How did the American accent develop exactly? If they knew no other way of talking, then how did they start speaking different? I know there are all different types of accents around America also, but still, New Englanders don’t have the same accent as Great Britain. How did all these different accents develop,…
Alaric has the key point — BOTH American and British accents have changed since the 17th century. In fact, some of the things we MOST identify with the standard “Received Pronunciation” (which was NOT the standard dialect in the colonial period) were features that did not exist at that time, e.g., the ‘dropping’ or r in at the end of many words.
But perhaps you are simply looking for exactly where the variety of American accents came from? If so, the following may help.
In colonial times there were already FOUR main regional dialects — and these became the foundations for the main regional dialects we have today. Contrary to some popular ideas, the differences were NOT mainly due to the influence of other groups (immigrants from other nations, Native Americans). Instead, each of the regions was primarily populated by people from a DIFFERENT region of England.
That is, there were four distinct migrations of English speaking people to America during the colonial period (1607-1775), each coming mainly from a different part of the British Isles. Thus each of these groups brought their OWN culture, including ways of speaking.
Here are those four migrations:
1. New England – Puritan Migrations (1629-40) from East Anglia
2. Coastal South (Virginia to Florida) -Cavalier Migrations (1642-1675) from South England
3. New Jersey, Pennsylvania – Quaker migrations (1675-1725)from the Midlands area of England (near Wales)
4. Appalachian English – Scots-Irish migrations (1715-1775), mostly English people from Britain’s Celtic fringe (North England, Northern Ireland)
For a nice summary of each of these and how their language affected modern American English, as well as some of the other factors that helped to shape the dialects, check out the notes at this link:
Compare also the following article. It oddly only mentions three of the dialects, but the explanation is helpful:
There is also a fine book by David Hackett Fisher, called *Albion’s Seed* which describes not just the language (in fact, not mainly that), but ALL the distinct “folkways” of each of these four groups. . . and ways these can be seen in later American history.
By the way, the distinct ENGLISH dialects themselves also go way back. Apparently, from the very beginnings of Old English there were distinct groups and dialects as the ‘founders’ of the language migrated from mainland Europe from different places at different times. (That is, there has NEVER been just ONE English language.)
For more on this, check out the intro and first chapter of *The Stories of English* by David Crystal (the choice of “stor-iES” instead of “story” is very deliberate.) A brief discussion of THESE dialects and the factors that explain them may be found at the beginning of the web page I cited first above.
It is just the way the language has developed over the years. People from many different places in the UK (and the rest of Europe followed later on) migrated to the United States and all these dialects and accents mixed together. Nowadays when you listen to American speakers of English you can still hear where their ancestors came from.
It is just caused by change and development of the language over the course of time, it has nothing to do with “wanting to be different”.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to then just pay very close attention to the movies you watch. I watched harry potter and the chamber of secrets so many times and my mom would ask me if i will never get tired of it. I would listen, pause and imitate… listen, pause and imitate. And I think it also depends on the “flexibility” of your tongue. Some people can’t do it no matter what. But I think patience will take you far. Practice can’t really bring us perfection but it will bring us close to that. I am from the Philippines and I can do a little of the accents I want to imitate, even american and british. I just got it through years of being patient and learning.
There is a fallacy here. In the same period British English has not remained unchanged. Over any period of time languages change, and if there is a geographical or social or political separation there will tend to be partly parallel but independent (separate but equal) changes. As to what causes languages to change at all, no one really knows. Early in the 20th cent. the great linguist Otto Jespersen listed something like 10 or more different theories, none of them proven, and relatively little has changed. There are now attempts to model language change mathematically, but still not much is known.
And to add – the British now don’t speak with the same accents that the British did 200, 300, 400 years ago.
The Americans don’t speak the same as their ancestors either.
Both accents have developed – and so moved apart.
Different accent “than,” not “then.”
May I recommend that you read “The Adventure of English” by Melvyn Bragg? It has a very good section on the development of accents.
I think it was intentional because they wanted to separate from Great Britain in as many was as they could, but still be able to communicate.
Integration of consonant to vowels.
British has more consonant than vowels, African has more vowel than consonants; American is in middle of them.
British accent has more consonant because they lived in a cold place and their body was more ordered.
The development took only a second, milisecond, or microsecond, more less. It happened instantly and super instantly.
The cause is wether around them, and orderliness of their body. More orderly body, cold, high density body; more unorderly body, hot, less density body.
Of course, exception exist, but these are basic rule and principle of the world.