An ADS evaluation of dialects in movies?

Aaron Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Fri Nov 19 17:14:00 UTC 1999

On Fri, 19 Nov 1999, James Smith wrote:

}--- Aaron Drews <aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK> wrote:
}> And Kevin Costner.... nil
}> --Aaron
}Just what kind of an accent would the "real" Robin
}Hood have had?  Certainly not that of Errol Flynn or
}Cary "I have an English accent" Elwes!  I suspect
}Kevin sounded as close to authentic as any other

I would expect the real Earl of Sherwood would have had some sort of
Mercian dialect of early Middle English.  So, yes, Costner would have
sounded as authentic as anybody else nowadays.  I have to admit, I'd love
to see a production of Robin Hood in any dialect of Middle English.  And,
of course, the _real_ story of Robin Hood, too.

But, don't blame me for Hollywood's thinking that anything that takes
place in England (Robin Hood, King Arthur, Shakespeare) must be spoken in
a mainstream (ie, RP, Estuary, Cockney, etc) accent rather than early
Middle English, ancient Welsh or early Modern English.  It's by that
definition I was judging Costner (et al).


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


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