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I'm trying to learn to imitate the accent of someone from a slummy area of Denver (for a roleplaying game). Info on different local accents is welcome; a sound bite would be especially useful.

If you live in or near Denver, and your answer is, "people from Denver don't have an accent," please refrain from posting an answer.

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Just to clarify - I presume you mean Denver, Colorado, USA, not Denver, Norfolk, England? –  MT_Head Jun 24 '11 at 0:53
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Here's what i found:They say words like Dinver, everything instead enver is inver. Also words like Sandy some people will say Sendy Or Walter is Walterrrr (with a sort of long R) Or dont you know or doncha know Read more: city-data.com/forum/denver/… –  Thursagen Jun 24 '11 at 0:54
    
@MT_Head: Yes, I meant Denver, Colorado, USA. I didn't know there was more than one. Thank you. –  RMorrisey Jun 24 '11 at 0:57
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@MT_Head: I would say that the city of 2.6 million people (including environs) trumps the tiny hamlet that boasts a population of 847 souls. If I made a reference to London, would you insist that equal mention be given to London, Ontario? Or to Moscow for Moscow, Idaho? No. You would think of London, England and Moscow, Russia, and no apologies. Your comment has to be the smallest nit it is possible to pick. Congratulations on the discovery. –  Robusto Nov 19 '12 at 19:18
    
@Robusto - Actually, I was reading a Lord Peter Wimsey novel at the time; Wimsey's older brother is the Duke of Denver. I only just found out that the title was one of Dorothy Sayers' inventions (obviously I knew that the novels are fictional, but somehow I assumed that the title was real - just held by someone else.) Until now, I had thought that the relationship was more like Odessa, Ukraine and Odessa, Texas - which plays a much larger part in pop culture than Moscow, Idaho. Wasn't meant to be a nit. I'm curious, though: this question is over a year old. Why did it irritate you so? –  MT_Head Nov 20 '12 at 21:26
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5 Answers

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Rick Aschmann's dialect map is a good resource; it links to a table of examples, with Goose Gossage's Hall of Fame speech most likely an example of what you're looking for.

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But the dialect map doesn't distinguish the "slummy area" from the rest of Denver! That "slummy area" may be largely Hispanic, which may influence their accents a bit. –  GEdgar Nov 19 '12 at 22:03
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I am originally from Adams County and went to school with lots of working class Chican@s and poor whites who speak with what I call the "Denver" accent. Each of the four counties surrounding Denver have--as far as I can tell--distinct accents. Dougco sounds the most like GenAmerican and is very proper ('cause they rich) and Jeffco is also pretty indistinguishable, but has more of a Midwest twang than Dougco. Arapahoe, Adams, and most of inner-city non AAVE or immigrant English sound more similar and have a distinct sound.

First off, nobody says Dinver... it's closer to Danver.

We have a weird half-Midwestern, half-California vowel shift. It isn't super thick but you can notice it if you listen close enough.

First, the a in cat is kind of like a Minnesotan accent, but less horrible (sorry Minnesota). Almost cyat.

Second the i in pin and e in pen are not distinguishable. No, nobody says betch. But, it is in between the two sounds. Milk is closer to melk.

Third, the e in bed has shifted to be closer to bad. They are still distinguishable, but can get mixed.

Fourth the u in words like dumb is almost an a sound like dawmb.

Finally, the most noticeable vowel shift is in the oo in pool or Coors. In Colorado--even in Jeffco--we really draw it out like oo-uhl. The poo-uhl. Get me a Coo-uhrs.

Other tips: don't say walking, say walkin'. Don't pronounce t in the middle of words or at the end. Matt is more like Ma' (the ' like in Arabic) and kitten is ke'en. The double-d sound in ladder or whadever is almost like the sound r in spanish, a quick tapped r on the teeth.

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Yeah, the link to Goose Gossage's speech above is pretty accurate. The accent is a mix of Southern/Western and a bit of California Valley, similar to the younger skater/boarder types.

In Denver and along the Front Range there's also a mix of Mexican-American accent and Southern/Western drawl. It's a slurred speech with shortening of the words. Not everyone speaks that way. It might be an adaptation to the huge number of outsiders with their proper American English. Most linguists probably don't get it because they're in their sophisticated nest far from the local folks. But when two locals get talking, look out! The "a" has a bit of a twang and some consonants aren't pronounced.

For instance, mountains is /mow-ens/ with the /mow/ part rhyming with cow. The a in Colorado, when pronounced by a real local, sounds like the first a in radical and the r is heavy, round, and a little drawn out.

Mostly the middle consonants are skipped (except for the r) and the vowels are drawn out, but not in the "singing" way of a southern accent. They're drawn out in a twangy cowboy or western way. At least that's the way it is among the locals, who aren't really found in much in Denver anymore. They're in the suburbs and outer cities of the Front Range. Longmont and Loveland have a lot of locals, as does Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and the north Denver suburbs like Westminster and Arvada.

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The predominantly African-American quarters of most major US cities have sort of a joint continient-wide dialect, which linguists refer to as African-American Vernacular English. It does vary a bit from city to city, but not by a huge degree.

From personal experience, I do know that at least as late as the mid-1980's it was spoken in working-class sections of Devner. I would assume it still is.

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converting my comment:

Someone here said that people who have lived in Denver all their lives tend to say:

They say words like Dinver, everything instead enver is inver.

Also words like Sandy some people will say Sendy

Or Walter is Walterrrr (with a sort of long R)

Or dont you know or doncha know

Hope that helps:)

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