Linguists divide the U.S. Map into four distinct American accent regions, each with a corresponding American dialect: the inland north, midland, or northern region, the south, and the west, according to respective vowel shift patterns–the Northern cities shift, the Southern shift, and the western low back merger.
- Some linguists have advocated for an interpretation of the dialect map which doesn”t make clear distinctions between midland territories and instead uses the generalized terms north and south.
The cot/caught vowel merger causing both of these words to be pronounced similarly in the western and eastern part of the country has not completely taken hold in the Midwest, where each sound is distinct. This is an integral feature present in the Northern cities vowel shift as it continues to progress along the east coast of the country, thus preventing the merger from becoming universal across all American dialects.
- Northern shift speakers enunciate the short /a/ sound by placing the tongue near the front of the mouth, also utilizing this same procedure for the short /o/. Dialects that feature the merger pronounce this sound near the back of the throat.
Did Europe Influence the American Accent?
Both the New York and Boston American accents are influenced by received pronunciation of the non-rhotic British accent. Therefore the