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What Californians Say About the California Accent

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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.

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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.

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