Tag Archives: accents

Are accented characters über-cool or passé?

My latest article for The Week is on accented characters, like ü and é. They’re not officially part of English spelling, but they just don’t go away. And in spite of some people’s uncoöperativeness, I don’t think they’re going to go away, either.

In the future, will the English language be full of accented characters?

 

Don’t die a critic of diacritics and special characters

Do you always get your accents and special characters right in non-English words? Or are you sometimes unclear on which is which, and maybe not sure what difference it makes?

Well, lucky you. I spent quite a bit of time recently putting together charts for a presentation I took part in at the 2018 Editors Canada conference. They list the most common ones, some of the languages you’re likely to see them in, and the kinds of differences they can make – cases where the presence or lack of a little mark can turn something innocent into something dirty (or vice versa, which is sometimes even worse).

Here they are. It’s a PDF, but it’s small: accents_characters_harbeck.pdf

Wherein I talk to Australians about accent shift

I was interviewed a while ago by Anthony Funnell of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for his show Future Tense. I was talking about the subject of an article I wrote for The Week: How accents are shifting, and how young women are the best people to look to if you want to know how we will sound in the future. This isn’t ground-breaking research, but it’s something most non-linguists don’t know about. The show that was recorded for has just been broadcast, so you can listen to it now. My segment is at the 10-minute mark, but all three segments are worth a listen:

LANGUAGE, ACCENTS AND WE ARE WHAT WE EAT ON FUTURE TENSE

Californian and Canadian accents: a podcast

Every so often, Lauren Hansen, the podcast producer for The Week, will email me and suggest we make one of my articles for TheWeek.com into a podcast – a brief audio segment (typically 5 to 6 minutes) based on the article, with some illustrative sound clips added. I never say no because why would I? She does up an abridged version of the article, I make any edits I feel are necessary, and I record my voice reading it in the comfort of my apartment. I send that to her and she edits it together with the other clips and makes the podcast.

This week’s is based on my article from a while back on the similarities between Canadian and Californian accents:

Why it’s difficult to tell a Californian accent from a Canadian one

 

Californian accent? Or Canadian?

My latest article for TheWeek.com is about the similarities between the typical Californian accent and the typical Canadian one:

Why it’s difficult to tell a Canadian accent from a Californian one

For fun, Google some news or weather videos from Canadian TV stations and from Californian ones. Give them a listen, and you may be surprised just how similar they can be.

A night out with some different accents

My latest article for TheWeek.com was published today, and it comes with another video. This time it’s a quick look at sound change, specifically as expressed in the sounds in the words night out:

A linguistic tour of a ‘night out’ around the world

And how to tell if it’s a Canadian or an Australian asking you out