Sheffielders, test how well you recognise accents with student Hielke Vriesendorp's online quiz

How good are you at recognising Yorkshire accents, asks University of Sheffield PhD student Hielke Vriesendorp – and he’s offering to test you!

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 12:44 pm

Hielke is hoping that Retro readers will help his research into English language and linguistics by taking part in an online quiz.

Hielke said: “When you hear someone speak in a Yorkshire accent, or maybe in a Southern accent, you probably pick up on it automatically, without having to deeply think much about the sounds, words and phrases you’re hearing.

“How is that possible? What in the speaker’s language makes your brain go ‘Yorkshire!’ or ‘Southerner!'?

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Sheffield-born film star Sean Bean famously never drops his accent for roles
Sheffield-born film star Sean Bean famously never drops his accent for roles

“I’ve created a rapid-fire accent quiz to figure this out, and to tell us more about how we recognise accents, as part of my research at the University of Sheffield.

“Does it matter, for example, whether you’ve lived in Yorkshire all your life? Are people better at recognising the different accents if they are from the North?

“Does it matter whether you’re a native speaker, or for example, American, for how well you can recognise the different accents in the quiz? Or do Americans pick enough up from British TV to recognise a Deedah from a Londoner?

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“At the same time, maybe it’s easier to recognise a Southern accent in certain words, or in words with certain sounds. Is it easier to recognise an American saying ‘water’ than it is to recognise their accent when they say ‘soup’?

“In this 5-10 minute quiz people hear sound clips of more than 40 different people with four different broad accent groups: Yorkshire, Standard Southern English, American accents, and a broad range of other accents (Geordie, Scottish, et cetera), and at the end of the quiz it tells you how many you got right - and how your recognition level compares to that of linguists in the field of research!”

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