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  • Writer's pictureJack Wallace

Which is your accent?

Accents can be classified in a number of ways from very broad categorizations to extremely niche. One of the most common distinctions has to do with something called RHOTICITY.

Try the exercise below to find out if your accent is RHOTIC or NON-RHOTIC.

Before you begin it's important to recognize that you have an accent yourself. If you've been surrounded by people who talk in a similar way to you, or you were taught in school the "right" way to speak, then it can be easy to believe that you have no accent. *Spoiler alert* You do.

Say the word "FIRE" out loud.

Depending on your accent there are hundreds of different ways this could be said. I want you to say "FIRE" again slowly so that it takes 5 seconds to say the whole word.

Do that same slow pronunciation again and focus on the final sound. What is that sound? Does it match the beginning of the word "RED"? Does it sound like the end of the word "THE"? Is it something else completely?

Now say "FIRE" slowly one more time and bring your attention to the tip of your tongue. Does it curl up? Is it behind your bottom teeth? Does it float in the middle of your mouth? Does it make contact with your gums?

  • If the end of the word "fire" and the start of the word "red" are similar, it is likely you have a RHOTIC accent.

  • If the end of the word "fire" is closer to the end of the word "the" you likely have a NON-RHOTIC accent.

You've got your first piece of information about your own accent! Yay!

But how does this help?

Well...RHOTIC accents pronounce every "r" that is written. If the "r" comes after a vowel sound, it will close down on the vowel. For example in a rhotic accent, when you say "CAR" the "r" attaches to the "AHHH" sound and the final sound in the word is "RRR".

NON-RHOTIC accents only pronounce "r" if a vowel sound follows it. If the "r" comes after a vowel sound, it is not pronounced. For example in a non-rhotic accent, when you say "CAR" the final sound in the word is "AHHH".

If you identified yourself as a #TEAMRHOTIC speaker try saying "CAR" in a non-rhotic way.

If (like me) you identified yourself as a #TEAMNONRHOTIC speaker, try saying "CAR" a rhotic way.

Take this knowledge and use it when watching your next video online. If the people talking do something different from you, see if you can copy the way they say words with Rs!

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