Regions and Accents | Learn about the United States of America

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So listen, guys! there’s nothing planned
for today, so I thought we could just do a staring contest!
are you ready? 1– 2– 3! Wha–? Hold on! apparently we’ve got some mail
here, let’s see… oh it’s from Norah! let’s talk about the differences between North,
South, East, West and the Midwest! you know what? that’s a really good idea, thanks
Norah! Actually Norah did not send me anything, but she did win the vote for
this week on Patreon. on Patreon you get to vote twice each week for two of the
videos that I make, and this week Nora’s idea won, so I’m making her video!
become a patron now so you can vote for two of next week’s videos as well as get
a lot of other really cool shit. Now to start, we need to understand some
American geography. because often when we talk about American culture and
language, we divide the country into two parts, the North and the South. after
hearing that you might expect that the map looks like this, but nonononoo! because
there is no map, no map that looks like that. instead when you hear an American
talk about the North and the South, they’re imagining the North, the United
States, fighting the South, the Confederates, the Confederacy! if you want
another video that explains the American Civil War in more detail,
yo, just click right up here! but this geography is already confusing
because the North was also made up of some Western states, California, Oregon
and Nevada. as well, in the middle of the country, there were five buffer States.
these were neither part of the South or the North. to make it easier, let’s divide
the United States into four regions. but even with this subdivision we still have
some confusion. let’s analyze the four parts, so you can see exactly what I mean!
first– when we talk about the North I think what we’re really imagining in our
head, as Americans and you should too, is the Northeast. the Northeast is where
massive urbanization occurred much earlier than in other parts of the
United States– New York City, Boston, New Jersey– these places! now let’s go a
little further west to the Midwest. the Midwest also has some urbanized
pockets, Milwaukee and Chicago are great examples, but these larger cities are
still surrounded by smaller mid-sized cities and a lot of rural communities.
let’s go south to where the population density is a bit lower than the Midwest.
you have more rural communities with an even smaller number of large and
mid-sized cities. by the way, Florida is in the South, but it really shares
nothing in common with the other states in that region. and finally, we have the
West. but we should really divide this into two regions. the West Coast and the
West. the West Coast is California, Oregon and Washington.
these are all very urbanized states. the majority of the states in the West are
the least urbanized states. very rural! so the main difference between the South,
although I do think the southern states have a lot in common with those very
rural states in the West, is that there is much more importance to unwritten
etiquette and courtesy. in the southern states and I think in most rural places
in general, you are expected to show a lot more of that unwritten etiquette,
while in much more urbanized places, that etiquette I think goes away as city life
makes everyday interactions less personal. but let’s continue! how I’ve
described these regions, some more rural and some more urban, is really what we
mean when we say North and South. city folk and country folk. each region has
its own unique identity, and we’ll focus more on them in the future,
but for now urban means more liberal, secular, Democratic and city centric.
that’s our imaginative understanding of what the North is. while rural means more
conservative, religious, Republican and country focused. so what about
differences in American English? the most general comparison is again northern and
southern. and for many people, when they meet someone for the first time based on
their accent, they will ask “where are you from in the South?” or “where are you from
in the North?” that’s very general. as we investigate more, you’ll find that accent
is just as if not more complicated than how we divide the regions of the
United States, because living in a rural or urban area has a big impact on how
you speak English. whether it’s rural Michigan in the northern United States
or rural Mississippi in the South, you can often tell if someone grew up in a
city, a town, or on a farm based on how they speak. and all over the US, accents
are becoming much more distinct. so even in a state where I’m from there are
three distinct accents. but if you’re learning English don’t worry too much
about that, in fact I made a video a while back, you can watch it here, about
why you need to choose a specific accent to study. vocabulary is one reason,
there’s a lot of regional words but especially the vowel differences that I
just mentioned. you don’t want to be corrected by someone in Alabama even
though you’re speaking with a perfect Minnesota accent. if you don’t study a
specific accent, when someone tries to correct you, you don’t know when you’re
right and when you’re wrong! because people from different regions, especially
if you’re traveling to different english-speaking countries, will correct
you WHEN YOU ARE CORRECT! putting a link in the description for a really fun
website you can visit. you’ll see a big map of the United States. you can click
anywhere and listen to the regional accents from across the country. use this
because there’s a lot of northern southern and western accents, it’s really
fun to check it out. now that you understand these parts, it’s going to be
much easier to move forward and learn a lot more about American culture and
language. and hey! thanks patrons for making these videos possible! you guys
ROCK! people like Norah, who I think is on her 30th degree and only 30 more to go,
so keep it up Norah! why you’re still here, let’s talk a little bit more about
Wisconsin. in terms of accents Wisconsin is unique because there’s really three
distinct accents or dialects in this state. and one of them we share with
parts of Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota. this is the upper accent from
the Upper Peninsula. and I’ll just say it’s not the prettiest– there’s a famous
SNL sketch about “Da Bears”, that uses this accent. Sarah Palin, she wa– she’s from
Alaska but she’s famous for having this accent, and then finally there’s the
show and the movie Fargo, where you can hear a lot of this accent as well! I’ll
catch you guys later! “you were having sex with a little fella, then?” “that’s something that John McCain and I have both been discussing” “there
anything else you can tell me about him?” “I love John McCain” “oh yeah?” “yeah!” “oh you
betcha yeah” “yeah!”

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