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Thread: accent-ism

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    any theories on how it came to be that the british BBC accent came to signify intelligence and sophistication in America?

    was it because the first waves of British immigrants to the US were wealthy maybe? as opposed to the working class and poor which came from Italy and Poland?
    actually of course the answer is a lot bigger, more complex, and boring than that. (something to do with imperialist empire i guess)
    Last edited by zhao; 01-09-2011 at 11:46 AM.

  2. #32
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    every englishman should have a range of accents available to him. they open different doors. why would anyone limit themselves to a single manner of speaking just to satisfy some desire for authenticity. i couldnt tell you what my 'real' accent is if i wanted to. you adapt. as a child my father had a generic southern accent, my mother is a kiwi and nusery and infant school had kids from all over place speaking in a variety of ways though almost all with at least a nod to the indigineous cockney norms. years spent in aus and nz have altered my speech rhythms as much as the way words actually sound. cadences become more passive and lesuirely.

  3. #33
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    i like the sound of scottish women talking. west indians. brummies i like a lot. its warm. it maks you feel safe. a proper lilting welsh one, thats nice. an Antoine de Caunes style comedy french one is great. the south african accent grates.

  4. #34
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    I've always thought of posh accents being more a matter of using words like 'shall' and 'one' and saying 'should have' instead of 'should of'
    Well, the difference between shall and will is really quite complicated and the distinction is almost dying out and pretty much known only by the most strictly educated of the previous generation - but saying "should of" is just meaningless. You don't need to be posh to know what a verb is or isn't.

    "any theories on how it came to be that the british BBC accent came to signify intelligence and sophistication in America?"
    I always assumed that, in a young country, an English accent came to be associated with old money which is always better than new money except when you need to spend it. I'm guessing you actually mean English here?
    Last edited by IdleRich; 01-09-2011 at 08:03 AM.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    but saying "should of" is just meaningless. You don't need to be posh to know what a verb is or isn't.
    Indeed.

    (However you may run the risk of sounding like a posh twat if you use 'indeed' as an interjection. Um...)

    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I always assumed that, in a young country, an English accent came to be associated with old money which is always better than new money except when you need to spend it. I'm guessing you actually mean English here?
    I think when you hear a real old-money New England accent is often does sound very English. Clearly the members of the ruling class in England would have become the ruling class when they went over to administrate the Colonies in the 17th century, so it's no surprise that English accents, and particularly 'posh' ones (e.g. BBC RP) are still associated in the US with 'breeding', being 'educated' and the elite in general. But then a lot of Americans (to judge from TV shows) are unaware that not everyone in Britain sounds like either Brian Sewell or a Dick van Dyke-style 'cockerney'.

    Edit: actually this was quite nicely sent up on an episode of Frasier where Daphne meets this American guy who says "Oh, you're English!", she replies "Manchester" and he says "Damn, I'm usually pretty good with accents" - the implication being that he must think she meant Manchester, Pennsylvania or something, I guess.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 01-09-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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  6. #36
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    I don't get what's meaningless about using a couple of words in a given sequence which are simply taken to mean something. Fair enough, speak the language in a way you prefer, but it's not as if 'should uv' (which I think is a more accurate description of what people are actually saying here) literally doesn't mean anything, if people know what it means, if you get what I mean...

  7. #37
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    Well yeah, "should've" (short for "should HAVE") is fine, it's what I usually say, but you sometimes here* (and read) what is unambiguously "should OF" - as Rich says, it's not to do with being "posh" or not, it's just wrong.

    Anyway, accents on TV are a funny thing. There's a definite "regional accent code":

    Scottish: nothing implies good, Protestant honesty and trustworthiness like a nice well-spoken Scottish accent (I'm guessing it's generally a middle-class Edinburgh accent? sounds like the Scottish equivalent of RP, basically). It's especially handy on adverts for things that are good for your body or, better still, your soul - for heartstring-tugging earnestness, you can't beat a really serious, sober Scottish accent for the v/o for your charity ad featuring abused donkeys or malnourished African children.

    Northern: Yorkshire/Northumbria accents (Scouse and Manc, not so much) are de rigeur if you want to imply friendly, salt-of-the-earth matiness. Channel 4 worked this out about ten years ago and have exclusively employed Geordies as their anouncers ever since (all the better to distinguish the channel from the stuffy old BBC, of course). This approach can be taken to a patronising extreme, as in for example Victoria Wood's nauseating "Ooh crikey, Grommit!" Yorkshire brogue used on the Asda ads recently.

    Cockney/Essex: Is your advert intended to appeal to BLOKES and LADS???? Then this is the accent for you!

    West Country: can be used to impart the flavour of orl fings aaagriculch'ral; very often put on ("Mummerset") and generally played for laughs.

    Brummie/Midlands: rarely heard, but, like West Country, generally seen as a 'comedy' accent.

    Irish: WELL BEGORRAH, IF OI'M NAT THE MOST LOIKABLE ACCENT IN DA WHOLE WOIDE WORLD! Used to generally excruciating effect to imply, like Scottish and Northern accents, friendliness, honesty etc. etc., though often with an added 'comedy' element. Often works best if spoken very rapidly in a high-pitched, excitable manner.

