How do accents work when people talk?

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If you’re born in a certain country you will speak in that native accent. But what’s the science behind acquiring a new accent or vice versa?

In: Biology

As far as i know, its because the longer you live somewhere the more you start to copy people. You can learn accents by copying how others pronounce certain letters and words.

Almost, (assuming no issues that would impede speech.) Every human is born which the ability to speak any language with any accent.

Accents are entirely learnt, you learn you accent by learning from your parents and those around you. And while this is most influential when you’re young (as in it’s hard to completely change accents when your older) your accent can shift and change your whole life depending who you live your life around.

All accents, all sounds we make, are is use controlling different muscles in our mouths/throat as we speak. So you can gradually change your accent by shifting how your controlling those muscles, either consciously or subconsciously.

Humans are social creatures, we like fitting into groups, so when moving countries people will start to shift their accents to match people around them, assuming they don’t often speak to people from their own country, but they’re rarely able to make the shift 100%.

Fun fact: linguists have found that Antarctic researchers who spend months in isolation with each other often will develop common accents in those months of isolation, a kind of melting pot of all the accents that went in to begin it.

That’s interesting. I was born [and spent my first 10 years] in England but we moved to Northern Ireland. I picked up the Irish twang very quickly but as soon as I went back to my English Grandparents house in the summer the twang completely disappeared.

Now that I’ve been here [NI] 27 years, people ask me if I’m Australian or South African. LOL

Every language has rules about his sounds are used. These rules are most easily internalized while young. These aren’t written rules, but linguists will use systems to understand these phonological rules. We use the same rules in the process of reading and writing, incidentally.

The phonological rules change from languages to language. As someone already pointed out, when you are born you have the potential to use all the different sounds used in an languages. As you grow up, your caregivers make sounds at you, and they respond to the sounds you make in return. That way you learn which sounds are important to notice. You organize the way sounds are used in the language you use to communicate. Those organizations become the rules you use to produce and perceive speech.

You can learn the phonological rules of a new language, just like you learn it’s grammar and vocabulary. Sometimes, you need to be explicitly taught the rules.

I mean humans at some point must have all had the same accent if they were from the same area so who did they copy new accents off of.