American Accents – Test Your Listening Comprehension

Posted On: October 30, 2013

Test your American English comprehension by listening to these videos of various American accents!  

I urge you – don’t just listen, shadow! If you hear an accent had by your client, listen, stop the video and mimic it! It will help your listening comprehension when talking with your clients, as well!   

This first video showcases the following accents

  • Classic American
  • Valley Girl (California, San Fernando Valley, actually; a sociolect)
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • New York
  • Ebonics (This term is avoided by linguists. A better description of this ethnolect is African American Vernacular English (AAVE). “Ebonics” is often used as a derisive description of AAVE and includes exaggerated speech features.)
  • California (majority accent)
Listen to the video here.

(Thank you, Alan Headbloom, for offering the more detailed descriptions of the accents, above.)

Amy Walker on YouTube is really good at changing accents. She has made this video on a wide variety of American Accents, including New York, Southern, Midwest, California (West Coast), the Newscaster, the Flight Attendant, and others.

Watch her.. she’s awesome how she changes her facial expressions and mannerisms to change to the different personalities of the different accents.

She says something awesome at the end…

“….this will help you to expand your identity, who you are to include these other things. With this, it doesn’t mean you aren’t who you were before… you’re just adding to that!” Kudos to that!!

For me, this collage of accents is not complete without the Boston accent. I lived in Boston for awhile and used to get lost quite a bit when I first moved there because I just couldn’t understand their accent!

The Long Island accent. This is from the popular TV show, Seinfeld. You will instantly notice the distinctive Long Island accent as spoken by the sole lady in this scene.

Last, but not least is my accent. Many people often think I am from Minnesota, but no, I am from Central New York about 400 miles from New York City (I do not have a New York City or Long Island accent). This video was made in 2009 before I really learned presentation skills. Some of my students have listened to this video and say I speak a lot faster here than I do now. In fact, when asked to transcribe my talk, many are unable to get all the words correct! Seems like I was talking too fast, then!

Thank you for spending time on my site. I am Jennifer Kumar, a cross cultural, language and accent trainer based in Kochi, India. To learn more about the American Accent program available in Kochi (Infopark), Kerala and throughout India, click here.  

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