Background on Accent Tag
What was the origin of the accent tag questions? Back in the early 2000s, a Harvard Linguist, Bert Vaux wanted to test his student’s regional American accent, so he posted a group of words and questions on his website. What was he aiming to achieve with the compilation? All he wanted was to know how widespread the regional variations of English were in America. Little did he know that what he started will become a global meme just a decade later?
According to him, he decided to make this research because of the noticeable difference in his own accent too. It seems like his own accent is a little mixed up too because he said “moving around as a kid made me interested in these things (the research on accent variations)”. Digging a little into his history, he was often the victim of verbal bully and fun in his early days because of his accent. This could be as a result of the fact that even though his parents were from the United States of America (though from different states individually), there was a time when the whole family moved to Chicago and then they moved to England.
At the time when the family moved to England, Vaux was just 13 years old. When speaking about his experience in this regard, he said “I always like to use ‘you all’ to address a group of people. And I noticed when we moved to Chicago that ‘you guys’ is what they used. And when we moved to England when I was thirteen, I was made fun of for those, and they used ‘you lot’ instead”.
So the accent or dialect survey according to him will help him determine outfitting how people in a certain area or geographical location utter certain words. It will also help him understand the variations observed in how certain general things were referred to.
There were two phases to the survey; first, the participant will be required to provide fitting answers to a set of template questions. These questions are referred to accent tag questions. The second phase required that the participant try pronouncing a list of words the way it is normally pronounced in his or her area. This will help to determine the accent of the participant. This second phase is called the accent tag words.
list of 100 Accent Tag Questions
Here is a list of the Accent challenge questions that each participant has to answer.
- What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
- What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
- What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
- What do you call gym shoes?
- What do you say to address a group of people?
- What do you call the kind of spider (or spider-like creature) that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
- What do you call your grandparents?
- What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
- What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
- What is the thing you change the TV channel with?
- What do you say when you are pressed?
- How do you greet your parents early in the morning?
- What do you call the passenger’s seat beside the driver?
- What pet name do you call your spouse?
- What do you call the sound made by birds?
- How is the family head referred to?
- Who do you go to when you are sick?
- How do you call shuttle bags
- What greeting do you say when it is noon?
- Who do you pray to?
- What do you call the physical activity you do early in the morning?
- What do you call the one that foots the bill?
- What do you call fried eggs?
- What do you call the food you eat in the morning?
- What do you call the food you eat in the afternoon?
- What do you call the food you eat in the night?
- When a river is surrounded by a piece of land, what do you call it?
- What do you call a body fragrance?
- What do you call a close family relative?
- What do you call your mum’s sister?
- What do you say when you want to sleep?
- What do you say when you want to apologize?
- What do you call the animals that we keep at home?
- What do you call the object that makes you see yourself the way you are?
- Why would you need a knife?
- What do you call someone who plays ball with his feet?
- What do you call someone that cooks?
- How do you greet an elderly man?
- What do you do with a phone?
- Who will apply medications for accident victims?
- Who preaches in a church?
- What do you do with a fan?
- What do you wear on your foot to play soccer?
- Where will you go to relax overnight?
- What will you use to type?
- Where will a college student attend to obtain a higher degree?
- What will you do in a bathroom?
- What do you call a short sleep in the afternoon?
- What do you call a meal eaten between morning and noon time?
- What will you need a chair for?
- What will you enter to fly from one country to another?
- What will you use to feed a baby?
- Where will you go to for groceries?
- What will you use to do laundry?
- What will you obtain to travel to another country?
- What do you do with a bed?
- What will you use to clean your teeth?
- Why will you need an eyeglass?
- Where will you use an ATM card?
- What is one product you can’t do without in the toilet?
- What will you use to trim grasses?
- Who is the head of a college?
- What do you do in a pool?
- What do you drink when you are thirsty?
- What will you call the head of a company?
- Where will you carry all your stuffs?
- What will you call the mother of your mother?
- What will you call the father of your father?
- What will you call the son of your brother?
- What will you call the daughter of your brother?
- Where will you put cold food for it to get warm?
- What is the first citizen of a country called?
- Where do you go for a fast food?
- What do you need in the dark?
- What is the full meaning of MS word?
- Why do you need a lawyer?
- What do you call the gap between the teeth?
- What is the person who always holds the key called?
- What utensil will you use to drink water?
- Who always handle calls and enquiries for an organization?
- What do you call a citizen of America?
- What is the full meaning of e-mail?
- Which is the most popular social network site?
- Where do you call the place where you prepare food?
- Where do musicians stand to perform shows?
- What device will you check to know what time it is?
- What will you call a citizen of Australia?
- What do you call the clothing that women tie on the head?
- Who attends to you in a banking hall?
- Who is responsible for advising students in a college?
- What do you call a close friend?
- What is the document that gets a visa stamp?
- What piece of clothing will you wear on your foot before wearing a shoe?
- Where do you dump refuse?
- What machine is used to do laundry?
- What machine is used to trim grasses?
- What machine is used to do dishes?
- Where will you go to buy medicine?
- What is the material used to hold a trouser up?
- What do you call a beauty shop?
If you carefully notice the above-mentioned questions, then you will have figured that they are 100 in number. When the answer to these questions is supplied by participants from the regions of America, then the person conducting the dialect survey will be able to identify the variations in the accent of people from the different regions of America. After the participants provide their answers to these questions, then they will have to undergo the second phase of the survey.
Accent tag words
The second phase of this accent test is for participants from different regions of America to try pronouncing some set words. Their attempting this will help with further understanding the difference in the accents of people who grew up or live in different places.
Below are the words that must be pronounced:
Aunt, Roof, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught, Naturally, Aluminum and Envelope.
Since it was a research to study the different accents of people living in different places, these two phases of the accent tests are sufficient enough to establish the needed facts. The differences, no matter how little will be noticed in what answers they provide for the Accent tag questions (even in how they pronounce common household items), and how they pronounce the accent tag words.