18 Stories

Not Only Do Fish 'Talk,' They Have Accents

Marine biologist launches study on the regional dialects of cod

(Newser) - Not only do cod "speak" to each other, but they have "regional fish accents"—kind of like the aquatic version of a southern drawl—and that could be bad news for fish-and-chips lovers, Wired reports. According to the Boston Globe , marine biologist Steve Simpson recently started a... More »

Enjoy Your 'Th' Sounds Now, They'll Be Gone by 2066

According to a new report from British linguistic experts

(Newser) - The Queen's English as spoken in the UK is under attack by immigrants, computers, American television, and youths. Or should we say yoofs? In a report published Thursday, linguistic experts at the University of York predict major changes in Brits' pronunciation of the English language by 2066, the Sun... More »

Texas Woman Comes Out of Surgery With British Accent

Lisa Alamia was born and raised in Lone Star State but doesn't sound like it anymore

(Newser) - When Lisa Alamia says the word "kitten," she's not talking about a cat—it's just what it sounds like when the Texas woman says "kidding," a British affectation that isn't an affectation at all, but a symptom of the foreign accent syndrome she... More »

Why Australians Talk Funny: Drunk Forefathers?

Professor makes his case

(Newser) - A communications professor in Australia has caused quite a stir Down Under with a public complaint that almost everyone there talks like drunks. In tracing the origins of the Australian accent in the Age , Dean Frenkel of Victoria University describes its Aboriginal, English, Irish, and German roots. So far, so... More »

News Anchor Defends Why She Rolls Her R's

'Certain words just sound better when said in their natural way': bilingual anchor

(Newser) - Donald Trump doesn't think Jeb Bush is setting a very good example for Americans when he speaks Spanish, but a bilingual Arizona news anchor is likely in the Bush camp on this one. Vanessa Ruiz—who was born in Miami, grew up in Colombia, and studied in Spain before... More »

Why It's So Hard to Get Rid of Your Accent

Tip: Try being under 5 years old

(Newser) - Even after we've become well-versed in a second language, that native accent can be tough to shake. In short, an expert tells LiveScience , that's because you probably are older than age five. Between birth and that age, our flexible minds are good at picking up different sounds. But... More »

Driver Sues FedEx, Says Was Fired for Russian Accent

Ex-trucker says company discriminated, didn't give him chance to prove his English

(Newser) - A Utah truck driver alleges FedEx fired him because of his Russian accent, even though he offered to appear before corporate higher-ups to demonstrate his English-speaking abilities. Ismail Aliyev has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against FedEx and the long-haul contractor that employed him. Aliyev says his trouble started months... More »

Goats Have Accents: Study

Goats' 'voices' not entirely genetic, change over time, scientists say

(Newser) - It turns out accents aren't just for people from Long Island: Goats have them as well, a team of British researchers has demonstrated. Until now, experts had assumed that goats' "voices" were dictated entirely by genetics. Genetics do play a role, the researchers found, as siblings had similar... More »

Oregon Woman Wakes From Surgery With Weird Accent

Karen Butler believed to have rare 'foreign accent syndrome'

(Newser) - Oregon native Karen Butler woke up from dental surgery with an accent that's not from Oregon—or anywhere else in the world. Butler, 56, who experts believe may be a victim of the rare but real condition "foreign accent syndrome," now speaks with an accent described as... More »

Twitter Shows Nation's Regional Accents

Linguists think that's pretty 'koo'

(Newser) - The constant stream of communication being published by Twitter users has provided linguists with a window into regional dialects, the AP reports. Carnegie Mellon researchers examined 380,000 tweets from a week in March and found different patterns of speech for different regions. "I think that it shows is... More »

Russell Crowe Walks Out on Interviewer

Volatile star doesn't like questions about 'Robin Hood' accent, 'Gladiator' line

(Newser) - He didn't throw anything, but Russell Crowe is making headlines again for his temper. The Robin Hood star walked out on a BBC interviewer who pushed him a bit too far with questions about the legendary outlaw's accent—and some stale gossip about Gladiator. "Front Row" host Mark Lawson... More »

Arizona Goes After Teachers With Accents

If not 'fluent,' they can't teach English learners

(Newser) - Arizona is already under fire for its controversial new immigration law, and now this: Schools in the state are being forced to fire or reassign some teachers who speak English with an accent. Teachers who aren’t deemed fluent can’t be in classrooms where students are still learning English,... More »

Headache Gives British Woman a Chinese Accent

'Foreign Accent Syndrome' apparently a real thing

(Newser) - As if migraine sufferers didn't already have enough to worry about, a woman in Plymouth, England, recently had a headache so powerful that it replaced her British accent with a Chinese one. As ridiculous as it sounds, doctors say she actually has a rare condition known as Foreign Accent Syndrome,... More »

Babies Cry in Their Parents' Language

Within 3 days, French, German infants wail differently

(Newser) - It’s apparently possible for a baby to cry in French. Within three days of birth, babies begin to pick up the accent of their parents, according to a study. Researchers analyzed 60 newborns—half French, half German—and discovered that soon the French babies took on a specific cry,... More »

Look Out, London— Paris Is Coming

Heiress wants to live in UK so her kids have accents

(Newser) - Paris Hilton's first name may recall France, but the heiress has her sights set on its neighbor to the north: "I would like to raise my kids in the UK so that they have British accents and manners,” she said in an interview with Glamour obtained by the... More »

What's in an Accent? Outsider Credibility

Voters ready to lend their ears to the unique mishmash of Western dialects

(Newser) - Some say folksy, some say Fargo, and some say shrill. Whatever it sounds like, Sarah Palin's accent is getting more attention than anyone's since JFK, Daniel Libit writes in Politico. The accent—which linguists peg as a mish-mash of Western dialects—is a fresh one for presidential politics, after decades... More »

The Southern Drawl's Double Standard

Only GOP candidates are allowed to 'tahlk like thee-us'

(Newser) - When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stumped in Arkansas, each tried on a Southern drawl, and both were roundly mocked as pandering Yankees. Even John Edwards, a native Southerner, was accused of “carefully maintaining” his accent for political effect. Yet Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee were allowed to drawl... More »

Bloggers Battle Over Hillary Hoax

Out-of-context audio clip used to make her look fake (not just hopelessly white)

(Newser) - Conservative blogs went into overdrive Tuesday when an audio clip of Hillary Clinton "putting on" a southern drawl began circulating, but the accent was more miscalculated than counterfeit. The clip was culled from a speech in Selma in which Clinton quoted a hymn written in vernacular. Conservative commentators went... More »

18 Stories