Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 11 released July 24th)
Polls: 0 Official Lists (Results), 1960 (Results), Romance (Aug 28th)
Challenges: German/Austrian/Swiss, <400, 1970s
Film of the Week: Der Fan, September nominations (Aug 28th)
World Cup S4: Match 2H: India vs Cuba (Aug 16th), QF Preparation (Aug 25th)

Accent Accuracy

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

Accent Accuracy

#1

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 4:49 pm

For whatever reason, this subject just popped into my head while discussing The Great Ashton Kutcher with mighty on another thread. Kutcher, for those who don't know, starred in a long-running US sitcom, That 70s Show which takes place in a fictional Wisconsin suburb (probably a Milwaukee suburb) in the late 70s - basically an hour's drive from where I was growing up at the same time. So that show is a little bit of a cultural touchstone for me and I was just thinking about how accurate or not it is in terms of the dialogue and accents. Kutcher is from a mid-sized city in Iowa - close enough I guess - and Kurtwood Smith is from a tiny town in south-central Wisconsin, but he grew up in California. The rest of the cast are from far outside the area, and nobody really makes a significant effort to do a "Wisconsin" accent let alone the Milwaukee variant except Don Stark, who almost sounds like a parody. Of course it's a sitcom, reality isn't the issue but being a local I can't help but notice it.

Some examples of really GOOD work with accents by comparison are on display in Code of Silence, directed by Andrew Davis, a Chicago native, and taking place there. Star Chuck Norris and bad guy Henry Silva are from Oklahoma and Brooklyn, respectively, but a lot of the supporting roles are played by Chicago natives or transplants like Ron Dean, John Mahoney and Dennis Farina, and given that the whole film was shot on location as well, it gives it a fairly rare feeling of authenticity for this kind of Hollywood action film. Davis has generally done a good job with his Chicago-set productions - The Fugitive starred native Harrison Ford, and Above the Law is full of Chicagoans or midwesterners in small parts (including a guy who used to be a friend of mine when I worked in north shore video stores).

And going back to bad - or just careless - I watched Deja Vu, the Tony Scott film, not that long ago, which takes place entirely in New Orleans, and there isn't one fucking southern accent to be heard in the whole film. Now it's fine if some of the actors, even the main ones, aren't natives - people move around a lot in America these days as I'm sure they do elsewhere - but when you have people in a film mention being born and bred in a place, and you have all kinds of characters and none of them sound like natives, it's a bit obvious to anybody who has heard those accents before. Hell, Nic Cage at least pretended to sound like a NoLa resident in Zandalee, and if you can't even put as much work into something as Nic Cage does, what are you doing in movies?

So what are some particularly notable examples of good, or bad accents in movies or TV in your experience? I'm more interested in the overall accents - does a whole CAST or COMMUNITY sound real - as opposed to say one person (although that can have a big effect when it's really poor - Laurence Olivier almost single-handedly kills 49th Parallel with his ridiculously overdone Black Jacque Shellacque Québec accent). I'm thinking mostly in terms of "big" productions here - obviously your low-budget indie made with your friends who all grew up together in suburban NJ is going to be "realistic" in this area, whether Kevin Smith was going for that or not. Bigger films and TV shows though have the luxury of choosing to care about this shit, or not. Which ones do so in obvious ways - or not so obvious except to the natives?

User avatar
AdamH
Site Admin
Posts: 12472
Joined: May 05, 2011
Contact:

#2

Post by AdamH » July 13th, 2020, 5:04 pm

Very interesting topic!

I'll need to think this through more to come up with a good answer but it seems to be common to have people playing a Scottish character despite not being from Scotland and there are various examples of terrible fake Scottish accents in films. I know that's not what you're looking for from this thread but I mainly wanted to say it's a very interesting topic. In terms of it being the entire community in a film rather than just one actor/actress, Brigadoon certainly stands out as having absolutely terrible fake accents (and being a bad film in general too).

One thing that's always irritated me in American films (in particular) is that it seems to be so common for every British character to have a posh, Southern English accent. To the point that "British accent" seems to mean just that one posh accent rather than the huge range of accents in the UK.

User avatar
Onderhond
Posts: 4633
Joined: Dec 23, 2012
Contact:

#3

Post by Onderhond » July 13th, 2020, 5:17 pm

It annoyed me no end in Knives Out. Daniel Craig should be blacklisted for that performance.

Even worse is when characters are supposed to be talking Dutch in US films, but they're clearly speaking German. No effort at all :D
Last edited by Onderhond on July 13th, 2020, 5:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#4

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 5:18 pm

No, that's a good point you make - I actually like Brigadoon a lot but I'm sure you're right about the accents. And obviously yeah we tend to make everything a generic "British accent" or "Indian" or "French", etc. I imagine that's true everywhere to one extent or another.

