Accent game

Living in a foreign country, I hear interesting and occasionally hard-to-place accents all the time.  I did not know quite how badly I was interpreting them until I tried the “accent game” linked here.  Not only does it check for country and region, but if you get it right you get a “bonus question” about the precise city of the speaker’s origin.  I got about a third of the answers “right” and was only right on the bonus city question once.   So I lay down the gauntlet, beat my 26 score and send me some intelligent commentary on the reasons for such diverse accents!


5 responses to “Accent game

  1. To my chagrin, I matched your score exactly, getting exactly half the countries and one city right. In rationalisation (and to soothe both our competitiveness!), I think this is not the most straightforward of tests. The confounds are very clever. The foreigners mostly speak very good English. The Glaswegian had a non-stereotypcial accent, sounding almost Irish; his name, intriguingly, is Duffy, and there has been a lot of traffic between Ireland and the West coasts of England and Scotland. Most Westerners wouldn’t have had much exposure to the variety of Eastern European countries’ accents. It is perhaps not surprising that most of the high scorers are from New York!

  2. This is actually a fun way to think about world geography. I got a 31, mostly due to the ability to listen for “tells” in the speech of native speakers of English. There are certain sounds that are characteristic of particular national or regional accents, mostly vowels. I was happy to have been in the right geographic neighborhood on most of the ones I missed — I didn’t put anyone from the Baltics in the Pacific Rim, and vice versa.

  3. Yeah, I was a disaster. I got a 22 – I even failed to identify one of the Americans – though I managed to pick out that the South African accent was from Cape Town, probably because Kristian and I had an extended conversation while there about whether it was a difference accent from J’burg. This reminds me of, though, in that it throws in some people whose characteristics run counter to the majority.

  4. Twenty six too. And I made the same mistake as RB – thinking the Glaswegian was Irish.


  5. If you’d like to knit a pink square for our afghan we’ll gladly accept it.

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