Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What North American accent do you have?

There has been a lot of discussion over on the Forensic Linguistics mailing list about the following quiz to identify what North American accent you have. I haven't thoroughly analyzed the responses having to do with the accuracy of its "algorithm", however the sense that I took away from the debate is that it works more than well enough to be impressive but is not completely infallible (which seems to be the case for many attention-grabbing items on the Internet). Plus, it is a good bit of fun... Enjoy!


a.a said...

Apparently if I was north american, I would be from the midlands :).

Did you get an accurate reading of geo-position?

Keith said...

Yes, it correctly answered "Southern" for me.

Alli said...

I actually did this and it said I was from the midlands, which I guess is correct because I was born in Indianapolis, but I only lived there until I was 5 when I moved to Columbia, South Carolina. Would only living in Indiana for such a short time really affect how I speak? I mean, I'm only 18 and lived in SC for 13 years, which would make me think I would have more of a southern accent.

Keith said...

Hmmm... Good question. Not knowing anything else (including never hearing a recording of your voice or the accent or accents used in your home when you were a young child), it would be reasonable to assume that your accent is likely some combination of both areas. Whether the algorithm in this program is sensitive enough to tease out the underlying Indianapolis accent is not something I have a handle on yet!

Sarah said...

(Yep, from SSP. Your blog's in my bookmarks now.)

It tied for Midlands and Inland North. I was born in neither of those areas. I was born here. Hmmm... I'll be thinking about that.

Keith said...

Hi, Sarah!
Hmmm... Perhaps your accent is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, to borrow a famous quotation? You are not the only one who got "interesting" results. It could have to do with being a teenager. I seem to recall that Dragon Naturally Speaking, the speech recognition system, initially had trouble correctly recognizing the speech of teenagers because its models were developed using the vocal tract lengths of adults. An additional few inches in the vocal tract can make a lot of difference as to the resonances from the voice, right? Don't get me wrong - I'm not calling you short! Just a little shy of a full adult vocal tract length!