Another example popped into my head, this one having both good and bad accents. Watched the 1989 Patrick Swayze vehicle Next of Kin a few weeks ago. Swayze and Bill Paxton play brothers from Kentucky who are now in Chicago - both actors were from Texas, so they at least sound generically "southern". And some of the locals in Chicago were played by Chicagoans, like Del Close. So far so good. But eventually we go down to Kentucky and a third brother is introduced, played by... Liam Neeson! Doing one of the very worst southern accents I've ever heard. WTF. Neeson wasn't even that big a star then, and I'm sure it wasn't a huge-budgeted film. Why cast this Irish dude who can't do southern to save his life? It's obvious they wanted a really big, imposing guy for the role, and he is that, but seriously, there were no tough-looking tall dudes who could do a better job on the accent available?

User avatar
RBG
Posts: 6235
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Location: desert usa
Contact:

#5

Post by RBG » July 13th, 2020, 5:25 pm

ha i just watched kinji fukasaku's virus from 1980, quite a blockbuster with international cast and most of it's in english (stars include glenn ford, robert vaughn, chuck connors and george kennedy). a WIDE variety of accents makes the film a bit (more) ludicrous but a standout was connors playing a british(?) submarine commander making absolutely 0 attempt to sound british

as someone who grew up outside baltimore i think 'the wire' did pretty well with the (awful) regional accent by including a lot of locals mainly. shout out to dominic west and idris elba, had no clue they were brits and people still don't believe it

one more i should mention: the wonderful country, a beautiful western, that somehow wants us to believe robert mitchum was in mexico so long he developed an accent. this doesn't happen lol but probably mitchum's choice, after all he made a calypso album! don't look it up unless you never wanna see him the same way again

i'm sure i can think of more examples. terrible accents don't kill a film if the rest is good, same with bad acting generally
Last edited by RBG on July 13th, 2020, 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
icm + ltbxd

NO GODS NO MASTERS

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#6

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 5:32 pm

RBG wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 5:25 pm
ha i just watched kinji fukasaku's virus from 1980, quite a blockbuster with international cast and most of it's in english (stars include glenn ford, robert vaughn, chuck connors and george kennedy). a WIDE variety of accents makes the film a bit (more) ludicrous but a standout was connors playing a british(?) submarine commander

as someone who grew up outside baltimore i think 'the wire' did pretty well with the (awful) regional accent by including a lot of locals mainly
You gotta wonder about the casting on some of these international co-productions, particularly the ones from, say, the mid-60s through the 80s. I think there is usually a little more attention paid to this element these days, because the producers know that people travel more and have a bit more knowledge of the way people sound outside their own doors. At least sometimes; there are always going to be hacks who don't give a shit and assume the audiences won't either.

Another example, just from last night and really a pretty egregious one: I watched My American Cousin, a Canadian film set in and shot in BC. I don't really know if the specific BC accents are accurate or not, everybody sounds "Canadian" to me but unfortunately that includes the title character, supposedly from Cali but played by an actor from Québec who can't sound American to save his life. Now I'm sure this was low budget, and it's a decent movie at all and I hate to rag on it, but seriously when you have the whole film revolve around an American, and a teenaged girl's dream of America, and it's the fucking title, and you can't get an American actor or someone who can at least do the accent?

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3407
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#7

Post by blocho » July 13th, 2020, 5:35 pm

Swayze, Paxton, and Neesons in the same movie! I have to see this. And it also has pre-fame Ben Stiller, the one-armed man from the Fugitive, and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs!

OK, accents. It's hard for me to think of an entire cast messing it up. Much easier to think of individuals like, yes, Olivier in 49th Parallel -- I thought of that whole sequence merely as a comic interlude in an earnest war drama. Harrison Ford in K-19 always comes to mind. William Hurt in Gorky Park -- I don't know what the fuck he was going for there.

For entire casts, it's always amusing when only British actors get cast in movies set in Russia or ancient Rome, and they just stick with their British accents. There are also a lot of old westerns where the extras who play Indians are from any number of tribes, so even when they're supposedly Navajo on screen, their dialogue might be in a different language.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#8

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 5:46 pm

blocho wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 5:35 pm
Swayze, Paxton, and Neesons in the same movie! I have to see this. And it also has pre-fame Ben Stiller, the one-armed man from the Fugitive, and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs!

OK, accents. It's hard for me to think of an entire cast messing it up. Much easier to think of individuals like, yes, Olivier in 49th Parallel -- I thought of that whole sequence merely as a comic interlude in an earnest war drama. Harrison Ford in K-19 always comes to mind. William Hurt in Gorky Park -- I don't know what the fuck he was going for there.

