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He’s just a little brought duyne
Posted: 19 March 2014 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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My wife and I once met a South African couple.  We mistook their accent for Australian, too.

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Posted: 20 March 2014 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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To my (untrained) British ears, South African can sound like a cross between Australian and Liverpudlian.

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Posted: 20 March 2014 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Check out the /aʊ/s on Alice Roberts.

Go to about 2:45 in this video and hear Roberts say “as unlikely as it sounds, palaeontologists now think… “.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd9sjZNfRCk

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Posted: 20 March 2014 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Queen Elizabeth’s accent used to be much more aristocratic. In bits and pieces it has normalised over the last 60 years to be something closer to RP.

Here is her Christmas broadcast from 1957, her first such. The terminal rounding of the /aʊ/ appears to be dependent on context.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBRP-o6Q85s

When the /aʊ/ is not closely followed by a consonant, there is full rounding, for instance at the “now” after 1:00.

Compare that to “without” at 2:02, which is not noticeably rounded.

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Posted: 29 March 2014 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I listened to Lara Logan’s account of her dreadful experience, and her accent is indeed heavily doctored for her American audience.  However, certain South African pronunciations are still there if you listen carefully and know the accent well and these are more likely to emerge under stress, as they do in the interview:
thus for this;
gatta for got to;
thim for them;
skun for skin;
taw for tore;
face (a shorter pronunciation than the British or US face);
tawtuous - tortuous;
fawt for fought;
git aht of - get out of;
fulth - filth
stull - still
vilence - violence; and in South African dialect:
“I wasn’t safe yet” for “I still wasn’t safe” - Afrikaans influence.

Two noticeable differences between South African and Australian pronunciation are the pronunciation of -ee as in keep (kuyp/kip); and a- as in can’t (kehnt/kawnt).

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Posted: 29 March 2014 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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What a pleasure to see you, Eliza!

The first South African accent I encountered was as a boy in grammar school when Mike, a kid from SA, moved to England and joined our class. His accent was very pronounced. I don’t recall whether he was an Afrikaaner or a British South African. I’m assuming that if one grew up speaking mainly Afrikaans one would have a markedly different accent than one who grew up using mainly English. If so he definitely sounded as if he were the former.

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Posted: 29 March 2014 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Hurrah, Eliza’s back!

“I wasn’t safe yet” comes quite natural in American English, too.

Speaking of accents, there’s a new cell phone commercial here in the US featuring Gary Oldman speaking in (what I presume is) his natural accent.  I hadn’t realized he’s English!  Although of course he spoke with an English accent as Sirius Black, I first encountered him playing Americans in The Professional(aka Leon) and The Fifth Element (and Eastern Europeans in Dracula and Air Force One).

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Posted: 29 March 2014 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Dr. Techie - 29 March 2014 04:50 PM

Hurrah, Eliza’s back!

Hurrah indeed! Welcome back Eliza!!!
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Posted: 29 March 2014 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Speaking of accents, there’s a new cell phone commercial here in the US featuring Gary Oldman speaking in (what I presume is) his natural accent.  I hadn’t realized he’s English!  Although of course he spoke with an English accent as Sirius Black, I first encountered him playing Americans in The Professional(aka Leon) and The Fifth Element (and Eastern Europeans in Dracula and Air Force One).

FWIW:  Gary Oldman is a consummate English actor with quite a resumé. His breakthrough film was Sid and Nancy, where he portrayed the life of Sid Vicious, bassist of the Punk Rock Band, the Sex Pistols. One of his latest films, in which he was nominated an Oscar for his portrayal of George Smiley, was Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy.

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Posted: 30 March 2014 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I too had assumed Oldman was American. Another example of a British actor who is extremely skilled at accents. (We’ve discussed that topic before.)

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Posted: 30 March 2014 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Oldman is incredible and has long been one of my favourite actors. He first made his mark with me, and I think generally in the UK, with his role in the BBC production, The Firm, 1989, about rival gangs of football hooligans. You just knew that he was destined for stardom after watching that. His South London accent was to the fore there but on his move to America I’m sure he decided that he could either be pigeon-holed as an English actor or keep his options wide open by working on an American accent. His remarkable ear allowed him to take the second path, something that isn’t open to most British actors as, try as they might, they are incapable of sounding like real Americans. (Some of the accents heard on Radio 4 dramas are dire in the extreme, rather surprisingly as one might have thought the American accent would come easier to younger generations. The young however are no better at it than we were in the 50s/60s).

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Posted: 30 March 2014 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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aldiboronti - 30 March 2014 06:38 AM

Oldman is incredible and has long been one of my favourite actors. He first made his mark with me, and I think generally in the UK, with his role in the BBC production, The Firm, 1989, about rival gangs of football hooligans. You just knew that he was destined for stardom after watching that. His South London accent was to the fore there but on his move to America I’m sure he decided that he could either be pigeon-holed as an English actor or keep his options wide open by working on an American accent. His remarkable ear allowed him to take the second path, something that isn’t open to most British actors as, try as they might, they are incapable of sounding like real Americans. (Some of the accents heard on Radio 4 dramas are dire in the extreme, rather surprisingly as one might have thought the American accent would come easier to younger generations. The young however are no better at it than we were in the 50s/60s).

There is no arguing that Gary Oldman is quite proficient with accents;( http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/video-20-gary-oldman-accents-in-60-seconds.html) it is claimed that he created the accent for Dracula.

I do, however, think there are many British actors who are also quite proficient with American accents, but perhaps not as inventive as Oldman. Christian Bale immediately comes to mind. His New York accent in American Hustle was excellent. Kate Winslett and Cate Blanchett are also extremely adept with American accents.

I think that one reason many British actors are better with American accents is because more films are produced in United States and more opportunities for film work are in America. Another reason, perhaps, is that British Actors are more dedicated to their craft rather than celebrity status.

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Posted: 30 March 2014 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Oh I’m not denying there are many British actors (and particularly Australians - to whom the accent might come more easily) who have good American accents, but I’m talking here about the number who could fool an American ear into believing them American. That’s a much smaller number. Does Christian Bale fall into it? Well, he sounds good to me but you’d have to ask an American (unless you’re American yourself of course in which case I’ll take your word for it.)

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Posted: 30 March 2014 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Gary Oldman
Christian Bale (yes, he’s utterly convincing)
Dominic West
Jamie Bamber (not a top-flight actor, but he does a superb American accent)
Hugh Laurie
Kate Winslet
Damian Lewis
Idris Elba (Omigod! He may just be the absolute best in this category; Stringer Bell was from Baltimore, no doubt about it.)
Daniel Day-Lewis
Kenneth Branagh
Emma Thompson
Toni Collette
Tracy Ullman (She may actually be better than Elba.)

And that’s just off the top of my head. There are various lists on the internets that have lots of other names, like Emma Watson, but I’ve never heard them play Americans myself, so I leave them off.

In the Australians-Who-Can-Play-Americans category:
Russell Crowe
Guy Pearce
Naomi Watts
Heath Ledger

In contrast, other than Meryl Streep, I’d be hard pressed to name an American actor who can do a truly convincing foreign accent. (There are many that do fine with some suspension-of-disbelief thrown in, but none that can really fool you into thinking they’re British.)

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Posted: 31 March 2014 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Thanks to those of you who posted a welcome back! I’ve been an occasional browser since I last posted, but I must admit that the general seriousness and recently-acquired academic slant of the site is somewhat intimidating to an interested amateur like me.  Where I can, though, I’ll add my tuppence worth, but it may be more sporadic than previously.

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