Monday, October 20, 2008

Hating on the Accent

I'm preparing the next story I want to produce for The Unbodied. I'm not done with it yet but I wanted to make one of the characters British or Australian, just for fun. I thought it would add another dimension to a show with only two or three actors. I wanted to practice an accent so I went on Youtube to see if there were any instructional videos. I watched several, including ones that had nothing to do with accents and one video made by a huge queen, and I noticed something interesting. Most of the comments were pretty disparaging ones left by British or Australian people. I will admit that most of the accents weren't too good, but the comments seemed pretty cruel.

I think maybe those leaving the comments were offended that Brits and Aussies would be stereotyped. I know there are several different accents in Britain alone, not to mention the rest of the anglophone world. It could also be that British people are sick of Americans thinking they can speak with an accent and just using a cockney one. It would be like assuming all Americans speak with a heavy Southern accent or something. I'm doing that in my head right now...

This is a video of a guy trying out an American accent. Like British or Australian accents, there are tons of instructional videos on how to speak American English. They mostly teach standard American, which sounds like a reporter or something. For the most part I found their information to be accurate, except for one video that claimed Americans never pronounce the t in nt words, like can't or tint.

It seems like Americans are much more interested in trying to do a British accent than the other way around. Most American commenters actually found accents sexy. In fact, I think most people watching the American videos are from non-English speaking countries who want to move here and don't want to feel like such a foreigner. I almost feel bad thinking about a person losing their accent, but it's not like it's a distinct language or something.

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