George Washington's accent

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sun Feb 10 02:09:57 UTC 2008

Years ago, I was asked to give the actress Sissy Spacek some pointers on how to simulate the accent of Thomas Jefferson's wife. In the end, I told her to go to the most conservative Episcopalian church in Charlottesville, VA, and listen to old white ladies of breeding and culture. That seemed to work, at least for verisimilitude. I gave the actor who played Jefferson similar advice. The actor Danny Glover declined a linguist's help, supposedly saying, "I don't need to consult a white professor in order to sound like a Black slave." That seemed reasonable to me.

That was my last gig as dialect coach.
------Original Message------
From: Sam Clements
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Sent: Feb 9, 2008 8:49 PM
Subject: [ADS-L] George Washington's accent

Sorry if this one's been talked about before.

Over at the Straight Dope Message Board, this one comes up from time to time.

What would George Washington's speech have sounded like at the time?  Can you relate it to anything comparable today?  Is it the "Southern Virginia" we know today, or is it closer to English from the period, whatever that may have been.

Sam Clements

The American Dialect Society -

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list