Little Map Lost February 27, 2011 3:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a MeFi post, please! I think it was posted in the last week.

I think it was a to a world map with little clickable recordings of people reading a passage of a book. And I think you could record your own and map your location to add yourself to the project.

I bookmarked it meaning to go back and check it out, and then like a moron deleted the bookmark. Ugh.

Any ideas?


p.s. I'm hoping it has someone from California reading it in their regionally California accent because I'm trying to convince someone who doesn't believe that there's such a thing as a California accent that there is, in fact, a California accent. So if anyone has a good example of someone with a California accent, that would be awesome. I still want to see this map, though.
posted by phunniemee to MetaFilter-Related at 3:22 PM (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The Speech Accent Archive has been around for years. May not be the one you mean, but should have what you need.

("Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob." *hehe*)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:27 PM on February 27, 2011

Map your voice was first here but recently was in a deleted post(Thanks, Google Reader!)
posted by knile at 3:33 PM on February 27, 2011

One Language, Many Voices, referring to Evolving English Map.
posted by Paragon at 3:33 PM on February 27, 2011

Don't forget this oldie but goodie.
posted by unliteral at 3:39 PM on February 27, 2011

knile, that was the one I was thinking of. Didn't even think to look through the deleted posts. D'oh. Thanks for finding it!

These links all look good. I'm totally going to win this bet.
posted by phunniemee at 3:57 PM on February 27, 2011

There definitely is a California accent! The most clear characteristic is turning "ee" sounds into "eh" sounds. Like "feel" sounds more like "fell." Or "really" comes out more like "rehlly." There are others but those are the ones I can think of right now.

I grew up in Northern California and hear myself talking like this sometimes, and I notice it in other California natives too. I didn't really notice it until I moved out of state.
posted by apricot at 6:17 PM on February 27, 2011

Oh, you want evidence for California accents? Well then. I shall hereby drop some knowledge, though it's a little outside my usual area. (I feel like I've seen oodles of posters on various California phonetics at Acoustical Society of America conferences, but now I can't find any of them.)

Lauren Hall-Lew has written about San Francisco vowels. Robert Hagiwara measured southern Californians' vowels, which differ even from the new classic American English vowels described in Hillenbrand et al 1995. You can also take a look at Shira Katseff's dissertation. Various other sources cite a special issue of the American Speech journal (Thomas, 2001) as being a reference for the fronting of high back vowels in Calfiornia English.
posted by knile at 4:29 AM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

The most characteristic trait of a California accent, IMCalifornianO, is the raising and flattening of "oh" sounds.

In high school, I had a friend whose name was spelled T-O-B-I-N and the way we pronounced it used to make my mother crazy. "His name's TOH-bin, not TEWWW-bin!" she would argue.

"He's a Californian, Mom," I would reply, "His name's TEWWW-bin."

(Mom was a theatre director and used to grumble at length about how her students all suffered from terminal cases of "California Wooden-Lip". "EEEEE-NUN-CEEEEEE-ATE! she'd holler at her students sometimes. "You have lips; use them!")
posted by Lexica at 9:46 AM on February 28, 2011

The most characteristic trait of a California accent, IMCalifornianO, is the raising and flattening of "oh" sounds.
I mentioned above that California English is a "little outside my usual area" which only sort of true, depending on how you slice the world up. These days I academically-professionally study foreign accents (not dialects) and, to some extent, what makes them different from each other. So, I can tell you as a trained professional, there is no "flattening" going on, not even in areas undergoing the the Northern Cities Shift. Flattening is not a technical phonetic term. Vowels may be described as having various heights and frontness-vs.-backness and roundedness, but there's no flatness.
posted by knile at 10:46 PM on February 28, 2011

Flattening is not a technical phonetic term.

Didn't really think it was. IANAlinguist. My use of the word "flattening" was meant to describe, from a layperson's perspective, how the two sounds feel different in the mouth when said. The tongue position for the "oh" sound creates a space in the mouth that feels more rounded, lower and farther forward in the mouth cavity, and like it takes up more of the full mouth than does the tongue position for the "ewwww" sound, which feels like it's formed higher up and farther back in the mouth, with the resulting space being flatter and wider than the one formed for "oh".

Ah, the imprecision and flexibility of language — adaptable to express concepts even if one doesn't know the exact technical terms generally used. I think that's a plus.
posted by Lexica at 10:51 AM on March 1, 2011

Lexica, that sounds sort of like a Baltimore "O" sound. Here is a good example.
posted by apricot at 9:17 PM on March 1, 2011

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