Okay, so I know I'm not the only American wondering this, but do British people ever imitate American accents?
Also something else: How do you feel about American accents? Are there any you prefer over others, or some you can't stand?
Yes, this happens quite often, though largely in Drama courses. Being a Film Student, we don't often have much cause for accents (though I myself have a small arsenal at my disposal when I need them) but when I am around drama students, and we/they are doing some sort of performance that involves Americans, they are mostly capable of very good ones, though most of them appear to be modeled on 1930's Manhattanites (Manhattians? Manhatians? Iunno...) or the 80's oil barons of the South. Others are capable of good accents from elsewhere, of course, but they are usually trained in accents and have some sort of career in mind that requires them to be able to differentiate between an Idahoan and a West Virginian accent. Hope that helps ^__^
On the subject though, I am from a place that has a severely strong accent that I have never heard any American try to imitate and I, myself, no longer use it as it is a huddled mess of incoherence and when added to my lisp and stutter makes me about as understandable as a Manatee yelling into a cave... For these reasons I have fashioned an accent of my own that composites many "straight" accents in order to make each word I say understandable, and because of this I am often the cause of confusion as to where I am from. The majority of people think I am either American, Canadian or Irish based on this accent but I'm happy to inform them that I am entirely English.
Once again I hope this helps, sorry for the long-winded and probably pointless explanations but I did enjoy writing them up and answering your question since accents and peoples' speech is a favourite topic of mine, thank you for asking!
Mahalo and DFTBA,
Yes, frequently, although to echo Finch up there, usually only persistently by drama folks. Also there are plenty of British actors who (to my ears) do fair American accents (e.g. Christian Bale, Kevin McKidd).
In terms of preference, I adore accents from New Orleans and I once met a man from Colorado who had a brilliant accent. Although I'm not too great at actually working out precisely where in America an accent is from.
The only American accents I find irritating are Californian ones similar to the girls in the film "Clueless" (yeesh, showing my age now). Although it's more the dialect than the accent, to be honest.
Okay, so it's mostly drama students, from what I've heard so far. That's pretty interesting, though, considering most people (in America) I know love imitating British accents, regardless of which dialect. It kills time, I guess :D
Yeah, a lot of people are very annoyed by the Cali accent, which is know here as Valley Girl/Guy. I don't know you guys' stance on Southern accents, like in Alabama. Do you love 'em, or hate 'em? I've lived in the South my whole life, so they sound completely normal to me.
The accent here I hate the most is the Boston accent. There's something I find so incredibly obnoxious about it, no offence if anyone actually likes it or not.
But I love pretty much all British accents, except for the one used by the REALLY low class people, like travelers and gypsies. I don't understand a darn word they say...
Heh, fair enough. Yeah, I'm fairly fond of the southern accents myself, use one on occasion to confuse people or for certain words (I find myself more often these days using "y'all" when addressing multiple people)
As for the really low class people accent, I suppose you'd consider my natural accent to be of that variety, though I'm not a traveler, where I am from is certainly considered one of the lowest class places around. Farmer accents, is a closer description, I'd say, but yeah, the point is they are usually VERY hard to distinguish, especially if you're not from that area. When I lapse back into it I can understand anyone from there, my family and so on, and they can usually understand me (barring the impediments) but from an outsider's point of view I have heard it described as "unintelligible", "meaningless noise" and (in one amusing case) "Gruffling".
I generally find it amusing when I hear Americans attempt our accents, as I'm sure it's funny to hear the reverse. Most tend to go for the more upper-class "proper" accents that are actually rarely found these days, except by the kinds of people who would step over most others for fear of interaction. It's a funny world.
I admit, I tend to go for the posh English accent! I'm not around enough (well, any) people from the UK, so it doesn't influence me.
Haha, I like that word gruffling. It's sort of fitting, if you ask me. I think the accent used in the American ghettos is really annoying, and I understand that even less than the farmer-type accent you talked about. If you've ever heard it, you'll know what I mean. It's offensive to the English language and makes me want to cry.