You deserve to be relegated to the station of the sheep.
August 15, 2009 10:05 AM   Subscribe

 
I don't even know what to say.

She just schooled me. That's for sure.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2009






Okay, I'll be good now.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:26 AM on August 15, 2009


sounds like an English person imitating John Cleese imitating an English person, except not funny.
posted by facetious at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


She'd be a lot more intimidating without the kitty-cat postcard over her shoulder.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm just an uneducated American, so I had to look up most of the words.
posted by Houstonian at 10:32 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


dear, iniquity will come and go - that video of you in cheap tesco jewelry is forever
posted by pyramid termite at 10:33 AM on August 15, 2009 [17 favorites]


The sound is so low I couldn't hear it. While I'm trying to decide if I care, she makes air quotes. Never mind, I ain't listening.
posted by charlesminus at 10:33 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, the sound is very low.

Air quotes...? Oh:

While you convey a facade of 'originality', you're no different from the sea of sinners and sheep.

I found this while looking for examples of RP English. This is much more fun than the 'oh ho, chap!' nonsense seen elsewhere.
posted by zennie at 10:44 AM on August 15, 2009


She sports neither top-hat nor monocle; I call fake.
posted by everichon at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


best of the web!!
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 10:53 AM on August 15, 2009


The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British. On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.

The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you.
posted by netbros at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2009 [19 favorites]


Eat and drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you.

So how do you explain the Glaswegians' heart attack rate?
posted by YouRebelScum at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


Note the stylized facial expressions, the complete absence of ums and ers. This is probably someone's acting exercise.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2009


So how do you explain the Glaswegians' heart attack rate?

Determination.
posted by nímwunnan at 11:10 AM on August 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Counterpoint.
posted by boo_radley at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2009


Shite Sandwich.
posted by dbiedny at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


So how do you explain the Glaswegians' heart attack rate?

The Patter.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2009


Call that an English accent?

This is an English accent!
posted by Sova at 11:36 AM on August 15, 2009 [17 favorites]


Now that was a right mithering.
posted by koeselitz at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2009


By the way, dude, if you need me, I'll be down at the sheep station gettin' relegated. Or something.
posted by koeselitz at 11:57 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is this still here?
posted by EarBucket at 11:58 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG that was funny. But I guess she was trying to be serious . . . sorry! :-P
posted by garnetgirl at 12:01 PM on August 15, 2009


How is this still here?


Better, Why is this here?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2009


Both how & why please.
posted by i_cola at 12:05 PM on August 15, 2009


This is an English accent! (Sova)

I am melting. You have found the secret cuteness button installed in my soul and pushed it. That was so cute, I am not long for this earth.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:06 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Tell us how you really feel" is such a handy phrase.
posted by Cranberry at 12:16 PM on August 15, 2009


How on earth did you find this video with 300 views, which I suspect are mostly from this post?
posted by Corduroy at 12:19 PM on August 15, 2009


EarBucket: How is this still here?

Hey, it's interesting. The headline video isn't bad; I like to think she's talking to this dude from two posts down. And that he doesn't know what she's saying at all, he just knows she's pissed off, so he keeps rocking and rocking on his awesome bass knowing that eventually she will be overcome by admiration for his skills and by his careful attention to detail when replicating anime-girl costumes. But she isn't overcome by admiration, she's just confused and more and more flabbergasted, until both of them explode in a huge conflagration of weird.

Anyhow, I like the 'American Accent' video better. She seems to indicate that she's about to insult Americans, but she calls herself 'just a pompous English toff' in such a way that I'm tempted to think that she's not actually English but is consciously putting on the accent. I'm also driven to this conclusion by the suspicion that few people really revel in their own accent the way she seems to be trying to in the first linked video; it would be odd to post a video to youtube thinking to yourself, 'ha ha, look at me, I'm a pompous English toff' if you really were one. I haven't watched any of her other videos - maybe it'll become apparent where exactly she's from.

It'd be awesome to discover that she's actually Welsh. That's what I'm hoping.

Anyhow, going on the assumption that she is in the UK, her American accents are really only (a) the sort of nasaly New Yorker type thing you'd hear in a Woody Allen film and (b) a bad, distant Valley girl thing that's clearly derived from third- and fourth-hand imitations. She may believe that she's being incredibly insulting to American women who speak this way, but this is really nothing compared to, say, Frank Zappa's song Valley Girl, which features his daughter Moon Unit doing a better (and frankly more insulting) imitation of a Valley girl than toff girl here. But then, Frank and Moon Unit lived around Valley girls; the vast majority of Americans and UKians don't.

To be honest, Americans have so many different strange and inconsistent accents that it's quite easy for people from the UK to be convincing when putting on an American accent. There is no one here who will narrow their eyes and say: 'that man isn't from my neighborhood - I grew up with that accent, and he's doing it wrong.' We move around so much that it's rare for us to establish anything like a geographical dialectic-based uniqueness. So it's easy for a UKian to watch a few dozen movies and get enough of the American-accent indicators down to be convincing.

