Which accent from the American continent do you think is most difficult, and can you point to good and bad examples?
I’m tempted to go see the new movie, Help, just to see how well they do the accents. I used to know a Southern gal who said any True Southerner should be able to pick out region and state of a Southerner by accent.
The problem is that most of us only ever get a TV version, and most accents have been altered in the newer generations by exposure to TV. It’s pretty subtle, and Americans are anxious to lose their accent when they move. I used to know a guy from the WWII generation who had the perfect Philip Marlowe voice. He was from Nebraska! My mom’s uncles each had a different way of speaking. One grew up in San Francisco and sounded like a Bostonian because his parents were English but his classmates were Irish. My grandfather had a true Californiano accent but one brother sounded like New Englander, the other moved to DC and sounded like a native East Coast metropolitan.
I once called a boat chandlery in Massachussetts and got an earful. Could hardly understand what the guy was saying.