An ADS evaluation of dialects in movies?

Aaron Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Fri Nov 19 12:00:15 UTC 1999

On Thu, 18 Nov 1999, Larry Rosenwald wrote:
}        So I had this fantasy that some ADS group would devise an accent
}rating system for film - four stars for Christopher Plummer, two and a
}half for Colm Feore, one and a half for Michael Gambon, whatever.  Anyone
}        I'm putting this comically, but I actually think there are important
}matters lurking here.

Sounds like fun.

How would one classify caricatures as opposed to imitation/attempts?  The
reason I ask is because there's an Irish actor (don't know his name,
played in _First Knight_ with Connery and Greere)  who plays an American
in a BBC mini-series about a photograph collection.  He has most of the
phonology down pat (being rhotic helps a lot), and he convinced most of
the people I know here.  But, to me, it sounds like he learned his
American from the "Charlie Sheen, Navy Seal School of English".  I found
it to be a not-quite-on-target caricature because of that.

Speaking of Charlie Sheen, I'd give Cary Elywes three and a half stars
for his various American roles (Hot Shots, Twister, the other army one
with Kelsy Grammer)

I'd give Gweneth Paltrow at least fours stars for _Shakespeare in Love_
(I've heard "she's American???!!!???" countless times).

Mel Gibson, two stars for William Wallace.

And Kevin Costner.... nil


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at                  Departments of English Language and       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics


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