Think you can do a believable foreign accent? Test yourself against almost every accent in English at The Speech Accent Archive, a site that collects and displays hundreds of accent samples from around the world.
The Speech Accent Archive’s Steven Weinberger, a professor of linguistics at George Mason University and the administer of the site, has written a 69-word “elicitation paragraph” about conducting such activities as picking up blue cheese or meeting a certain Stella at the train station, which he claims contains almost every sound in English. Native and non-native speakers from around the world are recorded reading the paragraph, and these recordings and their phonetic transcriptions are posted on a world map for your perusal. Check it out for some interesting discoveries—some native Alaskans sound a lot like they’re from California, for instance—or to test your accuracy before embarking on any risky impersonations.
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