upper waypoint

What Californians Say About the California Accent

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Photo by trontnort/Flickr
Do Californians have an accent? We heard dozens of opinions on that question over the past two weeks. Photo by trontnort/Flickr

Jack Davis describes the California accent as warm and passionate.

"It's not hurried, it's not hostile, it's not caustic," said Davis, a Los Angeles native who now lives in Santa Cruz. "It's just people hanging out and chatting and having a good time."

But where Davis hears warmth, Ted Sebern of Burbank hears nothing.

"Californians are basically accent-free," said Sebern. "If you go to the Columbia School of Broadcasting and suggest an accent for a radio broadcasting student, they're going to say we want [it] to sound like California."

Those are just two of the nearly 70 opinions we've collected by Californians about their manner of speech, part of a collaborative project by KQED and KPCC in Los Angeles. The undertaking was inspired by a story from The California Report on Voices of California, an effort by Stanford researchers to record the state's accents.


Click on the green pins on the map below to listen to what Californians had to say about the California accent; audio clips with their comments will appear at the top of the map. You can also listen on SoundCloud. Thanks to our colleagues at KPCC for creating the map.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
A New COVID Vaccine Dose Is Now Available for People Age 65 and Older. Where Can You Find a Shot Near You?Storm Barrels Down on Sierra as Blizzard Conditions Close Tahoe ResortsTo Fight Rising Rents, These Fresno County Residents Bought Their Mobile Home ParkHow the Racial Justice Act Could Shake Up California's Criminal Court SystemCan Science Explain a Broken Heart?Severe Bay Area Storm Brings Road Closures and Blizzard Conditions to the Sierra Nevada‘Be in My World’: For Many Madonna Fans, Her Art and Advocacy Go Hand in HandDeath Rate Among America's Unhoused Population Akin to 'Natural Disaster or War,' New Study FindsWatch 3 Bald Eagle Chicks in Southern California Hatch Live This WeekAfter Closure Announcement, a Look at Macy’s Heyday…and Union Square’s Future