What Californians Say About the California Accent

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.