For entire casts, it's always amusing when only British actors get cast in movies set in Russia or ancient Rome, and they just stick with their British accents. There are also a lot of old westerns where the extras who play Indians are from any number of tribes, so even when they're supposedly Navajo on screen, their dialogue might be in a different language.
I wouldn't prioritize Next of Kin if I were you, it's really fairly boring and has very little action, until the last third. The cast is definitely the draw though.

You may be right about 49th Parallel and to be fair I do like it overall, and it does at least make up for Olivier in the end by having the greatest classic-era Canadian actor, Raymond Massey, give a nice patriotic speech. Olivier though... is there a more acclaimed actor in history who was worse at accents? He's really awful in Boys From Brazil also.

As far as the Indians thing goes, while it's hard to forgive a lot of what Hollywood did in this area in the classic era, it's probably also true that even if they tried to do accurate casting it would have been pretty difficult - at least for major roles - because there probably were not, and are not, all that many trained actors from any but the largest of tribes. When you're casting for a character representing a really small minority it's an extra challenge beyond what you'd expect if you just want someone who can sound & look like she's from Germany or Brooklyn.

User avatar
RBG
Posts: 6235
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Location: desert usa
Contact:

#9

Post by RBG » July 13th, 2020, 5:49 pm

and yeah i love 49th parallel in spite of larry tehe i'm also fond of brigadoon but i get why scottish people would hate it
icm + ltbxd

NO GODS NO MASTERS

User avatar
brokenface
Donator
Posts: 13620
Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Contact:

#10

Post by brokenface » July 13th, 2020, 6:02 pm

Onderhond wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 5:17 pm
It annoyed me no end in Knives Out. Daniel Craig should be blacklisted for that performance.
I thought he was meant to be deliberately off, like an exaggerated parody in the way of Poirot

User avatar
Onderhond
Posts: 4633
Joined: Dec 23, 2012
Contact:

#11

Post by Onderhond » July 13th, 2020, 6:10 pm

brokenface wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 6:02 pm
I thought he was meant to be deliberately off, like an exaggerated parody in the way of Poirot
Maybe, but being off isn't very hard, is it? Making it funny on the other hand ...

User avatar
brokenface
Donator
Posts: 13620
Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Contact:

#12

Post by brokenface » July 13th, 2020, 6:18 pm

Orson Welles Irish accent in Lady from Shanghai sticks with me. I like the film plenty but that was bad

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#13

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 6:32 pm

brokenface wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 6:02 pm
Onderhond wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 5:17 pm
It annoyed me no end in Knives Out. Daniel Craig should be blacklisted for that performance.
I thought he was meant to be deliberately off, like an exaggerated parody in the way of Poirot
That was my feeling - the whole film has plenty of parodic elements but none more obvious than Craig's accent, or his whole character. Worked for me.

User avatar
3eyes
Donator
Posts: 7012
Joined: May 17, 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

#14

Post by 3eyes » July 13th, 2020, 6:49 pm

I saw a British version of Crime and Punishment with Ben Kingsly playing Porfiri with a terrible Russian accent which bugged me no end - I don't think anybody else essayed a Russian accent so why bother? It makes no sense to have an English-language movie set in a non-Anglophone country and all English-speaking actors trying to adopt a foreign accent.

I recall older British films - or were they Hollywood? shown in the US up to the 50s, say, had two registers: posh and generic cockney. I wonder if British films went in for thick regional accents back then - I certainly remember that I sometimes found regional accents hard to understand in later British films in those pre-CC days.
"
Then rhere were the generic foreign accents of the B movies of my childhood - the foriegners all said "I do not know" and such, not being able to handle contractions being the hallmark of foreignness.

On the other hand, there's "Yonda is da castle of my fadduh" - Captain from Castile, maybe?
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3407
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#15

Post by blocho » July 13th, 2020, 6:59 pm

3eyes wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 6:49 pm
On the other hand, there's "Yonda is da castle of my fadduh" - Captain from Castile, maybe?
Unfortunately, Tony Curtis never said that line. It's an apocryphal quotation, like Cary Grant's "Judy, Judy, Judy"

Here's the full story: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/life-with-fodder/

I remember once going to a Q&A with the head of Film Forum in New York, and she said that of all the actors and filmmakers they had had as guests for screenings, Curtis was by far the most unpleasant.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#16

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 7:08 pm

3eyes wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 6:49 pm
I saw a British version of Crime and Punishment with Ben Kingsly playing Porfiri with a terrible Russian accent which bugged me no end - I don't think anybody else essayed a Russian accent so why bother? It makes no sense to have an English-language movie set in a non-Anglophone country and all English-speaking actors trying to adopt a foreign accent.

