This survey is a joint venture between 3 linguistics professors, 1 at Yale and 2 from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The idea is to learn more about “north American” accents – that is, the accents of people who grew up in the USA and Canada. Differences in regional accents and dialects are influenced by a number of factors, and this survey is a great way to collect enough data to study how and where these differences manifest themselves.
So, who can participate? Well, basically any native English speaker from the US or Canada. From the site:
We’d like recordings from anyone who has grown up speaking English in the US or Canada. We would like to get information about as many different types of North American English as possible. The more diverse our participants, the more representative it will be of the ways Americans speak. There are no right or wrong answers in this survey. We’re interested in all the different varieties of English on this continent!
If you’d like to get involved, the survey basically consists of you answering some basic questions about yourself (age, gender, ethnicity etc.), then recording yourself reading a list of around 80 English words. It takes around 5 minutes total, and all you need is a microphone connected to your computer and Flash installed.
So far they’ve had around 2,500 responses, but they still want a few thousand more participants, so get involved! You can go straight to the survey page here.
The preliminary results for the survey thus far can be found here.