    Joanna Lumley: car insurance.

    *christ, I really am a spastic sometimes
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 01-09-2011 at 01:00 PM.
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  8. #38
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    "I don't get what's meaningless about using a couple of words in a given sequence which are simply taken to mean something. Fair enough, speak the language in a way you prefer, but it's not as if 'should uv' (which I think is a more accurate description of what people are actually saying here) literally doesn't mean anything, if people know what it means, if you get what I mean..."
    Should've is fine because it's short for "should have" but I thought that you were saying it was some kind of anti-posh thing to write or clearly enunciate "should of" which is meaningless - how can you "of" something? I guess what I'm saying is that there is no accent or way of speaking that changes "should've" to "should of" although it sounds as though there is - does that make sense?

    "it's what I usually say, but you sometimes here and (read)"
    Surely "hear" tee hee. Ironically this is one of the times where it would be better to use "one" I think because it sounds as though you are saying Grizzleb sometimes sees and hears that when you actually mean that people in general do.

  9. #39
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    Nottingham's an accent that's yet to penetrate the mass media. I don't think most people would be able to place it if they heard it.

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    "Brummie/Midlands: rarely heard, but, like West Country, generally seen as a 'comedy' accent."

  11. #41
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    its all been downhill since they let just any old accent get heard on tv....

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Ironically this is one of the times where it would be better to use "one" I think because it sounds as though you are saying Grizzleb sometimes sees and hears that when you actually mean that people in general do.
    Well yeah, but using "one" as a pronoun is the most glaring shibboleth of poshness in the whole language - which is annoying, because it's actually really useful.
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  13. #43
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    "Well yeah, but using "one" as a pronoun is the most glaring shibboleth of poshness in the whole language - which is annoying, because it's actually really useful."
    Wouldn't that be something that the posh can't/don't say? I suppose a shibboleth loosely means a give-away (right?) but wasn't it a give-away because people from the one tribe were unable to pronounce it (and were duly slaughtered)? Nice example of an accent mattering quite a lot anyway.

  14. #44
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    Hmm, that may be how the word originated but I think it's used these days to mean a word or usage that either excludes or includes someone from a certain group - as it did in the original case to mark someone as being an Ephraimite (who couldn't pronounce it) or a Gileadite (who could). [Thanks Wiktionary!]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Well yeah, "should've" (short for "should HAVE") is fine, it's what I usually say, but you sometimes here* (and read) what is unambiguously "should OF" - as Rich says, it's not to do with being "posh" or not, it's just wrong.

    Anyway, accents on TV are a funny thing. There's a definite "regional accent code":

    Scottish: nothing implies good, Protestant honesty and trustworthiness like a nice well-spoken Scottish accent (I'm guessing it's generally a middle-class Edinburgh accent? sounds like the Scottish equivalent of RP, basically). It's especially handy on adverts for things that are good for your body or, better still, your soul - for heartstring-tugging earnestness, you can't beat a really serious, sober Scottish accent for the v/o for your charity ad featuring abused donkeys or malnourished African children.

    Northern: Yorkshire/Northumbria accents (Scouse and Manc, not so much) are de rigeur if you want to imply friendly, salt-of-the-earth matiness. Channel 4 worked this out about ten years ago and have exclusively employed Geordies as their anouncers ever since (all the better to distinguish the channel from the stuffy old BBC, of course). This approach can be taken to a patronising extreme, as in for example Victoria Wood's nauseating "Ooh crikey, Grommit!" Yorkshire brogue used on the Asda ads recently.

    Cockney/Essex: Is your advert intended to appeal to BLOKES and LADS???? Then this is the accent for you!

    West Country: can be used to impart the flavour of orl fings aaagriculch'ral; very often put on ("Mummerset") and generally played for laughs.

    Brummie/Midlands: rarely heard, but, like West Country, generally seen as a 'comedy' accent.

    Irish: WELL BEGORRAH, IF OI'M NAT THE MOST LOIKABLE ACCENT IN DA WHOLE WOIDE WORLD! Used to generally excruciating effect to imply, like Scottish and Northern accents, friendliness, honesty etc. etc., though often with an added 'comedy' element. Often works best if spoken very rapidly in a high-pitched, excitable manner.

    Joanna Lumley: car insurance.

    *christ, I really am a spastic sometimes
    get back to writing charlie brooker's scripts tea..

    edit - I actually dislike most strong accents, I heard two guys at Sonning Lock yesterday. I smiled at the preposterous accent mimicry gwan-on. Yah this and yah that, deepening their voices with such effort, hiding their square stubbly chins in the chasm of their bodened chests, almost like they had both had a few pints and were constantly trying to swallow a belch or squash a burp back down into themselves. I also loath the geordie accent, that high pitched bespectacled bird from panel shows and radio 4, with a whole career based on self depreciating quips ugh.... Sarah Millican - her accent cuts through me.
    Last edited by you; 01-09-2011 at 02:46 PM. Reason: rant

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