I recall older British films - or were they Hollywood? shown in the US up to the 50s, say, had two registers: posh and generic cockney. I wonder if British films went in for thick regional accents back then - I certainly remember that I sometimes found regional accents hard to understand in later British films in those pre-CC days.
"
Then rhere were the generic foreign accents of the B movies of my childhood - the foriegners all said "I do not know" and such, not being able to handle contractions being the hallmark of foreignness.

On the other hand, there's "Yonda is da castle of my fadduh" - Captain from Castile, maybe?
Yeah, ONE person doing an accent that everybody should have - or nobody should have - is pretty grating. If you're going to bother with this contrivance - I mean, we know the actors aren't Russian/Swedish/Greek/whatever, at least try to get everybody on the same page. A film that actually does this well - surprisingly - is Red Sparrow where Jennifer Lawrence and pretty much all of the supposed Russians speak with a similar light "Russian" tone. On the other hand Lawrence's accent in American Hustle is just awful, but perhaps it was meant to be, sometimes it's hard to tell in a comedy.

You also hit it on the head with the lack-of-contractions for "foreign-speak" though I have to say in my experience there are some actual foreigners who do tend to speak with an exaggerated formality; the law school I worked at in the 90s had several African students from English-speaking countries and they all spoke in very deliberate, formal tones and with much better grammar than any of us stinking Americans.

User avatar
3eyes
Donator
Posts: 7012
Joined: May 17, 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

#17

Post by 3eyes » July 13th, 2020, 8:33 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 7:08 pm
Then there were the generic foreign accents of the B movies of my childhood - the foriegners all said "I do not know" and such, not being able to handle contractions being the hallmark of foreignness.

On the other hand, there's "Yonda is da castle of my fadduh" - Captain from Castile, maybe?
You also hit it on the head with the lack-of-contractions for "foreign-speak" though I have to say in my experience there are some actual foreigners who do tend to speak with an exaggerated formality; the law school I worked at in the 90s had several African students from English-speaking countries and they all spoke in very deliberate, formal tones and with much better grammar than any of us stinking Americans.
[/quote]

I once had to translate (from Norwegian) an Estonian speaking bad German. That was a puzzle - few American readers would recognize an Estonian accent even if I knew how to reproduce one, and I wanted to avoid both generic foreigners' English and any recognizable accent. I finally settled for translating the Norwegian literally and getting a friend to help me smooth it out a bit.
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 7850
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#18

Post by xianjiro » July 13th, 2020, 8:37 pm

This is probably a topic for, quite literally, a dissertation - or many. Lots of things come to mind though less have to do with specifics. At this point, I try not to get too hung up on accents because I know that no matter what, someone who isn't, probably isn't going to get it 100% right. In this day, if the accent is so critical to making the character, then casting should look for people who are native: after all, actors were flying around the globe constantly to make films and TV anyway.

I know sometimes acting hires are tied to financing but this can come in various ways. Some might want a headliner from whatever place is providing bank, or want a certain percentage of the cast to be from a place. If we're making a movie set in Moldova but filmed in Australia and co-financed by Chinese and American investors, I'm guessing the last thing we're going to see is any Moldovan talent headlining. So, in such a case, how necessary is it for the leads to sound Moldovan? And really, outside of the NW Black Sea region, who knows what a Moldovan sounds like, especially when they are speaking English?

Meryl Streep is rather known for her accents though not universally loved for them. If you hire her, be prepared for her to want to do the character's accent, right? Not sure how good or bad that is and honestly, there's lots of context, but if I think back to Sophie's Choice, I know she wanted to get the accent right; I've no idea if she did; but for me the accents helped with the characterization, less because of authenticity and more because it's the flavor.

I think about two other areas: food and literature. What is the right way to make osso buco? Or machaca? Or Sichuan chicken? Or is it Szechuan chicken? Well, it always will depend on who you talk to and I've no doubt it depends where they are from. I mean really, who ever heard of deep frying a burrito?!? What insanity! Well, unless you're in parts of Arizona and Sonora where that's the way they make them. Some place else they smother them in sauce. WTF?!? That's like Mickey D's drenching your Big Mac in special sauce so you can't eat it with your hands. I mean, what the point?

In literature, writing accents is no longer en vogue. I think of Sunset Song which is clearly written in a vernacular and wonder how it would be received if were released today. For some reason the words fail me at present, but in researching this I remember complaints about how this often comes across as "stereotypical" or "perjorative", and mostly demeaning.

So, isn't the use of an accent on screen running the same possibility? And has been mentioned already, one person's Scottish accent isn't another's and we all hate it when an actor seems to slip in and out of a given accent during the show.

