UK Accent that sounds American

Listen to David Singleton of Google in this video-

His accent sounds somewhat Scottish some of the time, but most of the time he sounds more like an American than someone from the UK. Would this be a personal thing, maybe the effect of living for years in the U.S., or is there a region where the people speak like this?

Northern Irish, Protestant I’d guess. Been in the US, say, 4-5 years at least.

I stumbled across that video yesterday and was wondering to myself what the folks here would make of it.

Northern Ireland, definitely, but clearly influenced by bits of USA accent that I can’t place (on account of their mixed/partial nature). Maybe west coast.

Pronunciation of ‘About’ is the giveaway for NI accent, for me.

And “wear”, for me.

There isn’t a distinct West Coast American accent, other than Valley-Girl/LA affectations. If you hear a random person from, say, San Jose you could not tell if they were from CA, Indiana or Idaho.

Watching the British series “Sherlock”, I (Northeast US, but without much regional accent) assumed the character of Moriarty was supposed to be American, speaking in a rather overripe Jim Carrey sort of inflection - a parody of US speech if you will.

But posters on IMDb insist the actor (who’s in fact Irish) has a Dublin 4 accent (the 4 refers to a particular district). Doesn’t sound like anything I’d call Irish, but then I’ve never been to Dublin.

OP, where in the US do you think he sounds like he might be from? He doesn’t sound American to me.

I couldn’t say where i Dublin but agree Dublin it is.

He sounds like an Irish person who is especially susceptible to picking up the local accents and flattens certain inflections / pronunciations to what you would hear in mixed US technology circles which is probably where he spends 90% of his working life. He does not sound truly “American” in the slightest (IMO).

There are various Irish accents. Some of them (Liam Neeson comes to mind) are not too dissimilar from American. Haven’t American accents incorporated some Irish influence, after all? That’d be one of the main factors differentiating it from British accents. The rhotic [r] in particular. Funny thing is how much Irish influence there is in Liverpool, yet Scouse is as non-rhotic as London, which makes it sound nothing like American. But if I remember right, the prevailing theory is that American and Irish accents are more conservative, and it’s England that has innovated and diverged. Like the loss of the rhotic [r] for one thing. Ireland, Canada, and (most of) America have kept it.

That’s why Irish actors, back in the old days of “all Americans sound like cartoon Texans” BBC accent training, could pull off a neutral, General American accent. In the 70s our PBS station would follow Monty Python with Dave Allen, and Allen’s American accent was a relief. You can still hear the old BBC accent on Channel 4; the ones who couldn’t make it in Hollywood are stuck in Radio Prison.

As point of reference the Monty Python troupe had (when portraying Americans) the worst American accents in their skits I have ever heard attempted. It made your ears bleed they were so badly done. They were Dick Van Dyke doing a Cockney accent class awful.

I tend to agree. He sounds like an Irish guy who is in the process of losing his Irish accent and acquiring an American one. But I can’t imagine any American listening to him for more than 15 seconds without thinking he wasn’t American.

When I lived in New Zealand, people would tell me my (generic American) accent sounded Irish, because I “rolled my r’s.”

American here;

He doesn’t sound American.

I listened to the video. Definitely sounds like Ulster speech. I guess I can understand how an English listener might find it similar to American, because of what I said above, the strongly articulated rhotic quality of /r/, done in a similar manner to General American or Canadian: an approximant, not a trill as you’d hear in Scotland. Ulster accent sounds to me like a somewhat Scottish-influenced (in the vowels) Irish accent, or a variety of Irish accent devoid of the lilt heard in the Republic, which brings it closer to the flatness of American.

He was clearly not American, but the accent is quite a bit flatter than what I would usually think of as Irish or Scottish. The R is almost exaggerated, compared to an American accent. It reminds me of an interview I heard with an Indian who taught call center employees how to speak with American Accents. His was close, but he overcompensated with the Rs.

The accent in the Google video reminded me of a thread around here a long time ago. There was a youtube video of a guy in Counterstrike who had been pissing off all the other players on a European server. They were complaining (in a variety of English accents) about the American asshole. He kept insisting he wasn’t an American, but sounded kind of like someone from the northern Midwest except for a couple of vowels and saying "haitch"when referring to the letter H.

I disagree. People in the Midwest sound slightly different to me.

Depends a bit on class. A middle class professional in L.A. will sound like a middle class professional in Missouri. However if you go into a trailer park in Missouri you will hear South Midland, which I have never heard in California. There are slight differences though, from the Midwesterner you are more likely to get “Fir” for “For” and “Jist” for “Just”. I couldn’t put my finger on anything that would be distinctly Californian however. So many people move here from everywhere that I don’t know if there is much chance for a regional accent to develop.

Other examples of bad American accents performed by Brits include:
Thunderbirds and other Gerry Anderson offerings
The James Bond franchise - for example the workers laying pipe in Diamonds are Forever (just before and afterJB finds himself buried inside, with a rat)