Fourth Week of Advent
Joan Didion, RIP

Accents of the British Isles

(Does Ireland count as part of the British Isles? I wouldn't think they'd be very pleased about that.)

I saw this on Facebook, then went looking for it on YouTube so that I could post it here. I was surprised to see that there are a number of videos of the same basic type. There's a lot to work with, I guess; it always surprises me a little that there are so many and such different accents in such a relatively small geographical area, though it really shouldn't. I suppose the actually atypical thing is that they all speak English, which is of course a political more than an organic linguistic development. There are different accents within Alabama, which is roughly the same size as England, and they didn't have hundreds of years and geographical concentration in which to develop.

I've developed a strange liking and fascination for the Scottish accents that I hear on some of the British TV shows. In one, the villain was a Scotch (Scottish?) woman, and I kept wanting her to be on screen more just so I could listen to her talk. Katia Kvinge, by the way (whom I had of course never heard of), is "a Scottish BAFTA New Talent Award Nominated comedian, actor and impressionist." Doesn't sound like a Scottish name--I wonder where it came from. Oh wait--from her web site:

Q: Where is Katia Kvinge from?
A: Mum is Norwegian, Dad is American. Born in London, grew up in Oxford and Scotland


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It's always fun when distinctions are made clear of which one had been only vaguely aware.
I've seen a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof criticised because to a knowledgeable ear, each of the actors sounded like he came from a different state.

We have a houseguest from Glasgow right now I shared this video with him. He said the Glasgow accent was spot on

Yes, Ireland is one of the British isles.

Glasgow seems to be her semi-native tongue, so it ought to be right.

I started to say I wouldn't be surprised by a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof production with messed-up southern accents, but more accurately I would be surprised if it weren't that way. Until fairly recently southern accents in movies and tv ranged from bad to horrendous. Sometimes they seemed to be based on Foghorn Leghorn. Some actors have gotten very good at it, though, including some Brits. But I'm still wondering whether Daniel Craig's accent in Knives Out was meant to be funny or not. It was very much of the Foghorn school.

Brits have gotten way better at American accents in general. It never crossed my mind that Stringer Bell (The Wire) was not played by an American. Not only a Brit, but one of African ancestry, only one generation removed. Nor would I have thought that Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith of Man in the High Castle was anything but American. (Idris Elba and Rufus Sewell, respectively.)

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