Theatre Speech (was: Flapping to another Topic)

Nancy Elliott nelliott1 at EARTHLINK.NET
Sat Jan 22 21:25:52 UTC 2000

Theatre (and theater) vocal coaches use the term "Transatlantic" for a
conservative variety of stage speech still taught to stage actors today. It
preserves many low-back vowel distinctions, has the voiced-voiceless W
distinction, is either non-rhotic or prescribed as having "weakly
articulated R", and has a released instead of flapped intervocalic /t/. It
is called "Transatlantic" because, in the words of one prominent voice
trainer, it is "the kind of speech that might be heard somewhere in the
Atlantic Ocean exactly halfway between New York City and London" (Robert L.
Hobbs, 1986, Teach Yourself Transatlantic: Theatre Speech for Actors, p. 6).
Having examined some actor speech training manuals, I think that
Transatlantic most closely resembles non-rhotic Eastern New England speech
with the addition of British intervocalic /t/.

Nancy C. Elliott
Southern Oregon University
>From: "Aaron E. Drews" <aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK>
>Subject: Re: Flapping to another Topic
>Date: Sat, Jan 22, 2000, 3:03 AM

>> Do linguists not use the term "mid-Atlantic"?  I've heard it very often,
>> especially among actors.
> It's been used on this list a couple of time before.  I know it was in a
> recent book, on phonology or acquisition, although I don't have the title
> handy.  It's part of the title of my thesis.
> The term 'mid-Atlantic' is in use by linguists as well as non-linguists.
> How much currency it has in either sphere, though, is another question.
> --Aaron
> ________________________________________________________________________
> Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
>      Departments of English Language and
> aaron at                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics
>   --Death

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