origin of Accents?

Postby Assasinof6 » Sun May 09, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

What do you believe is the point (1) or the origin (2) of accents?
I have a personal belief that it allows speakers of that tongue to be able to speak it faster, and easier. So, is it easier to speak German in a German accent, or does it matter (3)?
I see.
What?
That you don't.

Makri
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby Makri » Sun May 09, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

What exactly do you mean by "accent" here? The thing that people have in their native language, too, or foreign accents specifically?

In any case, I'm firmly convinced that your theory makes no sense. The accent isn't there because it allows people to speak with more ease; rather, they speak it with more ease because it's their accent! Or why else would so many people keep foreign accents in second languages?
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Lazar
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby Lazar » Sun May 09, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

Are you referring to the accents that people have when they speak non-native languages? These accents exist because people grow up accustomed to the phonology (sound system) of their native language, and may have difficulty mastering the phonology of another. There's no meaningful notion of speaking German with a German accent; that's merely speaking German without interference from another language.

As for regional or social accents within a language, those are simply part of how speech evolves.
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Assasinof6
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby Assasinof6 » Mon May 10, 2010 8:51 pm UTC

Sorry, I guess I really wasn't specific enough in my original question. I mean, what do you think is the reason accents (native) exist? The way people speak, their infliction, all of this, which constitutes their accent, WHAT if the point of it?
I see.
What?
That you don't.

Makri
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby Makri » Mon May 10, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Well, accents enable you to identify members of a group. Presumably, this is some kind of evolutionary benefit; otherwise adults would retain children's ability to adopt any accent very quickly. (This covers both native and non-native accents.)

On another level, given how our language acquisition works, the emergence of accents within a language is maybe a statistical phenomenon; I wouldn't know what else it could be, even if this seems intuitively implausible, seeing how absurdly accurate children can acquire articulatory differences.
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gmalivuk
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 11, 2010 12:35 am UTC

Assasinof6 wrote:I mean, what do you think is the reason accents (native) exist?
The opposite (everyone in the world speaking identically) would be *far* more surprising...
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Re: Origin of Accents?

Postby RabbitWho » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:05 pm UTC

Hey, hope I'm not bumping a zombie thread.

Anyway I read somewhere... I can't remember where but I think it was the introduction to Pygmalion... there once was a man who studied phonetics and could tell you where any one in London was from down to the street they lived on .

I think that there is no reason for accents, they are just something that happens when a community is slightly isolated.
Take Irish, there are 3 main accents (though some would actually argue they're dialects) Munster, Connacht, Ulster. Simply because the people were separated, no other reason. Then Scottish, Scottish and Irish are mutually intelligible, but less so than say Munster and Connacht Irish, they're just a bit more separated.

Then look at English accents, the Irish accent (and Hiberno-English grammar) still has traces left over from the fact our ancestors learned English as a second language, we still say things like "I'm after having my dinner" and "Don't be biting your sister!" which are direct translations from the Irish. There's also a lot of Hiberno Irish grammar which is simply left over from an older English. Like English people have stopped saying "Gotten" as the past participle of "Got" but Americans and Irish still say it. That's grammar... but sometimes if I listen to an oldish Kerry person speaking English it takes me a while to figure out if it's Irish or English they're speaking. We keep the accents which were built around our old language.
We pronounce all Rs, rarely pronounce TH, and say "noo" instead of "nyew" when we say "new". etc. etc.

These things develop through isolation. Just like your mother has a tone of voice that anyone in your family recognize as meaning you've done something wrong, we develop patterns of speech that are indigenous to our communities.


Accent > Dialect > Language
There's always arguments about where the lines are between these things.

Really we're all just speaking Indo-European but our accents are so strong and we use so many slang words that we can't understand each other.


(this is all my opinion and I'd be happy to be corrected)


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