One aside, I'm a bit more patient with studio era productions when they might not have a stable of foreign actors to play that Russian count or Parisian cat burglar and so both end up sounding like Cary Grant because guess who's taking the part... (sorry, can't remember if he played either characters, but he pretty much always sounds like himself). That brings up another thought: when an actor with an obviously other accent (than either the remaining cast or most characters) doesn't even sound like the character being played: rather than trying to figure out what a Russian count sounds like, you use a British actor with un-adjusted accent to play the Russian or Parisian just because he'll sound different than the rest of the cast (and that posh spice would work okay for a nobleman, real or otherwise).

But all in all, an interesting topic. Golly, youbetcha.

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3407
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#19

Post by blocho » July 13th, 2020, 8:50 pm

xianjiro wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 8:37 pm
so both end up sounding like Cary Grant because guess who's taking the part... (sorry, can't remember if he played either characters, but he pretty much always sounds like himself).
Ironically, I think I read somewhere that Grant worked hard to change his natural working class accent into a posh Mid-Atlantic accent.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#20

Post by OldAle1 » July 13th, 2020, 8:53 pm

blocho wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 8:50 pm
xianjiro wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 8:37 pm
so both end up sounding like Cary Grant because guess who's taking the part... (sorry, can't remember if he played either characters, but he pretty much always sounds like himself).
Ironically, I think I read somewhere that Grant worked hard to change his natural working class accent into a posh Mid-Atlantic accent.
Heh. And Humphrey Bogart did the opposite - morphing his hoity-toity Upper East Side, son of wealthy doctor, prep school kid tones into the gruff cyincal everyman that we know him for.

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 7850
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#21

Post by xianjiro » July 13th, 2020, 9:34 pm

blocho wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 8:50 pm
xianjiro wrote:
July 13th, 2020, 8:37 pm
so both end up sounding like Cary Grant because guess who's taking the part... (sorry, can't remember if he played either characters, but he pretty much always sounds like himself).
Ironically, I think I read somewhere that Grant worked hard to change his natural working class accent into a posh Mid-Atlantic accent.
he did - and it's one of the reasons I decide to pick (on) him. But like many "stars", one is hiring the star, not necessarily someone known for the character acting. I remember seeing him in some early talkie either made before he reworked his speech patterns or they asked him to play working class and he reverted.

(BTW, this is the sort of stuff that makes the whole cinephilia game interesting. And I didn't know that about Bogie. :o )

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 30769
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#22

Post by mightysparks » July 13th, 2020, 11:55 pm

Aussie accents are notoriously terrible from almost everyone who gives it a go. I’ve noticed in recent years they are more likely to be played by actual Aussies (and the difference is very noticeable). Glenn Howerton’s Mad Max accent in that one ep of It’s Always Sunny was near immaculate, and there was something more recently which was the best I’ve heard and I’ve completely forgotten the film :(

Also, I generally cannot tell when an American accent or 'non-English' accent is bad, but I can usually tell when an English/Scottish/Irish accent is off -- not always, I still get fooled.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1081
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Contact:

#23

Post by outdoorcats » July 14th, 2020, 2:30 am

I know native Spanish speakers complain about this a lot in U.S. productions set in Latin America. There's a huge variety of accents from country to country in Latin America which sound very different from one another, but this isn't something U.S. casting directors care about. I remember this was an issue in Breaking Bad (which I've watched) and Narcos (which I haven't) where the Brazilian Wagner Moura was cast as Pablo Escabar.

Koreans also aren't a big fan of U.S. productions set in South Korea. Apparently Korean sounds pretty horrible when it's spoken by non-native speakers, including second generation Korean-Americans. Such as Daniel Dae Kim in LOST. Apparently the woman in Black Panther who lets T'Challa into the Seoul gambling den was barely understandable too.

Peter...is your social worker in that horse?

User avatar
Ivan0716
Posts: 1216
Joined: Feb 05, 2012
Contact:

#24

Post by Ivan0716 » July 14th, 2020, 8:39 am

This is somehow both good and bad?


matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1982
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#25

Post by matthewscott8 » July 14th, 2020, 4:41 pm

Any british accent in an American movie seems ludicrous. Awight guvna stuff that seems to come from the movie Oliver! Or on the posh end some sort of parody of 1950s queens english television annoucners. Daphne in Frasier is weird because she (Jane Leeves) is actually British, but she doesn't use her own accent, she comes up with this completely fake Manchester accent that doesn't even slightly work, and her dialogue and reminiscenses about the UK are completely fake and weird. Americans are just weird about other cultures in general, like when I was in Chicago last year talking to what seemed a perfectly reasonable guy, he actually said to me that he felt sorry for me because I was ruled by a monarch, like he had no idea at all that it's a symbolic role and was shocked when I pointed it out.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4759
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#26

