Because of the massive popularity of Hollywood movies, most people in the world (including Americans) assume that people in the US all sound like they’re from California, and in particular Southern California. This intensely detailed map created by linguist Rick Aschmann in his free time, tracks the highly diverse dialects in North American English, from the soothing drawl of the American South, to the broad-A’s of Boston. To back up his many examples, Aschmann’s large map is interactive, allowing users to click on locations to see Youtube videos or listen to audio samples featuring people speaking.
While far from the easiest map to read, Aschmann packs a load of information into the large image; from whether locals pronounce their “O” at the front, middle or back of the mouth, to whether “pen” and “pin” sound the same when spoken. Even for people living in North America it is impressive to see the diversity of dialects spoken even in relatively close areas. Not surprisingly, the north east US has some of the most diverse lingual sounds, most likely because of its early settlement and the lack of travel in those times. The west on the other hand, is a land of relative uniformity, only lending credence to those who think we all sound Californian.
Click here or the image below to explore the interactive map from his North American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns: