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I have heard a number of people refer to the "Utah accent." What is it that distinguishes a Utah accent from others?

I have noticed that, in some cases, people from Utah omit the 't' from words such as 'Layton' and 'mountain.' In other cases, it seems like they pronounce 'milk' with an 'e' instead of an 'i.' 'Creek' sounds like 'crick.' 'Mormon' like 'Marmon.' I am not sure if any of these are specific to Utah.

Finally, what about differences between regions, for example, what is a Cache Valley accent?

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    Not sure who close-voted this, but if the reason behind the close-vote is what Kristina describes, let's not forget that Googling does not constitute General Reference. This is not a question that is easily answered in an authoritative manner by any commonly available reference work that I know of (except perhaps Wikipedia). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 22 '14 at 21:15
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    I can't define a Utah accent, but I can confirm that the pronunciation of "creek" as "crick" happens in several areas. Specifically, it shows up in several varieties of Appalachian accents (my grandmother is from PA, and she says it that way). – PixPrefect Jul 22 '14 at 21:38
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    @Janus Bahs Jacquet, it's not apparent if OP did any research on his own before posting the questions. Based on the information I gleaned from the results of my single query, it does seem that there is plenty of general reference information available. – Kristina Lopez Jul 22 '14 at 21:42
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    The only specifically Utah accent features that I know of is the /or/ ~ /ar/ alpha switch, which shows up in place names like American Fork, where fork is pronounced /fark/. Similarly, car is pronounced /kor/, while core is pronounced /kar/. It's not a common kind of change, and it may be diminished in extent since I lived in Utah in the 1960s. See the charming essay by Wayne Booth on "Farkism and Hyperyorkism". – John Lawler Jul 22 '14 at 22:28
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    ANYTHING CAN BE GOOGLED!!!!!!!!!! That doesn't make the results authoritative, reliable, or correct. This is not a general reference question, and anyone who voted to close it as such needs to have their close-voting privileges revoked. Enough already! – Marthaª Jul 24 '14 at 20:32
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A few examples of things I've noticed (especially in Cache Valley) are:

  • pronouncing the word "deal" and "real", "peel", etc. as "dill", "rill", "pill" etc. ....similar for the words "really" ("rilly") and "dealer" ("diller")
  • pronouncing the word "our" the same way most pronounce "are"
  • pronouncing words like "light", "right", "bright", etc. as "loyt" and "royt", "broyt"
  • Pronouncing "luggage", "garbage" and "baggage" as "lugg-eege", "garb-eege" and "bagg-eege".
  • pronouncing the word "it" as "uht" as in "Where is uht?" and "Give
    uht to me!"
  • pronouncing the word "different" as "diff-ernt"
  • pronouncing "Monday", "Tuesday", etc. as "Mon-dee", "Tues-dee", etc.
  • pronouncing "You're" as "yerr"
  • Also, the letter "r" is pronounced slightly differently than anywhere else I've noticed, although I can't quite describe it.

Rod Tueller who sometimes helps broadcast Utah State Unviersity Basketball games on KVNU has a classic Cache Valley accent.

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Currently a Utah resident and have been for 25 years. (don't judge me :-P)

But I can confirm that I catch myself frequently stating "mountain" as "moun'ain", Layton as "lay'on".

However, I have never vocalized "creek" as "crick" (though it seems to be about 50% of those I've come across) or "Mormon" as "Marmon".

I personally would say that the Utah accent is distinct because it's similar but not completely 'country' mixed with an almost southern twist.

As far as different areas of Utah having their own play on the accent goes: yes, in Provo I've noticed a fair amount of 'better' annunciation of words like mountain where the 't' is actually heard (though still faint and abrupt) along with habits of emphasizing words in the sentence, as a whole, differently then what I would expect to hear.

Example- in Provo (generalized and subjective) any sentence that begins with "I" where the actual emphasis is placed on a verb, "I like runnin'!", tends to be pronounced with a double emphasis, "I like runnin'!", and to me sounds terrible. In opposition, hearing this same sentence in West Valley sounds more appropriate as there doesn't seem to be the initial emphasis on the beginning "I".

As a side note, a very prominent part of the Utah speech pattern is the use of spin-off phrases. "I'm hella excited!" turns into "I'm hecka excited!" and not just for the obvious reasons. I've found that most people I've come across who have different religious beliefs than the majority of the state, still have adopted 'hecka' as a preference to 'hella', though the same person will have no inhibitions to dropping 'f' bombs.

Then there's the 'uh' sound in most words. You don't here, "You all take care now!", or "Ya'll take care now!", but instead, "Y'uh all take care now!".

And finally the other speech pattern that I've noticed to be very common here is the contractile contraction. "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." turns into " 'S'all fun'n games s'til' someone gets'hurt."

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This podcast sheds light on the issue: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/speaking-american-speaking-utahn It is an interview with two language experts. They talk about regional accents in general, but focus on Utah specifically. Interestingly enough, according to the folks in this episode, most of the things that people identify with being unique to Utah are actually not unique to Utah.

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The Dictionary of American Regional English uses a region called "Utah". You can investigate the features of that region on that web site. (Subscription required. Perhaps you library has one.)

protected by choster Jul 24 '14 at 20:30

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