It seems that after a decade and a half of life in the South preceded by almost another decade of globe trotting I have not shed my Western accent. In more than one way, I'm quite glad. Although my accent marks me as a cowboy despite my not driving trucks or hitching wagons, it ties me to my home in Nevada. (That's /nı 'væ dʌ/ not /nə 'va dʌ/ for you outsiders.)
American accents are as varied as those of any other anglophone country. We former British Imperial subjects have made every effort to separate ourselves from our linguistic forbears (spend a few moments comparing Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries) and in doing so, we've created enough of our own internal divisions. However, it makes for a more interesting country. The foods we eat, the words we use, the way we speak--all of these help to create a sense of cultural identity. Even though it seems at times that you can drive through any American town and find the exact same rubber stamped commercialized chain restaurant or retail outlet, our diversity is not yet erased. During our grand tour of the American roadways, my children and I made wide note of some of the varied vocalizations of English throughout the country. Even our dog Beau seemed to notices some differences in the aboiements of his canine compatriots.
Here's to local colloquialisms, accents and habits!