Post by OldAle1 » July 14th, 2020, 4:55 pm

Daphne's accent mutates somewhat over the course of the show -- much less exaggerated later on. It is strange that they did that, but I guess they wanted her to sound more working class, and Leeves herself has admitted than she had no idea how to do a proper accent. John Mahoney was from Blackpool but had lived in Chicago since he was a young man and quite deliberately suppressed his native accent and developed a typical Chicagoan voice - as I mentioned in my OP. And Peri Gilpin is from Texas and sounds it at times, certainly never sounds like she's from rural northern Wisconsin like her character, and Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce are both East Coast guys, which works because they're both supposed to be Ivy League grads and consciously, deliberately snooty. I have no idea what a Seattle accent sounds like and I'm sure the creators of the show didn't think about it or care; my experience is that there is no Pacific Northwest speech pattern that's widely known, like "southern" or "New England". I think it's one of those areas where if you're not a native or connected in some way, you just don't have a clue how people sound there, it hasn't become a joke or anything.

Funny, this all reminds me of one of my best friends in high school, who spent a year right afterwards in Yorkshire and developed this thick accent - his parents were from there originally - to the point where when he came back I could barely understand him. Haven't thought about that in years.

User avatar
AdamH
Site Admin
Posts: 12472
Joined: May 05, 2011
Contact:

#27

Post by AdamH » July 14th, 2020, 5:00 pm

matthewscott8 wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 4:41 pm
Any british accent in an American movie seems ludicrous. Awight guvna stuff that seems to come from the movie Oliver! Or on the posh end some sort of parody of 1950s queens english television annoucners. Daphne in Frasier is weird because she (Jane Leeves) is actually British, but she doesn't use her own accent, she comes up with this completely fake Manchester accent that doesn't even slightly work, and her dialogue and reminiscenses about the UK are completely fake and weird. Americans are just weird about other cultures in general, like when I was in Chicago last year talking to what seemed a perfectly reasonable guy, he actually said to me that he felt sorry for me because I was ruled by a monarch, like he had no idea at all that it's a symbolic role and was shocked when I pointed it out.
Yeah, I'm a big fan of Frasier but the references to the UK were absolutely bizarre and some of those jokes didn't really work if you are British. The absolute worst part of Frasier was when they brought in her family (some of those scenes are almost unwatchable). I didn't mind Daphne's accent particularly as it was supposed to be a joke (I think!) and I liked the character...I think they were going for the whole "she has a funny British accent" vibe rather than the usual fake posh English accent in American TV/films. It still made no sense and the accent was obviously ridiculous but I did at least like the programme. Some of the jokes about Britain worked for me but others didn't because they made no sense. I think it worked because she was portrayed (especially early on) as a very quirky character so not everything she said and the stories she told made much sense anyway (more because of her character than because she was English).

I've also noticed they sometimes make jokes about Britain having the metric system (I saw this an old Simpsons episode I re-watched recently) but the joke doesn't really work as people don't actually usually the metric system for most things in the UK e.g. I say my weight in stones/pounds, speed limits are miles hour, distance is always talked about in miles etc. I've also had people talk about how Britain use the 24 hour clock but that's actually a mainland European thing. I would never say the time using the 24-hour clock.

I find it interesting how comedy can often involve huge misconceptions about countries. Sometimes the jokes work well but they also can fall flat if you're from the country and know that what's being said makes no sense.

User avatar
AdamH
Site Admin
Posts: 12472
Joined: May 05, 2011
Contact:

#28

Post by AdamH » July 14th, 2020, 5:01 pm

On that topic, there is also Groundskeeper Willie but, again, it kind of works just because it's an intentionally ridiculous portrayal of a Scottish character and the accent is purposely bad. It's not supposed to be realistic and it purposely plays on stereotypes so it works in the setting of The Simpsons.

User avatar
RBG
Posts: 6235
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Location: desert usa
Contact:

#29

Post by RBG » July 14th, 2020, 5:10 pm

I have no idea what a Seattle accent sounds like and I'm sure the creators of the show didn't think about it or care; my experience is that there is no Pacific Northwest speech pattern that's widely known, like "southern" or "New England". I think it's one of those areas where if you're not a native or connected in some way, you just don't have a clue how people sound there, it hasn't become a joke or anything.
i kind of doubt there is a 'seattle' accent among white people as they've only lived in the area since the 1850s. these things take time. i've read that in britain accents can change between two villages a few miles apart and that is an amazing thing. similarly in arizona there is only generic 'western' accent and some people are putting it on i think :folded: spanish speakers have been here much longer not to mention hundreds of native tongues
icm + ltbxd

NO GODS NO MASTERS

User avatar
AdamH
Site Admin
Posts: 12472
Joined: May 05, 2011
Contact:

