fake American dialects (Society Listserv?)

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Thu Jun 26 01:48:17 UTC 2008

I'm a little late to this discussion, but...

On the point of certain British actors' American accents being purposefully
bad for comedic effect--that may be true of some comedies, but if you
listen to enough (BBC) Radio 4 and BBC7, you hear a fair number of bad
American accents in dramas and science fiction, which are not there for the
audience's benefit, but just because there are some actors out there
without very good American accents.  (My husband is an audio
producer/director/publisher, so I've heard a fair number of bad American
accents from actors who think they're doing good American accents.)

Still, one generally hears good American accents in UK actors.  In South
Africa (which is not the UK, I know), I saw a production of Angels in
America in which I was sure they'd imported American actors...until they
started saying Ootah, instead of Utah.


--On Tuesday, June 24, 2008 12:31 pm +0800 LanDi Liu
<strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> What about Nicole Kidman?  She's Australian and has pulled off a
> pretty good American accent in many of her movies.  I'm not sure which
> ones are the best because I've seen so many of them.  Maybe Eyes Wide
> Shut?
> Randy
> On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 9:57 PM, David Donnell <daviddonnell at nyc.rr.com>
> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> ----------------------- Sender:       American Dialect Society
>> <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> Poster:       David Donnell
>> <daviddonnell at NYC.RR.COM>
>> Subject:      fake American dialects (Society Listserv?)
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------
>> Was listening to Brit actor Hugh Laurie in his lead role on the TV
>> series "House"... Was wondering if his fake American accent is as
>> solid as it seems, or if it's just that his voice is compelling; I
>> don't pick up anything regional when he speaks, as I often do with my
>> fellow Americans, no sense of place to it.
>> Also, South African Charlize Theron seems quite good at her assumed
>> American accent, although there's something I can't put my finger on
>> that bugs me about it. (Not that I've spent tons of time listening to
>> her.) In any case, unlike the "House" guy, Theron's U.S. dialect
>> isn't just for a role, she apparently uses it in real life...
>> stateside at least.
>> Thoughts?
>> Any other favorite fake U.S. accents? (Whether competent or
>> entertaining; Monty Python used to crack me up with their screwy
>> American accents.)
>> David
>> Missourian @ NYC
>> ___________________________________________________
>> Wikipedia on Hugh Laurie's American accent:
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Laurie
>> For his portrayal, Laurie assumes an American accent.[1] Laurie was
>> in Namibia filming Flight of the Phoenix and recorded the audition
>> tape for the show in the bathroom of the hotel, the only place he
>> could get enough light.[8] His US accent was so convincing that
>> executive producer Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that
>> Laurie is English, pointed to him as an example of just the kind of
>> compelling American actor he had been looking for. Laurie also adopts
>> the voice between takes on the set of House, as well as during script
>> read-throughs.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> Randy Alexander
> Jilin City, China
> My Manchu studies blog:
> http://www.bjshengr.com/manchu

Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
Arts B135
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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