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For Candidates, An Accent on Authenticity

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For Candidates, An Accent on Authenticity

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For Candidates, An Accent on Authenticity

For Candidates, An Accent on Authenticity

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/95729820/95729818" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

What do Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, and John Edwards have in common? They've all been criticized for the way they speak — charged with affecting or suppressing or exaggering an accent so voters will identify with them.

But do accents have anything to do with authenticity? Does a dropped 'g' or a Southern-fried phrasing offer any kind of window into character? Linguist Geoff Nunberg has some thoughts about candidates and regional cadence.

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