What American Accent Is This?

I found it! I found a clip! I’ve been wanting to ask about this for so long!

Every now and then on the radio (NPR) I’ve heard interviewees with a particular American accent that I do not know the geographic location of. Every time I hear it, I completely fail to note who the person is and as a result haven’t been able to follow up on this.

It almost sounds to my ear like a very light Irish accent. But I hear it from enough apparently American-born-and-bred people that I know that’s not what it is.

And now I’ve found a person on youtube who has this accent. It’s the host on this video clip of the Harry Potter cast imitating an American Accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYKY4IuxTXc

Again, I’m not talking about any of their accents, I’m talking about this host’s native American accent. The (to my ear) exaggerated crunchy R’s, slightly fronted vowels, that stuff.

What is this accent?

I know a guy born and raised in Boston who talks like that, rarely with any trace of the usual Boston accent. I notice he has the same deep voice and manner of expelling his words. Maybe it’s not a regional accent so much as a style of speaking.

He has learnt to speak English to keep it clear and understandable, somewhat evolved for the purpose in political circles, radio, tv and all media .
I think he knows it, and he is on purpose being somewhat ironic to say “speak american”. He is speaking English in the international media accent…
Perhaps easier for him due to the New England and Jewish backgrounds… but still he grew up listening to the top news presents and voicer over voices…
You know , the advert has some sort of dialect speaking people representing home users,and the voice over is like a well educated commentator saying “yep, those ethnic people that that insular place like it too !”.
Of course the dialect is just Miamian or Laxian or Bronxian or something, but … you know what I mean.

I can’t listen to the clip from here, but I think what you’re talking about might be “transatlantic.” Nowadays it’s a self-taught vocal style usually picked up from old recordings of newscasters or professional speakers, or it’s a specifically taught “accent” for radio hosts, actors, presenters, and other vocal performers that is supposedly neutral and equally understandable to English and American listeners. I learned a bit of Skinner’s American Theatre Standard version in school, although even at the time it was a bit out of vogue.

There’s a fairly solid wikipedia article about it.

Some people in Boston might speak like that, but I’m sure you know that is not a typical “Boston accent”.

It’s, for lack of a better word, standard newscaster American English. What we would call “no accent”. Most people in CA* speak like that, as do some in parts of the midwest. And since these are all British actors trying to sound “American”, it’s not surprising that they have been trained to speak that way. I’m sure if they were told to sound like someone from New York, they’d pronounce things differently.

*Perhaps the entire West Coast.

:smack: Oh, the interviewer. Sorry, I missed that. He has sort of a “millennial” accent. Younger (mostly white) people seem to speak that way, especially in large population centers. Especially the way he pronounces his long Os. But I don’t detect any regional accent.

Maybe someone from the northeast with some southern Californian influence with the long O sounds? (i.e. on “Talk Shohwe”). That sounds very Los Angeles to me. The real test is hearing how he does final ‘l’ sounds after a open vowel.

For what it’s worth, the host appears to be this Josh Horowitz, who notes he was “Born and bred in New York City”.

I’m not sure it IS worth that much - that page describes him as a “News Personality”, underscoring the likelihood that he trained himself to speak with some sort of “neutral” newscaster accent somewhere along the line, as noted by others. Lord knows what he sounded like when he was a high school kid from NYC.

At first it sounded like a ‘surfer’ accent, but not quite. (A girlfriend from New Orleans once told me I had a ‘surfer’ accent. I was like, ‘Chyah! As if!’ Also, an earlier girlfriend’s sister said I had a hint of an Irish accent. Weird, eh?)

That sounds more like a social accent rather than a regional one.
He sounds like an upper crust Harvard prep boy.

There’s an added difficulty because he’s trying to get the actors to say certain words and phrases and whenever you do that, you tend to emphasize words differently than you do in normal speech. It would be much easier to gauge the guy if we heard him speaking for 3 or 4 minutes continuously, instead of little sound bites here and there.

I don’t know about calling it a learned accent, or international English. A ton of people sound like that in New York City.

Definitely sounds like a common NYC Jewish accent.

The clip you posted immediately reminded me of comedian Ari Shaffir. I’m not sure where Ari was born, but he did spend some college years attending Yeshiva University in NYC.

ETA: found a google hit that indicates Ari was also born in NYC.

Here’s another one I found, a much better example actually. Not Rehm, the guest. http://thedianerehmshow.org/audio/#/shows/2015-12-14/a-conversation-with-cellist-alisa-weilerstein/111508/@00:00

In the interview she says she was born in Rochester, moved to Cleveland at age 7, and moved with her family to NYC at an unspecified age.

I think the key data in that bio may be the sentence before that, where it says he was on-air talent on the campus radio station.

To my ear he has what I’ve heard called a “broadcast voice”. It used to be taught to anyone studying broadcasting as it is clear and easy for people to understand. I am told it was based on the way people speak in Iowa.

I think I can hear just a trace of New York City in Josh’s voice, but I doubt that’s what is puzzling you.

Her accent sounds totally different from that of Josh Horowitz.


also +1

Sounds plain American to me.