I would like to know if the British A in " cancer " is nasal or the American A . Does the NYC accent differ a lot from standard american pronunciations ? The RP speakers don't pronounce any vowels nasally - that's what I know . Wel , I'd like to brush up my knowledge ! thankx in advance .
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In my opinion, any nasal vowel is AmEnglish...
I can't help you for the other questions, sorry...
Would you please specify which English words or letters need the nasal pronunciation
in General American English . Is General American English the same as Standard
American ? I'm interested in western american / californian - which has
got the nasal pronunciations .
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I'm afraid I'm not the right person to answer accurately, since I'm Belgian/French!
There are at least 3 Am mods here, so wait til one reads your thread. Emotion: smile
Midwestern American is very nasal. Like Chicago or Wisconsin. Take it from me, I'm from there!
There's nasal and then there's nasal. There are no nasal vowels in English, whether British or American, particularly when compared with the nasal vowels of French, say. Still, some listeners feel that American English is somehow more nasal. I don't hear it that way. Individual speakers may pronounce certain vowels more nasally than others (perhaps the lax "a", for example, especially when followed by "n"), but the language as a whole is not characterized by nasality.

California Jim
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Occitan is very nasal.. Emotion: bat
" but the language as a whole is not characterized by nasality. " - How would a Californian pronounce " according " ? I've seen in some movie that the character was pronouncing the a in according very much nasally . Is there any general rule for nasality ? For example , is the " a " in
" cancer " nasal ?

Occi..occii..wha..occitan ? what's that ?
The "a" in "according" is a schwa in all varieties of English that I am familiar with, certainly in California.

Some speakers do have a tendency to "tighten" the lax 'a' sound (as in 'cancer'), which causes the impression of nasality, or in some cases is nasality when an 'n' follows. I don't know with any certainty whether these are native Californians or people whose families have originally come from elsewhere and brought their twang with them!

Practice saying "sand", "band", "bad", "mad", "fang", "bang" with your tongue almost a high as in the position for "i" in "kin". Something like (but never exactly like) "saind" ("saned"), "baind" ("baned"), ... will come out. That's the (I think imported) twangy 'a' I'm talking about.

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