There are much stronger differences between British and American accents than the Rhotic/non-rhotic dichotomy. The accent from Northern England is even more distinctive and it has little to do with the upper class status of their speakers. I tend to believe that their accent is closer to the ancestral pronunciation and that the American has evolved separately in the last two centuries by contact with other accents (Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, Swede, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Yiddish, Russian, Norwegian, Greek, French, and Spanish). As a matter of fact, the Northeastern American accent is closer to the British accent than, say Midwestern, Southern, or Californian accents.
Interestingly, Australian accents are closer to the British ones, whereas Canadian accents are more similar to some American accents. Perhaps because of the similarities between the immigrant origin of their respective populations.______________+Laura Beachum
: "Why do people use the word "accent" when they really mean "dialect"? An accent is a holdover from your native language. A dialect is the different ways a single language can sound. Very informative post tho, I'd been wondering why we sound so different."
- A dialect also includes particularities in grammar and vocabulary, whereas accent only refers to pronunciation, rhythm, stress, and intonation, out of here the use of the word accent. Even in the English courses by the Oxford and Cambridge Universities is used the expression "accents in English" to refer to the different dialectal accents: In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation. An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside (a geographical or regional accent), the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, their caste or social class, their first language (when the language in which the accent is heard is not their native language), and so on.Accents typically differ in quality of voice, pronunciation of vowels and consonants, stress, and prosody. Although grammar, semantics, vocabulary, and other language characteristics often vary concurrently with accent, the word 'accent' refers specifically to the differences in pronunciation, whereas the word 'dialect' encompasses the broader set of linguistic differences. Often 'accent' is a subset of 'dialect'.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accent_(linguistics)______________+Jeremy R
: "Is there a standard british or american accent? People speak differently mainly if they are not talking to another group of people for any amount of time. That explain why in one nation people speak differently too. Seems very obvios if you ever traveled in america."<<Standard English (often shortened to S.E. within linguistic circles) refers to whatever form of the English language is accepted as a national norm in an Anglophone country.In the British Isles, particularly in England and Wales, it is often associated with: the "Received Pronunciation" accent (there are several variants of the accent) and UKSE (United Kingdom Standard English), which refers to grammar and vocabulary.In the United States it is generally associated with the "General American" accent,>>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_english<<Received Pronunciation (RP), also called the Queen's (or King's) English, is the standard accent of Standard English in Great Britain, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms. RP is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England", although some have argued that it can be heard from native speakers throughout England and Wales. RP is sometimes referred to as Oxford English or BBC English because those organisations are often considered standard-bearers for it. Although there is nothing intrinsic about RP that marks it as superior to any other variety, sociolinguistic factors have given Received Pronunciation particular prestige in parts of Britain. It has thus been the accent of those with power, money and influence since the early to mid 20th century, though it has more recently been criticised as a symbol of undeserved privilege. However, since the 1960s, a greater permissiveness towards allowing regional English varieties has taken hold in education and the media in Britain; in some contexts conservative RP is now perceived negatively.>>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation<<General American (GA), also known as Standard American English (SAE), is a major accent of American English. The accent is not restricted to the United States. Within American English, General American and accents approximating it are contrasted with Southern American English, several Northeastern accents, and other distinct regional accents and social group accents like African American Vernacular English.>>
...<<It is commonly believed that General American English evolved as a result of an aggregation of rural and suburban Midwestern dialects, though the English of the Upper Midwest can deviate quite dramatically from what would be considered a "regular" American Accent. The local accent often gets more distinct the farther north one goes within the Midwest, and the more rural the area, with the Northern Midwest featuring its own dialect North Central American English. The fact that a Midwestern dialect became the basis of what is General American English is often attributed to the mass migration of Midwestern farmers to California and the Pacific Northwest from where it spread.>>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_American