#30

Post by AdamH » July 14th, 2020, 5:15 pm

RBG wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 5:10 pm
I have no idea what a Seattle accent sounds like and I'm sure the creators of the show didn't think about it or care; my experience is that there is no Pacific Northwest speech pattern that's widely known, like "southern" or "New England". I think it's one of those areas where if you're not a native or connected in some way, you just don't have a clue how people sound there, it hasn't become a joke or anything.
i kind of doubt there is a 'seattle' accent among white people as they've only lived in the area since the 1850s. these things take time. i've read that in britain accents can change between two villages a few miles apart and that is an amazing thing. similarly in arizona there is only generic 'western' accent and some people are putting it on i think :folded: spanish speakers have been here much longer not to mention hundreds of native tongues
Yeah, there are big variations in accent in the UK. I'm from Edinburgh and our accent is very different to Glasgow which is just 40 miles away and less than an hour away by train. You can travel a fairly short distance to different places and have a noticeable change in accent.

User avatar
RBG
Posts: 6235
Joined: Feb 13, 2016
Location: desert usa
Contact:

#31

Post by RBG » July 14th, 2020, 5:23 pm

that's having roots in the community! white americans west of the mississippi can't really relate lol

just one of the many things wrong with us but an important one i think

regional accents are fading even where they do exist here due to media that's only around 100 years old
icm + ltbxd

NO GODS NO MASTERS

User avatar
3eyes
Donator
Posts: 7012
Joined: May 17, 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

#32

Post by 3eyes » July 14th, 2020, 5:54 pm

My great-grandfather went from New Hampshire to a small Ohio town in the 1850s maybe? My grandfather and father were born in that Ohio town and both had strong New Hampshire accents. I guess maybe that town was settled and largely populated by NH emigres?
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 7850
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#33

Post by xianjiro » July 14th, 2020, 6:39 pm

I believe the Seattle accent is considered an upper midland accent - it lacks the twangs of the upper Midwest and there is no drawling as seen in the South. the band stretches from somewhere like Iowa/Missouri through Colorado and Utah to the Pacific NW.

On Frasier: we have to remember who the target audience was. While shows have gone into syndication internationally for years, I'm not sure how many are cast and designed in a way where it's supposed to sound right to "natives". As people have already mentioned, they were going for the taste (Ivy League brothers, British housekeeper).

More on point and Groundskeeper Willie - think Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. No one ever meant for these characters to be realistic portrayals of Scottish or Indian men: they are meant to be funny although some go so far as to say they are patently offensive and the voice-over equivalent of blackface.

So, I ask, are the accents funny? If so, then mission accomplished, especially for the target audience in the US. (cue theme music)

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1081
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Contact:

#34

Post by outdoorcats » July 14th, 2020, 6:53 pm

Ivan0716 wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 8:39 am
This is somehow both good and bad?

That's a Vincent Cassel impression if I've ever seen one.

Peter...is your social worker in that horse?

User avatar
AdamH
Site Admin
Posts: 12472
Joined: May 05, 2011
Contact:

#35

Post by AdamH » July 14th, 2020, 7:30 pm

xianjiro wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 6:39 pm
I believe the Seattle accent is considered an upper midland accent - it lacks the twangs of the upper Midwest and there is no drawling as seen in the South. the band stretches from somewhere like Iowa/Missouri through Colorado and Utah to the Pacific NW.

On Frasier: we have to remember who the target audience was. While shows have gone into syndication internationally for years, I'm not sure how many are cast and designed in a way where it's supposed to sound right to "natives". As people have already mentioned, they were going for the taste (Ivy League brothers, British housekeeper).

More on point and Groundskeeper Willie - think Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. No one ever meant for these characters to be realistic portrayals of Scottish or Indian men: they are meant to be funny although some go so far as to say they are patently offensive and the voice-over equivalent of blackface.

So, I ask, are the accents funny? If so, then mission accomplished, especially for the target audience in the US. (cue theme music)
I don't think you were attempting to disagree with me but, to be clear, the point I was making about Groundskeeper Willie is basically what you've said above rather than any complaint about the accent. Him and Apu are not supposed to realistic portrayals, instead stereotypical portrayals for the purposes of humour. Of course, the Apu portrayal is very dated now and I can totally see why the character is being written out (if anyone still watches the programme...).

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 7850
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#36

Post by xianjiro » July 14th, 2020, 7:33 pm

AdamH wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 7:30 pm
xianjiro wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 6:39 pm
I believe the Seattle accent is considered an upper midland accent - it lacks the twangs of the upper Midwest and there is no drawling as seen in the South. the band stretches from somewhere like Iowa/Missouri through Colorado and Utah to the Pacific NW.

On Frasier: we have to remember who the target audience was. While shows have gone into syndication internationally for years, I'm not sure how many are cast and designed in a way where it's supposed to sound right to "natives". As people have already mentioned, they were going for the taste (Ivy League brothers, British housekeeper).

