I know people have created languages like Esperanto or Ido to make languages that have desired characteristics. Obviously then people have spent a lot of time creating these languages from the ground up, but has anyone modified an existing language like English by creating a new accent?

Something with constructed dialect that would make any native listener have no idea where the speaker is from? And do these accents give rise to new uses of preexisting languages like English? Maybe this is done through new grammatical structures or something?

Thanks for the help, I hope this has been a constructive first post.

  • Well, there are accents that were constructed not for fun, but for the purpose of standardizing national languages and stuff like that. For example, in English, distinguishing the initial consonant sounds of "whale" and "wail" is artificial for most speakers, but they are aware of how to do it. There are examples from other languages, like the standard German accent (most words ending in "g" are supposed to be pronounced with the sound /k/, words like "evig" are supposed to be pronounced with /ç/, but words like "eviglich" are "officially" supposed to have /k/ to avoid having two /ç/ nearby). – sumelic Oct 8 '15 at 2:53
  • Meanwhile, in regional German accents, other pronunciation patterns exist. – sumelic Oct 8 '15 at 2:54
  • Here's a citation from a book that describes the German rule I gave as an example as "made up": Whose German?: The ach/ich alternation and related phenomena in standard and colloquial – sumelic Oct 8 '15 at 2:56
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Most famous is probably Nadsat, created by Anthony Burgess for the novel "A clockwork orange".

There is also a common artificial argot used in English literature spoken by uneducated people or criminals. It has a name, but I have forgotten it and therefore don't have a handy handle to it. Characteristic for it are left out consonants (th, r) replaced by apostrophes.

EDIT: Found the word I was looking for: Eye dialect

I think, the accent with which the narrator speaks in Frank Zappa's rock opera "Thing-Fish" is an example of a constructed English accent/dialect. Correct me, if I'm wrong, and that's a real dialect spoken somewhere, but I've never heard anything like that.

The narrator says ['lembəˌtɔːriːz] for 'laboratories', ['pouʃəm] and [sə'luʃəm] for 'potion' and 'solution', [ˈgʌbnɪnt] for 'government', ['boɪdən] for 'burden', [mu'zɪʃnɪnz] for 'musicians', [rə'lɪdʒməs] for 'religious', and ['ʙɔːdweɪ] for 'Broadway' ([ʙ] is a voiced bilabial trill). Also, every [ð] is [d] and every [θ] is [t], there are also some grammar deviations.

Here it is, the narrator begins speaking from the very first seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfD2_tXiXeo

In a sense, the national language standards of all languages could be said to be 'constructed' (to different degrees). They tend to be more artificial than other dialects and accents, and their histories can often be traced to some more or less purposeful efforts.

You also seem to broaden the definition of accent to dialect which includes grammatical forms. In this case, the 'standard Czech' was 'constructed' in the 19th century. And it's not particularly unique. The rationale behind it was not that dissimilar from constructed languages like Esperanto.

Of course, there's a whole class of constructed languages in the entertainment context like Dothraki or Klingon and with these you'd find constructed accents as well. Joss Whedon's Firefly comes to mind.

  • Rhotacism in "gorram" certainly looks like a constructed phonetic change, but it apparently only occurs in this word. – Typhon Oct 9 '15 at 16:50

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