Sarah Palin's accent has elicited a great deal of curiosity, and now Slate has posted a well-researched analysis by the OED's Jesse Sheidlower. Here's the first paragraph:
Since Sarah Palin was selected as the Republican candidate for vice president, many people have made comments about her unusual speech, comparing it to accents heard in the movie Fargo, in the states of Wisconsin and Idaho, and in Canada. Some have even attributed her manner of speaking to her supposed stupidity. But Palin actually has an Alaskan accent, one from the Matnuska and Susitna Valley region, where Palin's hometown, Wasilla, is located.
Sheidlower's piece relies on local knowledge from James Crippen, a linguistics student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa who hails from Alaska. (He's Tlingit, and his research is on his ancestral language as well as other languages of the Northwestern Pacific Coast region.) Crippen posted an insightful comment on Palin's accent about a month ago on Mr. Verb, which thus far has been the go-to blog for discussion of the Palin-olect. Nice to see the linguablogosphere getting out in front of this story.