Accents in Cold Mountain (the movie)

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Fri Apr 8 13:12:35 UTC 2005

Inconsistent accents may or may not be a valid

First, as I understand - and I ask those with
expertise to comment and correct as necessary - what
we recognize as a "southern" accent didn't even exist
150 years ago, actually developed after the War of
Northern Aggression.  Can the same be said for the
"North Carolina" accent? ...did John Edwards
great-great-grandfather (assuming he lived in NC)
speak with the same accent as John?

Second: did all the characters in Cold Mountain come
from the same region in NC?  Does it even say they're
all NC natives?  Were they all from families that had
lived in the area for generations, or were they a mix
of old timers and new comers?  Even if they were from
long established families, how much variation in
speech would be expected from town to town, county to

Just some questions that came to mind as I read
Michael Reisman's comments.

--- Paul Frank <paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU> wrote:
> The Cardozo Insider
> Issue: 2/8/04
> "A more serious flaw is shared by almost all the
> actors: although they are supposed to be from North
> Carolina, not a single one is able to pull off the
> accent. Geography may be to blame, as the
> combination of Australia's Kidman, England's Law and
> Winstone, Canada's Donald Sutherland (as
> Kidman's father), and Harvard's Portman make for a
> linguistic goulash.
> Listen to a John Edwards stump speech. Turn on
> Charlie Rose or Bill Moyers on Channel 13. That's
> what North Carolinans sound like. There is a natural
> musicality in the cadence of their speech.
> Kidman forces it, and the others don't really even
> come close. Worse, Zellweger (who mastered
> Britspeak in Bridget Jones' Diary) sounds like she
> spent too much time watching Dukes of Hazzard
> reruns. Remember Daaayzee Duke? The usually
> wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a defrocked
> preacher, takes us into Blanche DuBois territory.
> Maybe this is all a bit nitpicky. It is a movie,
> not real-life, after all. But the garbled dialects
> in this film take us out of the Civil War-era
> South and transport us into 21st century Hollywood.
> I think it's time to read Charles Frazier's novel. "
> Paul
> ________________________
> Paul Frank
> Chinese-English translator
> paulfrank at

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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