VSL// Map the world through its many (many) accents

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.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL// Map the world through its many (many) accents