Wed, Dec 19, 2012 -- 10:00 AM

Do Californians Have an Accent?

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elaine faith/Flickr
Should "surfer" count as a California dialect?
elaine faith/Flickr
Should "surfer" count as a California dialect?

From Sean Penn in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" to Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless," Hollywood loves to celebrate the California accent. But besides the Valley girls and surfer dudes, do Californians really have an accent? One Stanford team is testing that idea and studying dialects across the state. What are they finding? Do certain words or tonalities make us classic Californians? Do you think you have an accent?

Host: Scott Shafer


  • Penelope Eckert, linguistics professor at Stanford University, spearheading Stanford's "Voices of California" project
  • Geoffrey Nunberg, author, adjunct professor at UC Berkeley's School of Information, commentator on language for NPR's "Fresh Air" and former chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary

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