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He’s just a little brought duyne
Posted: 16 March 2014 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Years ago when I first heard Tim Curry’s rendition of Sweet Transvestite in Rocky Horror, I thought his pronunciation of “down”, as well as “"around" and “sound”, was just randomly eccentric, with the ow/ou sounding something like “uy”.  Recently I’ve become acquainted with Mary Dillon’s version of The Green Fields of Canada (aka The Green Fields of America) and she pronounces the “ow/ou” sound the same way, or close.  I have a version of The Green Fields of America by The Chieftains, sung a cappella by Kevin Conneff and he uses what I would call the “regular” pronunciation. So, my question is:  Is Tim Curry and Mary Dillon’s pronunciation an Irish thing?  If so, which part of Ireland is it from?  What other English-speaking areas use it, if any?  Apologies for my clumsy description of the sound I’m trying to describe.

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Posted: 16 March 2014 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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To my mind, Curry is playing it as a not-quite-competent attempt to sound extremely aristocratic. The non-rounding of the last part of the diphthongs /aʊ/ and /əʊ/ is a characteristic of aristocratic British English.

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Posted: 16 March 2014 10:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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In parts of Southern England, I’ve heard the local rustics pronounce ow/ou that way, something like the way uy is pronounced in Dutch:

Lord Sweetfart is to be godfather at the christening of the twelfth child of Fred Hayseed, one of his tenants. He greets the proud parent:

Lord S.: Well, Hayseed, congratulations on producing a round dozen! I suppose we can look forward no. 13 next year?

H.: No, me lord, won’t be no number thirteen.

Lord S.: Indeed? How so?

H. We’m fuynd uyt ‘ow it ‘appens!

Then there’s that ancient folk-couplet (which I think has previously been quoted on this forum):

Be oi Baarkshire? Be oi boogery! I do coom from Wareham,

Where the girls wear calico knicks, and oi knuys ‘uy to tear ‘em.

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Posted: 17 March 2014 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In parts of the Midlands too. If you go to a cricket match in Northamptonshire, you’ll hear an appeal of ‘Owzat?’ met with cries of ‘Uyt!’ or ’Not uyt!’

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Posted: 17 March 2014 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for the replies. 

I’ve just done more research on folk singer Mary Dillon, and she’s from Northern Ireland.  I’ll admit I was surprised by that.  Over here in the U.S. I believe most people (myself included) couldn’t tell the difference between a Northern and Southern Irish accent. So perhaps besides being an upper class, Southern, and Midlands pronunciation in England it’s also a Northern Ireland pronunciation.

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Posted: 17 March 2014 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Actually it’s just occurred to me that in the American Black English exclamation “my house!”, the second word can come out like “hice” so maybe this pronunciation is more widespread than I’d thought.

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Posted: 18 March 2014 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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jtab4994 - 17 March 2014 05:29 PM

Actually it’s just occurred to me that in the American Black English exclamation “my house!”, the second word can come out like “hice” so maybe this pronunciation is more widespread than I’d thought.

Really? I can’t picture that.

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Posted: 18 March 2014 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Over here in the U.S. I believe most people (myself included) couldn’t tell the difference between a Northern and Southern Irish accent.

Really? Gosh. I mean, I could understand not being able to identify them, but as for telling the difference - they’re chalk and cheese. I could far more easily understand someone not being able to tell the difference between a Northern Irish and Scottish accent.

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Posted: 18 March 2014 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Some Irish accents for your perusal.  I would assume the Sligo counts as north and Cork as south.

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Posted: 18 March 2014 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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OP Tipping - 18 March 2014 12:21 AM

jtab4994 - 17 March 2014 05:29 PM
Actually it’s just occurred to me that in the American Black English exclamation “my house!”, the second word can come out like “hice” so maybe this pronunciation is more widespread than I’d thought.

Really? I can’t picture that.

I’ll try to post a link if I can find one, but if you Google “Tracy Morgan spanks Shaq” you may find a clip from an old SNL sketch where Tracy Morgan plays basketball star Shaquille O’Neal’s father, and at one point Tracy takes Shaq over his knee and spanks him, shouting what sounds like “mah hice!”.

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Posted: 18 March 2014 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Here’s the clip. It does indeed sound like “mah hice,” but that sounds weird to me; I wonder how widespread it is?

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Posted: 18 March 2014 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Really? Gosh. I mean, I could understand not being able to identify them, but as for telling the difference

It’s a matter of exposure and culture. Most Americans don’t recognize the difference between British and Australian accents simply because we don’t encounter them very often. It’s not that we couldn’t hear the difference if you put them side by side, it’s more a matter that accents aren’t a conscious part of our identity, so we don’t pay much attention to them. Most Americans would say, in fact, that they don’t have an accent. If someone doesn’t recognize his own accent, he’s much less likely to recognize the accents of others, eh?

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Posted: 18 March 2014 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 18 March 2014 02:31 AM

Over here in the U.S. I believe most people (myself included) couldn’t tell the difference between a Northern and Southern Irish accent.

Really? Gosh. I mean, I could understand not being able to identify them, but as for telling the difference - they’re chalk and cheese. I could far more easily understand someone not being able to tell the difference between a Northern Irish and Scottish accent.

Who knows?  Maybe I’ve heard a Northern Irish accent and took it for Scottish?

Faldage - 18 March 2014 03:14 AM

Some Irish accents for your perusal.  I would assume the Sligo counts as north and Cork as south.

Thanks, I’ll check that out tonight (my sound is turned off at work).

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Posted: 18 March 2014 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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happydog - 18 March 2014 06:00 AM


It’s a matter of exposure and culture. Most Americans don’t recognize the difference between British and Australian accents simply because we don’t encounter them very often.

Some of us are working on it, and yes it does take exposure.  Last night my son and I saw a South African woman in a TV commercial (Johnny Bench’s wife for Blue Emu pain relief ointment) and he remarked that she was Australian.  Something about her didn’t quite sound Australian, though, and my trusty smart phone identified her as South African.  But other than reporter Lara Logan I can’t think of any other South Africans that we hear speaking on a regular basis.  Even coverage of the Blade Runner murder trial doesn’t include many interviews.

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Posted: 19 March 2014 03:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’ve worked with several South Africans in the past, so I’m quite familiar with the accent and can usually pick it out instantly. I’ve seen many Americans mistake it for Australian; that seems to be a common error.

Lara Logan, however, is not a good example of a South African accent, at least in her on-air speech. I was always puzzled about where she was from. My best guess was Australia, although she doesn’t really sound Australian, (I never cared enough to Google the answer) and I was surprised when I read in this thread that she is South African. Listening to some YouTube clips of her now, I can detect the telltale markers of the South African accent, but I’m guessing her on-air accent is heavily doctored for the American audience.

Christiane Amanpour is another one whose accent is mysterious, but apparently for different reasons. She was raised in both Iran and Britain and attended university in the States. Her accent is a melange of all three.

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Posted: 19 March 2014 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I can detect the telltale markers of the South African accent

One of the clearest of these is the pronunciation of a long “o”, so that “no” sounds almost (not quite!) like “nay”.

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