In what may be the coolest tool for someone trying to get a quick handle on accents, the Speech Accent Archive ((Spotted by Jenn Nixon)) has scores of non-English speakers reading the same paragraph in English.
Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.
There are languages that I’ve never heard of. Mortlockese? Xasonga? Teochew?
Very cool stuff.
Edited to add: Alex Wilson pointed me to a similar project which has both English dialects and accents of other language speakers. One of the strangest things, for me, about the sample text they use is that my maiden name shows up in the middle of it.
The goose’s owner, Mary Harrison, kept calling, “Comma, Comma,” which Sarah thought was an odd choice for a name.
Astonishing the number of different ways one can say Mary Harrison. I shudder to think what would happen if they tried Kowal.