Accent (sociolinguistics)
rating: 0+x

Basic Information

An accent is a distinct way of pronouncing a particular language, usually because the speaker grew up with a different language or is a native speaker from an area or social group with a distinct tradition of pronunciation.

See Also


Game and Story Use

  • Train yourself to speak in different accents to make your NPCs sound more varied and distinct from each other.
  • This may be amongst the most simple ways that a PC actually indicates their social status - just as a foreigner with a flawless accent may be taken for a native, so a commoner able to ape upper class speech patterns may be taken for gentry.
  • Accents also vary over time - leaving aside the great vowel shift that made English into something a modern speaker could recognise, there's also the small matter of linguistic drift: the Southern English of the Elizabethan Era would sound Scottish to modern ears (something to bear in mind whilst reading Shakespeare) … it's probably best not to speculate what the Scots would have sounded like.
  • Figuring out how specific accents are received may prove interesting background for a setting.
  • When designing language skills for a game consider having such proficiency levels as native/fluent/proficient/broken to indicate that being fully competent in a language and being able to pass for a native are two different things. As above, consider also making it possible to take native level multiple times (easy if your skill system already has an additional specialisation mechanic) to reflect specific class or regional differences.
    • Yes, it probably should be that hard to change your accent in your native language - those who find it easy probably have some advantage that makes it easier for them or are using an acting skill to fake it (adopting another accent is a common part of acting, some people can even do it well, and a surprising number of actors use an accent day-to-day that isn't the one they grew up with). The musical My Fair Lady, or its theatrical ancestor Pygmalion give a good example of the work that can be involved in training someone to change their accent.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License