(If you tried the files yesterday and they didn't work, try them today. I've now converted them to mp3s.)
Well, not really almighty. More like the voice of me. A Free Man wrote a post about accents earlier this week and linked to an accent web site that fascinated me. He even linked to an example of his own rendition of the paragraph used on the site. His little experiment inspired me to do one of my own. When I got home today I forced my wife to read the paragraph and then followed up with one of my own.
I was actually a little surprised by both readings. First, I've never lived outside of Georgia. I'm well traveled and well educated, but I actually sounded less like the locals than I expected. K, on the other hand, spent a significant portion of her life in Ohio and Pennsylvania and spent the end of her formative years in Marietta, GA, an area so full of transplants that the local accent is, well, Yankee. I've always thought she sounded very much like a northerner and she sticks out like a sore thumb in our little corner of rural south Georgia, but I honestly hear a few of the soft notes of her adopted home coming through in her recording.
Of course, that's not to say that I just have a standard American accent. I'm aware that I still have a tendency to stress first syllables in words more so than the average American and I've never tried to add the e glide at the end on my long i sounds, but my vowels sounds are usually just one syllable now. I can't say that was the case in Kindergarten. I also pronounced "Wednesday" as "WINS-dee," something that pretty much every example from the South on that accent web site did.
As for that long i, I have never pronounced it as "ah". I've not met anyone who does when not making fun of a stereotypical accent. The "ah" thing is basically a lazy way of representing the sound of a long i without the e glide, I think.
Oh, and if you noticed that my wife's script was a little different than mine, it's because she humored me and added in a glass of milk to demonstrate her tendency to pronounce the short i in milk as a short e.
I'd love to hear some of my readers do their version of this experiment. If I think of it, I'll try to get some of my more traditionally Southern-sounding relatives to let me record them as well.