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For a couple of Shadowrun sessions coming up, I'm going to be playing an NPC from the Mile-High City. She's an inexperienced ork fixer, low-class background, brought up among shadowrunners. I want to give her a different "feel" from my regular Philly-born fixer character, so I'd like to try to figure out an accent. I don't have too much practice with NPC voices, though.

Advice and examples would be helpful; soundbites would be ideal. A little bit of historical context wouldn't hurt, either.

Edit: Per @OpaCitizen's suggestion, I posed this question on english.se, and got a pretty detailed answer, that also covers accents for other regions:

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/31305/whats-a-denver-accent-sound-like

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See if this helps: oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php?sitepal –  GMNoob Jun 19 '11 at 17:01
    
Having lived in Colorado most of my life and then elsewhere where there were accents, I can attest that the Mid-West region doesn't really have an accent (yes, yes, I know Colorado isn't technically in the Mid-West, but in terms of culture and "accent" it is). There isn't a "true" Denver accent, it's more of a neutral accent in that the Mid-West "accent" is what reporters and newscasters aim for. –  GPierce Jun 19 '11 at 18:10
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I understand everything you're going to say as justification, but I think this is off topic for RPG.SE. –  mxyzplk Jun 20 '11 at 3:28
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@mxyplk: The majority vote is that these types of questions are permitted. See: meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/570/… –  RMorrisey Jun 20 '11 at 5:45
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I think this would be an excellent question at english.stackexchange.com ;) –  OpaCitiZen Jun 20 '11 at 8:24
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closed as off topic by GPierce, wax eagle, Iszi, C. Ross Jul 13 '11 at 17:05

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4 Answers

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I live in Denver, but I've also lived in 7 other states, and I do think that Denver has a vague accent, though it's not very noticeable. To me, the Denver accent sounds vaguely western, mixed with mid-western. I notice a lot of people here don't pronounce "t" as harsh. For example, most people would pronounce "mountain" as "mountin" with a soft "t" rather than "mount-tain", as I've heard more commonly in the east. People also tend to pronounce "Colorado" as "Colarado" with more of the "ah" over an "oh" sound.

People tend to draw out "r" a little bit more, make "ah" more pronounced, and soften harsher sounding syllables, though not as much as western accent does. (Based on my experience, anyway)

Part of the problem is the fact that Colorado is a pretty transient state and the demographics have changed a lot recent. (The population has almost doubled since 1990 according to the US census). This makes the accent pretty dilute and hard to hear. As such, I think most people tend to think of Colorado as having a very neutral accent.

This article also goes into some detail over the "neutrality" of the Coloradan accent.

If you want to play up the accent, make it sound more western than a slightly neutral accent, and that should be plausible.

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do you say warsh (instead of wash)? People across the border in Wyoming do. –  Claytonian Jun 21 '11 at 16:59
    
I don't personally say this and I haven't actually heard the "a" pronounced like that too often it other words. I think that pronunciation is probably a little more rural, but I am not really sure. –  TheEnigmaMachine Jun 22 '11 at 1:26
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To be honest, Colorado people have no true accent. That is the beauty of this place.Denver is a huge ball of random race and backgrounds. The only main things about Colorado people you have to capture is our need for being there first / doing something first, our shortening of words like Coming to Comin' etc, and our Green Peace stance.

But like I said, we are from all backgrounds. There is no one true Colorado accent.

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I'm pretty sure that you'll find that Denver lacks a distinctive accent.

Paul Meier has the most comprehensive dialect training materials I've found online, and even he doesn't list Denver in his regional accents, listing instead "General American" along with Boston, New York, and two varieties of American South.

Granted, he also doesn't have the distinctive Minnesota accent we all recognize from Fargo, so not being on Paul Meier's page is far from definitive. However, Wikipedia's list of American dialects also leaves Colorado out so I think we can put Denver in the "neutral American accent" category.

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You might have to play up the racial/ethnic types rather than try to find or create a Denver accent. As has been mentioned it's a very neutral, unaccented speech.

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This is not true. People who speak in a particular accent don't normally realize they're doing it. It sounds "normal" to those people. pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/midwest. I would really like to find a representative sound byte, though. –  RMorrisey Jun 20 '11 at 5:50
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There's always the news channels for current live examples. 9news.com is the first one that comes to mind: 9news.com/video/9newsonline.aspx My own six years abroad in the military bore this out as people never knew where I was from but other accents were almost always discernible. –  zilla Jun 20 '11 at 12:57
    
Thanks for the sound byte. The guy sitting on the right in today's frontpage video definitely has a distinct accent. The news anchor has it too, but it's much less pronounced and harder to pick up. I'm discounting the other polo player dude in the center, because he clearly has a different ethnic accent. I'm trying to imitate it, and it's like I have to glue my tongue almost to the roof of my mouth. I would never have known that it was a Denver accent, though, if somebody asked me about it. –  RMorrisey Jun 20 '11 at 13:44
    
I am from New Jersey, by the way. We drink "wutter". =) –  RMorrisey Jun 20 '11 at 13:46
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