What Does Your Accent Say About You?

Who knew goats had accents?

Let's try an experiment. Read the following sentence:

"This is the one I was looking for."

Now imagine that simple sentence  spoken by someone from France. How would it sound then? What if the speaker was Russian? Or Australian? 

Even though the text was in English, it "sounded" different in your head, based on the nationality of the speaker. That's because human speech isn't just divided into languages, there are also dialects and accents that let everyone know the region a person is from. 

The science of accents is the subject of AsapSCIENCE's most recent video. Not only do they change over time, but a native language can also have an impact on what sounds you're capable of making and even how you hear.

While an accent is usually a clear identifier of where a person is from, it is also a source of stereotypes, for better or for worse. Maybe an Italian accent sounds suave, while a Jamaican voice sounds friendly. Accents can trigger snap judgements in our minds, and our own accents cause those same judgements in others. 

The sound of someone's voice is obviously not enough to make sweeping assumptions about who they are as a person, especially considering it isn't as fixed as we may think.

It's not surprising that children of immigrants often sound different than their parents, as they were exposed to a drastically different dialect during their formative years. Adults are usually less able to change, but as is explained in the video, there are some injuries that cause people to start speaking in a different accent, even if it's an area they've never visited before.

Having an accent isn't even limited to humans; animals can have them too.

Learn more about accents here:

Cover image: Shutterstock