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Despite growing up in both Georgia and Texas, I’ve managed to cultivate a distinctly neutral American accent, probably thanks to my father’s speech training. Perhaps it’s this lack of accent in my own speaking voice that’s given me an interest in English accents from around the country and the world. I often practice different international accents for fun (hey, don’t judge) and I’ve long looked for a reference beyond stereotypical portrayals in comedy movies.
Tonight I found the most comprehensive and complete guide for English accents from all over the world. It’s called the International Dialects of English Archive, and it catalogs audio samples from English speakers both in English-speaking countries (for different regional dialects) and elsewhere (for second-language speakers). So whether you’d like to study the sounds of Savannah, Georgia or Georgia, former Soviet Union, IDEA has you covered. It’s a project of the University of Kansas.
Incidentally, if IDEA were to catalog my normal accent, they’d probably classify it as Nebraskan: Omaha, Nebraska has been documented as having the most neutral accent in the U.S. That’s why a lot of telemarketing and customer service centers used to be located there, before being shipped off to India. Of course, when I’m tired or really angry, my voice takes a southbound train to rural Texas in a hurry.