How good is your ear for accents? How different do you think one word could sound in a variety of accents? A new interactive site entitled Sound Comparisons by Edinburgh University in conjunction with the Arts & Humanities Research Council allows you to hear the same word uttered in dozens of accents. I tried out the word “brother” and was amazed at the differences.
Some of the pages are slow to load and using Firefox over Internet Explorer is recommended – but not as highly as downloading the entire site – which I’ve just done.
I’d say it’s impossible to cultivate a musical ear without being sensitive to the subtle changes in pitch and timbre which distinguish accents. Perhaps that’s why so many impressionists are musical.