More on point and Groundskeeper Willie - think Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. No one ever meant for these characters to be realistic portrayals of Scottish or Indian men: they are meant to be funny although some go so far as to say they are patently offensive and the voice-over equivalent of blackface.

So, I ask, are the accents funny? If so, then mission accomplished, especially for the target audience in the US. (cue theme music)
I don't think you were attempting to disagree with me but, to be clear, the point I was making about Groundskeeper Willie is basically what you've said above rather than any complaint about the accent.
yeah, no disagreement even implied - I just think Apu is an even more egregious example ;)

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

matthewscott8
Donator
Posts: 1982
Joined: May 13, 2015
Contact:

#37

Post by matthewscott8 » July 14th, 2020, 11:01 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
July 14th, 2020, 4:55 pm
John Mahoney was from Blackpool but had lived in Chicago since he was a young man and quite deliberately suppressed his native accent and developed a typical Chicagoan voice - as I mentioned in my OP.
Born in Blackpool but only due to war evacuation. He and his family were actually from Manchester, where he grew up. So of all the people on the show he would have been most qualified to do a Manchester accent. I imagine he found it pretty weird to have an Essex girl pretending to be his character's Mancunian housekeeper. I wonder what happened to him as Manchester is quite a nice friendly place with a lot of civic pride. It's a drastic thing to do, to relocate to the US and reinvent yourself. Apparently his sister, who sponsored his move to the US had a strong Manchester accent until the day she died.

Fascinating stuff from a Telegraph article
At 19, he moved to Illinois to follow his older sister, who had married a GI, but the transition wasn't all smooth. "I joined the army almost immediately because I wanted to get my citizenship faster, but I was so homesick," he told the Telegraph in 2008. "I felt like killing myself. And I would have been back in Manchester at the drop of a hat had I been able to." It was there that he lost his Mancunian accent and perfected the Mid-Western tones that would later become a professional asset. "When I had my Manchester accent, it drew attention to me," he once explained. "All the guys in the Army, they were always: oh say this, oh say that. I hated it. I just wanted to blend in."

Unlike his sister, who "still sounds like she just got off the boat", he experienced a strong desire to go native. "I knew I was going to live in the US the rest of my life and I didn't want to be on the outside looking in. They make such a big deal about it - anyone from the United Kingdom is automatically regarded as brilliant beyond belief. I didn't want to live with that. I'm not a nonconformist. I wanted to be like everybody else."
You can get the full article here, have to register to a free account though https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2018/02/ ... edy-great/

Cary Grant came from my home town of Bristol. He used to come back a lot. He spoke of having a confused identity, which is reflected somewhat in his mid-atlantic accent.

I don't really seem to have a recognisable accent. When I start talking to strangers in Bristol they always ask me where I come from and they can't believe it's from here, although I've lived here for almost all of my life. Some people have guessed Canada, California, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

I did just look into it. Apparently children with autism tend to copy their parents when developing accents, whereas normal children copy the other children at school. Neither my mum or dad are from Bristol originally. So I guess that explains a lot, neither really have recognisable accents either. My dad is from Yorkshire but doesn't have even the faintest note of Yorkshire.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on July 15th, 2020, 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
weirdboy
Donator
Posts: 3729
Joined: Jan 03, 2016
Contact:

#38

Post by weirdboy » July 14th, 2020, 11:15 pm

Sean Connery in just about anything. He never makes any effort to change his accent regardless of where his character is supposedly from, or whatever background they are supposed to have. When he speaks a foreign language he inevitably butchers it almost to the point of incomprehensibility even if his character is supposed to be a native or near-native speaker. The Hunt for Red October and Rising Sun are both prime examples of this, but there are many more.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 30769
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#39

Post by mightysparks » July 15th, 2020, 12:51 am

Most people (including the podcast peeps) seem to think my accent is quite neutral and I guess I’d agree. When I lived in London, I had Australians and English people assume I was English, and Americans have assumed my dad was Scottish :/ My Lancashire-born grandma has been here 50 years and mostly sounds neutral Aussie but still has whiffs of her original accent in certain things she says. But she says when she goes back there they hear her as an Australian.

Australians seem to only have three accents, the neutral accent (the one I hear most often, probably a WA accent), a slight drawl accent or the full on g’day mate country accent. For some reason only the last one seems to exist in film/TV outside Australia and I’ve met about 3 people in my life with that accent. I can’t really tell which part of Aus someone is from based on their accent though.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
weirdboy
Donator
Posts: 3729
Joined: Jan 03, 2016
Contact:

#40

Post by weirdboy » July 16th, 2020, 12:48 am

I thought of another egregious Sean Connery accent. His portrayal of "Ramirez" the Spaniard in Highlander.

Post Reply