Accent Reduction Training: Increasingly Localized
As was discussed in a previous article, the standard California accent is thought to be closest in tone to the standard American English spoken throughout the Midwest and emphasized in accent reduction training. A direct result of Midwestern settlers migrating to San Francisco during the gold rush period from 1848-1855. It is now widely taught to incoming actors and actresses to Los Angeles. After initial research revealed that most Californians were unaware of the ways in which their speech and native dialect differentiated from the various American dialects spoken across the United States, linguist Penny Eckert spearheaded The Voices of California Project.
Eckert was supported in her efforts by a team of 15 researchers, 3 professors and 12 graduate students. The project began in 2009 with the goal of providing an accurate, detailed description of the general California accent across the state while simultaneously documenting the unique aspects of individual American dialects found in California”s major cities. The inherent objectivity of the project sought to eliminate racial and ethic linguistic stereotypes. Eckert”s team was in Bakersfield, California from September 3-14th 2012, canvassing the neighborhoods for lifetime residents to interview after spending time in Merced and Redding the previous two years