The Linguistics Behind Kevin Spacey’s Southern Accent in House of Cards: A Quick Primer

Let’s take Kevin Spacey’s southern accent on the Netflix series House of Cards, and use it as a springboard for exploring the linguistics of that often times charming regional accent, shall we? In the video above, created by Vox, we learn all about “ay-unglidding.” And “r-dropping,” that ever distinctive feature of the Southern accent that originated in England.

The clip was made with the help of university linguists — Dennis Preston at Oklahoma State University; Robin Dodsworth at North Carolina State University; and Kirk Hazen at West Virginia University. To learn more about how well Kevin Spacey masters the accent (and where he falls short), head over to Vox.

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  • Catherine says:

    Scottish and some Irish people settled much of middle South, especially the mountainous areas. THIS is where the hard “r” comes from.
    There is no one Southern accent – there are many.

  • Pat says:

    Kevin may fall short in some areas but overall, he is the best non-southern southern actor out there. I think he nails it.

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