Accent is a combination of three main components: intonation
(speech music), liaisons
connections), and pronunciation
(the spoken sounds of vowels, consonants, and combinations).
Accents are influenced by a people’s geographical
region of origin, their age, social background and education, and whether they have moved away from their home area. Nowadays it may also be influenced by external factors such radio
or television. Amongst speakers
of English as an additional language accent is often influenced by the pronunciation and intonation patterns
of the first language.
Contrary to popular belief, grammar
and accent are completely
different, unrelated terms. Part of the difference
is that grammar
and vocabulary are systematic and structured— the letter of the language. Accent, on the other hand, is free form, intuitive, and creative— more the spirit of the language.
My accent, being from
south-west, has to be different from
someone far off, say north-east. Here's a story:
in a small
Texas town around Christmas time, saw a "Nativity Scene" that
showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. But one small feature
was all wrong: the three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.
Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, he left. At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, he asked
the lady behind the counter about the helmets.
She exploded into a rage, yelling, "You darn Yankees
never read your Bibles!"
assured her that
he did, but simply
couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible.
She jerked her Bible from
behind the counter and riffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in the guys face
she said, "See, it says
right here, 'The three wise men came from