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Chicago Accent

The stereotypical Chicago accent has become very recognized largely due to all of the Second City improv people who've come out of Chicago and made their way onto Saturday Night Live, such as Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and John Belushi. Da Bears! Da Bulls! Da David Mamet!


Chicago Accent Learning Materials

  • The Chicago accent materials include recordings of AccentHelp coach Jim Johnson guiding you through learning the accent, using the text, as well as a number of recordings of native speakers. Jim gathered most of these recordings during trips to Chicago and from when he lived there for ten years - bringing the experience back to you in this download.
  • You'll get four versions of the written materials: a PDF file to print or read on a standard computer, a large-format PDF for portable reading devices, and MOBI for Kindle and EPUB for other portable readers.
  • This accent is appropriate for productions of Proof, Glengary Glen Ross, Bleacher Bums and other plays. You also hear it in films like The Blues Brothers and from people like Bill Murray and Dennis Farina.
  • Chicago accents are similar to the Upper Midwestern accents, but there is an urban element that is present in the classic Chicago accent. It is certainly distinct from the stereotypical sound of other Illinois residents. It does have a lot in common with a Pittsburgh accent as well.

Audio files (51.2MB, 105 minutes)

  1. Introduction to Sound Placement, Intonation and Helpful Hints (7:18)
  2. Consonant sound changes for learning a Chicago accent (16:59)
  3. Vowel sound changes in Chicago accents (11:13)
  4. changes in Diphthongs for speaking with a Chicago accent (3:56)
  5. Pronunciation of a number of words in a Chicago accent (4:12)
  6. Wrap up to learning to speak with a Chicago accent (2:44)
  7. Southwest side Chicago Male reading (:47)
  8. + his conversation (8:10)
  9. South side Chicago Female reading (1:10)
  10. + her conversation (6:46)
  11. Northwest side Chicago Policeman reading (:54)
  12. + his conversation (6:22)
  13. North side Chicago Female reading (:57)
  14. + her conversation (5:27)
  15. West side Chicago Male conversation (profanity) (9:27)
  16. Humboldt Park - a Chicago neighborhood - Female reading (1:37)
  17. + her conversation (8:10)
  18. Wrigleyville (neighborhood in Chicago near the Cubs' Wrigley Field) Male reading (1:28)
  19. + his conversation (7:11)

Most of these recordings are made "in the field" so you will hear such things as birds, cars or other people in the background. A transcription of the conversations is included to help you follow along.