British Accents

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    I saw Madonna interviewed the other day which prompted this thread. I was aghast on how she has turned from NY Pop Queen to Mary Poppins. I know she lives there now but her new accent seems contrived . I can’t tell much about her affected accent so I’ll ask some of you folks there in the UK - Where does her “adopted” British accent come from and is it real? Can you fake a British accent and fool a Brit?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH6cHmSchtM


    I have a friend who is from New Orleans and says that he can size-up a person just by his accent- what neighborhood his family lives and what socio-economic class he is from. Accents and dialects have been used in social discrimination there.

    Is this the case with British accents as well? Do Brits change their accents when needed? Is there a “standard” British accent? And how much are you judged by the British accent you have?
     
  2. Rugbypup

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    wow, where to begin, the UK has loads of accents. Norther, Souther, West Country, White, Cockney, Manx, Asian, Brummie, Scotts, Scouse, Welsh, Irish... & each has its own stereotypes and conitations for sure...
     
  3. Deve1opment

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    Fake Brit accents are easy to tell - most think we all speak Cockney (badly). And don't ever try to immitate a Geordie!!
     
  4. Rugbypup

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    Personally, i have a posh southern accent (very queens english) and yeah, ive had to put up with a lot of stick because of it. People instantly asume ur rich and snobbish.
     
  5. Rugbypup

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    Best Brit accent i heard was Rennie Zelwegga, if thats how she spells it, i had no idea Bridget Jones was American, lol, but yeah, most attempts at a Brit accent are bad to say the least, lol.
     
  6. Kenyth

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    Her pronouciation is a bit funny now, trying to be posh or something, but she stills sound like a yank to me :p

    I think people's accent do change slightly with their surroundings. I sound so Kiwi just a month ago, and now being here in Syd for more than a month now, apparently Im starting to sound more Australian :( Despite how much I try not to sound like one!
     
  7. SlimGuySB

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    The two best I heard were on the old Buffy TV series. With Anthony Stewart Head coaching them Spike and Wesley were pretty good (and got better as time went on). What amuses me is how many people in the states have difficulty understanding me when I'm there - I have a 'neutral' british accent - it takes most brits quite a while to find the hints in it and work out where I'm from
     
  8. Rugbypup

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    Ah bro, leemon or miilk? God bless the Kiwi's, i think they're awesome. x
     
  9. dong20

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    I have no idea where it comes from, Linguaphone tapes or 'B' movie outtakes maybe, certainly not very akin to that from any part of England * I've ever been, not London or the Home Counties where she lives. She sounds like an idiot.

    Yes and yes, at least in theory (rather less theoretical just prior to WWI) although it's quite a complex and fluid dynamic riddled with inverse snobbery, media trendiness and contrived dialects - like Madonna's especially naff one.

    Standard accents, no there isn't a standard British Accent - * Britain as you know includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but those accents are so distinctive they arguably stand alone. Being an Englishman (so to speak) I would have to work very hard to tell what part of those countries the speaker came from from a sheer lack of immersion and probably fail most of the time.

    The theory that point of origin can be ascertained from a few words is quite valid, certainly in the UK. It can be hard to spot a fake regional dialect if the only exposure to it you've had came from the media, most are faked up for the screen, be it large or small.

    Having a short conversation is usually enough to spot all but the best deliberate fakers. Some people (myself included) though tend to aquire, very casually and subconsiously some nuance of the speech of people they're with for any time. That can be confusing....

    For example, I recently spent some weeks working with some Scots (in Slovakia as it happened - so they were about the only native 'English' speakers I conversed with) and I found myself picking up a few 'wee' phrases. It must have sounded odd to anyone listening (and to them) and of course they fell away within a week or two.
     
  10. ManlyBanisters

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    She's putting it on a little - because when she speaks more fluidly she sounds more American. She still sounds essentially American to me - but I can hear her trying to be the posher end of Estuary English (a contrived accent even for Brits). Estuary English would be the RP of Ritchie's set, I would guess, so she's probably just copying what she hears most days.

    It's possible that it's not conscious. I've been accused of having a morphing accent that changes to mirrior, in a small way, the accent, emphasis and tone of whoever I'm talking to. I certainly don't do it on purpose.
     
  11. earllogjam

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    Do you subconciously size people up by the accent they have? Is there some kind of unspoken Posh scale that these accents fall into?

    I would imagine the BBC World newscasts we get here in the States are an example of "standard" British speech. No?

    Dong, not sure what "naff" means. Sorry.

    MB, what is "Estuary English" - is that a derogatory term?
     
  12. dolfette

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    very obviously american!

    there are a few words where she's trying far too hard to sound english...and failing.

    i have the accent she's trying to fake.
    the old style "bbc english".
    people accuse me of being posh :(
     
  13. Rugbypup

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    No BBC english isnt the standard. Stereotypically, Northern accents are considered DTE and working class, where as Souther are see as rich and posh, while West Country are seen as a bit thick and yokle.
     
  14. ManlyBanisters

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    Naff is originally from a gay code language (polari) and originally meant Not Available For Fucking - but now means a bit crap, shabby.

    Estuary English is an assumed accent - best described as 1/2 way between old Received Pronounciation and Cockney. I use it in a derogatory sense - but it isn't necessarily an insult.
     
  15. dong20

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    Sometimes, as another poster said some regional dialects have sterotypical connotations.

    Standard English, as opposed to standard British which doesn't exist, well perhaps maybe, almost in written form. Actually neither does standard English other than as a dialect itself but that's the beauty of the language.

    Trudgill: Standard English

    It means a bit rubbish, cheap, contrived, tawdry or otherwise substandard. It can also be used as a verb, usually in the imperative as in "Naff off" (usually accredited first to Princess Anne - though she most likely said Fuck off and it was toned down by the media) and as an adjective, as in this is the naffest thing I've seen in ages.

    I also heard about MB's derivation, it's unclear how true that is or the one that about it having arisen out of attempts to circumvent TV censorship in the 1970s in shows such as Porridge. Who knows how it came about.

    A 'dialect' of the Thames Estuary...

    What is Estuary English?
     
  16. Kenyth

    Kenyth New Member

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    BBC doesn't even have a 'standard' British english anymore, a lot of them sound Indian or Paki to me, and many of the overseas correspondence just sound like wherever they are reporting from
     
  17. Not_Punny

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    Yes, Madonna's accent does sound contrived. But then, she slips in and out of it.

    If you travel a lot, you end up with a "chamelon" accent. I certainly did -- I'm an American who went to school in England, and I ended up with no accent of my own. No one ever knows where I'm from -- hmmmm, neither do I... :biggrin1:
     
  18. Kenyth

    Kenyth New Member

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    milf..

    Im a bit like that, I was born in England, brought up in Canada, NZ, Europe, Asia, pretty much lived all over the world, my accent is very adaptive to the person I talk to, naturally I just imitate the other person, I don't know what I end up doing that, but sometimes it can be rude, if you are talking to a Non-english native and they have a very strong accent, and they think you are making fun of them or something....:p
     
  19. Rugbypup

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    Ive seen that happen Kenyth, with horrible results... :-(
     
  20. ManlyBanisters

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    Um - assuming you don't mean it nastily - but 'Paki' is a very emotive term in the UK - some people reading may take offence at its use. Hope you didn't mean it that way.
     
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