Friday, 20 February 2009

UnderRated: Accents

Love them or hate them, accents are incredibly powerful things.

I can remember the first time I went to visit Ruf, I warned him that I would probably have to bring the Universal Translator as sometimes he speaks so fast that I just cannot decipher the words. It's as if my brain shouts 'can't compute, can't compute' and threatens to spontaneously combust. He has bouts of hysterics at some of my own pronounciations and the things he's thought he's heard as opposed to what I've actually said.

But my worst sin, apparently, is my refusal to accept that words like path and bath do not have an 'r' in them. The perennial symptom of the North/South divide, I believe... although, of course, Ruf would insist that he comes from neither.

One of the things we do agree on when it comes to speaking in tongues is how incredibly sexy it is when Cerys Matthews sings 'Rrrroad rrrage' in that lilting Welsh style.

The Scottish accent does it for me big time too. Sean Connery saying 'The name's Bond, James Bond'

Of course, my formative years were spent submerged in films, particularly musicals and a great favourite was Gigi, with the soft, seductive tones of the French - Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier. And then there were the Saturday night programmes featuring Sacha Distel... Not forgetting Serge Gainsbourg in 'Je t'aime' and Charles Aznavour's 'She'.

However, I've always been a sucker for the dialects of my native country too. The rough, earthy tones of Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe just do it for me big time. So you can imagine my excitement at Erotica when the man with the vibrating finger ring began touching the back of my hand and talking about the process in an accent so reminiscent of that Yorkshireman that I would quite willingly have allowed him to take me off somewhere and explain in greater detail, preferably with practical demonstrations. Fortunately, I had three very sensible chaperones to drag me off to the next stall to examine the Lelo collection.

But let's not forget the cheeky twang of the Geordies and even the nasal whine of the Black Country has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' when it comes to my nether regions.

Ruf and I disagree violently over the Liverpudlian tones with that soft kkkkkk in so many words. I think it's one of the reasons I used to love Brookside and, in particular, Barry Grant.

Whatever your accent, I will appreciate your linguistic charms.

You see, I got lumbered with Estuary.



CHEF TROLL said...

They sometimes run Foreign Language Sub-Titles in the USA when there's a news story from the UK featuring a newsmaker from Scotland or Northern England.

"We cort the soospected bahnk robba templing to flee the Coon Tree art the errpaht"

Translastion: We caught the suspected bank robber attempting to flee the Country at the airport.

Anonymous said...

Here in the states...we have beautful dialects as well. I enjoy hearing and being able to decipher parts of our country. From Louisiana's Cajun /French drawl to NY City's interesting pronunciations like dropping R's (Fugget about it) or using a D for what looks like a "TH" (Dey sell papers on doity-dird). Language is fun to disect.

probitionate said...

I lived in the UK for the better part of a decade. As the Canuck son of immigrants, I never grew bored with the variety of accents. (Especially Geordie, which I applied to two characters in a recent screenplay)

But many Brits I worked with, were. In fact, I'll never forget one guy telling me he wished they'd all go away. What I found (sincerely) charming, he found embarrassing.

But it's not just a question of character, it's heritage. And that's always a wonderful thing.

So yes, I too am a sucker for an accent.

(In Chesapeake Bay in the US, there are several islands where the accent is, at its core, Elizabethan. They've been sequestered so long that they owe more to 16th English than modern 'American'. The same can be said of outlaying parts of Newfoundland.)

nitebyrd said...

Many times if I watch movies from England, Scotland or Australia, I'll have to put the closed-captioning on. I know they are speaking English and I adore the accents but can't understand a thing. "The Full Monty" and "The Commitments" are perfect examples.

I loved my grandmother's soft, Scottish burr. Aussie accents make me melt as do the slow Southern accents of our Deep South.

Listening is fun and educational!

scarlet-blue said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of estuary!
I like trying out new accents. And love to master French.. but I sound like an episode of 'Ello 'Ello.

Jackie Adshead said...

Mmm.. they are wonderful to behold, accents aren't they! Of course I haven't got one (!) and I know you'll argue that point with me, since we are not from the same part of England!!! LOL

But, I agree that some are so sexy, Sean Bean being one of them indeed!! and Alan Rickman's voice is like soft melted dark chocolate to me, soooo sexy!

Accents are a delight, to listen to, but not always to pick up!!!

Roland Hulme said...

I love Cerys Matthews. Whatever happened to her? I was at uni in Wales when Catatonia was big and now my CD of White Horses is so scratched, it won't play any more!

Z said...

Sean bean as Sharpe doesn't even have to speak, he just has to BE.

But yes, some accents instantly reduce me to a puddle of lust, whilst some are an instant turnoff.

having my cake said...

Troll, This is why I have to use the Universal Translator on my travels :)

SG - I'd not thought of other countries having their own dialects as well!

Probitionate - Please tell me they say prithee and forsooth :P

Nitebyrd - I struggled with both of those too :)

Miss Scarlet - We can be the upmarket estuary birds :)

Jackie - You soooooo do have an accent! I had forgotten Alan Rickman. Even his German accent inthe first Die Hard film was to die for.

Z - Spot on. The Sharpe man doesnt even need to open his mouth :)

having my cake said...

Oops, sorry Roland, missed you out.

Cerys was in Im a Celebrity in the jungle a year or two ago and was infamous for getting a bit intimate with a soapstar who already had a girlfriend as I recall.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Eastern Scotland and the Wearside do it for me (Glasgow and the Borders come as poor third and fourth).

My God... Jane Birkin! [sigh]

justme said...

Blimey hun! No dea i was counting as 'sensible' there! If I had KNOWN you were so affected by the vibrating finger, I would probably have suggested you go for it!!

Mr. Nighttime said...

How do you feel about a Bronx accent? (well, mine is Bronx/Brooklyn hybrid)

Isabella Snow said...

I just blogged about this a few days ago. As you know, I prefer that English public schoolboy accent that so many British people seem to take the piss about!

having my cake said...

Kevin, Im not sure I could distinguish to easily between my Scottish accents :P

Justme - Stop that, it wasn't the finger that did it :)

Mr Nighttime, I couldnt possibly comment on a stereotype, Id have to listen to the real thing to give you a firm decision :P

Isa - Im afraid Id rather have a man with my nipple in his mouth than a plum :P

Jackie Adshead said...

Mmm.... I thought you might say that about my accent!!!! LOL