Many Iowans believe that we have no accent, insisting that we speak perfect American English the way it was intended to be spoken. But could this really be the case? Linguists say no. Iowans do in fact have an accent, we just don't notice it!

A perfect example; say the word "caught" out loud. Now say "cot". In perfect American English, these words are pronounced slightly differently, however, the majority of Iowans pronounce them exactly the same!  We pronounce vowels for different but similar words exactly the same, rather than using the slight nuances that differentiate the words. "Bag" and "beg" are other good examples of this. It turns out Iowans have an accent that is a mix between a Minnesota accent and a Missouri accent...which makes sense, for obvious reasons based on our placement on the map.

The reason we don't tend to believe that we have an accent is because it's just not nearly as strong or apparent as other accents, such as Southern or Boston accents for example.  I was shocked during a visit to New York some years back when a few locals accurately guessed that I am a midwesterner based on my accent. They just weren't able to place which state I hail from, saying they could tell it wasn't Minnesota. They thought maybe I was from Wisconsin. (So close!)

See for yourself! Next time you meet an out-of-stater, ask if they pick up on your Iowan accent. I'll bet they do!

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