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Harmless Drudge: How to (Not) Speak With a British Accent
Posted: 19 June 2011 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Check my List of terrible, terrible accents in movies about a dozen posts back. Olivier features prominently. It wasn’t an off-day ... LO just sucked at accents.

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Posted: 20 June 2011 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I recall watching A Bridge Too Far, about the battle of Arnhem, on Dutch TV. The English and German lines were subtitled in Dutch of course. But both Olivier and Liv Ullman had a fair number of lines in Dutch. Surprisingly, Ullman’s Dutch lines were subtitled in Dutch. Olivier’s were not. I can only gather from this that Ullman completely garbled the Dutch, while Olivier was at least comprehensible.

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Posted: 14 July 2011 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Just saw an ad for ANZ bank starring Australian actor Colin Baker (The Guardian, The Mentalist). For some reason I don’t mind hearing him in using an American accent for a fictional character, but it seems odd to me for him to be using an American accent in an ad. I don’t know why.
Lucy Lawless sometimes uses an American accent when being Lucy Lawless but that might be because much of the English speaking world would not understand a word she says otherwise.

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Posted: 14 July 2011 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Lucy Lawless was perfectly comprehensible on Battlestar Galactica, and my experience with New Zealanders is that they are not nearly as incomprehensible to my American ear as are Australians.

In the original American release of Mad Max, or at least some versions of it, Mel Gibson was subtitled. (Gibson is born American and lived in the U.S. until he was twelve, enough time to naturally develop a strong American accent. Maybe he was overcompensating with his Australian accent.)

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Posted: 14 July 2011 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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IMDB indicates that the original US release of Mad Max was redubbed--appparently all the characters except a singer, not just Gibson’s (possibly due to accents but also because the original audio editing and quality were poor).  It mentions nothing about subtitling and I’m very skeptical on that point.

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Posted: 14 July 2011 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Lucy Lawless was perfectly comprehensible on Battlestar Galactica, and my experience with New Zealanders is that they are not nearly as incomprehensible to my American ear as are Australians.
----

Lucy Lawless uses an American accent in Battlestar Galactica, as she did in Xena. You’re kind of making my point ... she uses an American accent in all her TV work. Her real accent is nothing like that.

Here’s Lucy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZhaVPXUtds
Aitukati rerly uz defrent.

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Posted: 15 July 2011 03:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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There was nothing incomprehensible about that. Sure, it is different, but there is no bar to understanding.

And that is certainly not an American accent that Lawless uses on BSG. In fact, the producers wanted her to use her own accent to keep the viewers from identifying her as Xena (where she did use an American accent). According to the Ron Moore’s podcast commentaries to the show, with one exception, all the actors on BSG use their own accents—the exception being Jamie Bamber who, because he played Eddie Olmos’s son, had to have an American accent. Lawless may have modulated her accent to some degree, eliminating the most Kiwi-ish of features for the show (much as any international traveler does).

[edit: added a bit that inexplicably got cut off]

[ Edited: 15 July 2011 06:16 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 15 July 2011 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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It mentions nothing about subtitling and I’m very skeptical on that point.

You’re right. It was dubbed, not subtitled. I misremembered.

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Posted: 15 July 2011 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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There was nothing incomprehensible about that.

I agree; I had no difficulty following it.

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Posted: 15 July 2011 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Well perhaps I used a smidge of hyperbole.

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Posted: 18 July 2011 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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”. Lawless may have modulated her accent to some degree, eliminating the most Kiwi-ish of features for the show (much as any international traveler does). “

On this ...

Do _you_, for instance, modulate your accent when travelling abroad?

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Posted: 18 July 2011 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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As an “american” it is assuredly costly if otherwise…

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Posted: 18 July 2011 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Do _you_, for instance, modulate your accent when travelling abroad?

Absolutely. I don’t try to affect a particular accent, but my style of speaking is quite different. I speak more slowly, enunciate more clearly, avoid slang, and use certain British idioms that are commonly found in international English (e.g., I’ll talk about “attending university” instead of “going to college.") The changes are not all accent, but I’m sure my accent is different too, although still clearly American, than when I’m at home.

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Posted: 19 July 2011 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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I don’t think I do consciously or otherwise, change my accent or phraseology when I’m abroad, unless I need to speak more slowly to a foreigner or someone who has difficulty in understanding what I’m saying (I do a lot of that, even in the UK).  Foreign call centres used by many big UK businesses would do well to practise speaking slowly.  Grrrrrrr.....

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Posted: 19 July 2011 12:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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General American and Received Pronunciation are widely understood. My educated Australian dialect would not confuse many English speakers but nonetheless I Pom it up a bit if I’m speaking to someone with mediocre familiarity with English, and obviously I ditch the Australianisms, such as “Pom”.

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