I think the only American accent that I've never heard anybody imitate convincingly is the quiet, middle-American thing you hear in Kansas and Nebraska. Everybody abroad seems to think that between New York and California everybody drawls like a rabid Texan. They can't be blamed for having this impression; that's the idea you get if you just watch movies about the US instead of actually living here.
posted by koeselitz at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


How on earth did you find this video with 300 views, which I suspect are mostly from this post?

I have no wish to sound arrogant. However, my prowess in the unearthing of unfathomable falderal is unrivaled.

No... the video on Queen's English, which is what I was originally after, has tens of thousands of views. I was simply looking for more of that type of speech.
posted by zennie at 12:37 PM on August 15, 2009


is that a pearl necklace?
posted by fistynuts at 12:41 PM on August 15, 2009


So it's easy for a UKian to watch a few dozen movies and get enough of the American-accent indicators down to be convincing.

Well, except she wasn't. Her vowel sounds are inconsistent in her American voice, and many of them are formed entirely wrong. She almost has the 'drawl" correct, but for me, that segment is an exercise in the uncanny valley. "She's obviously not from the US, I wonder where she is from?" is what I would think if I met her at a party.

That said, I wonder if the "posh" accent is even how she really talks. That felt so formal and stilted, I tend to agree with the suggestion that it was a class exercise. I thought the BBC dropped the concept of accent training some years ago. Do they still do that in other sectors of British life?
posted by hippybear at 12:50 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Watching more: she's supposed to be a Londoner? Hrm. Color me skeptical.

She sounds distinctly like she's trying to sound like the old beast Thatcher.
posted by koeselitz at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2009


I think the only American accent that I've never heard anybody imitate convincingly is the quiet, middle-American thing you hear in Kansas and Nebraska.

That's generally true. I wouldn't say that Jimmy McNulty's accent from The Wire was a quiet, middle-American accent though and it sounds authentically American to me. I'm not sure what kind of accent it is but it's not quiet Nebraskan.

Bob Hoskins can do a very credible non-Nebraskan accent.
posted by Justinian at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2009


Ok. Not skeptical any more. This is good.
posted by koeselitz at 1:07 PM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bob Hoskins can do a very credible non-Nebraskan accent.

And yet after all these years of practice he still can't say "balls".
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:11 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This, again, makes me so very glad that vlogging was not around when I was a fifteen-year-old girl who frothed with verbose rage against lowly, common, animalistic creatures (which is to say, fifteen-year-old boys). Or is she doing a monologue? Either way, it's adorably insufferable.

I may not know about film but I do know that the "underneath the chin" camera angle, although it may come with the webcam, flatters no one.

As to American accents, I do see them imitated badly by British actors and others who seem to think they can imitate an American newsanchor by putting their voices directly through the nasal cavity, and putting "r"s in unexpected places ("Say, here's an idear!") Hugh Laurie is the only one I've seen to do an impeccable job at a received-pronunciation American accent, but Cary Elwes is also quite good at it.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:12 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's an unholy nausea-inducing mixture of Gywneth Paltrow, Madonna putting on a posh accent, Winona Ryder, and Anne Hathaway.
posted by blucevalo at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2009


Justinian: I wouldn't say that Jimmy McNulty's accent from The Wire was a quiet, middle-American accent though and it sounds authentically American to me. I'm not sure what kind of accent it is but it's not quiet Nebraskan.

It's that northeastern thing, not so exaggerated or pronounced in Baltimore as it is in Boston or NY but still present. It's a strong and archetypical enough accent (and one common enough in cop shows stretching back to the early 70s) that it's not too hard to imitate, I think.

One thing I actually was disappointed with in watching The Wire (yeah, blasphemy, I know) was the fact that I don't think they caught the depth and breadth of strangeness of Baltimore language - not that that was the point, of course. I don't know if foreigners watching the show could be aware of the fact that Baltimore is really a confluence of all kinds of interesting and weird things. First and foremost, it's the greatest representative of the schizophrenic east-coast divide between north and south; there are still people in Baltimore, if you know where to look for them, who speak with a pronounced southern accent, and see Maryland as part of the south, but most of them are disappearing and have been replaced by more cosmopolitan folks; nevertheless the heritage is still there. More interesting to me, however, is the weird, oddly insular white-bread culture that is not only indifferent to distinctions of 'north' and 'south' but to almost any distinctions which the surrounding areas might find compelling. There are people in Baltimore that talk like nobody does outside of early-70s Southern California, as weird as that may.

I guess what I'm saying is: the only thing The Wire really needed was more John Waters.
posted by koeselitz at 1:23 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


How non-U.
posted by tellurian at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've no doubt that the many complaints aired thus far in the thread have a quantum of justice; I am not in a position to judge the accuracy of any accent the woman in the video might be attempting, nor do I care to disparage her diction, which, if undoubtedly studied and affected, is at least more interesting than that with which one commonly meets, not merely in ordinary conversation, but especially on youtube, a venue not known for the considered expression of opinion—but if others, who perhaps place more importance on verisimilitude than do I, do wish to do so, I have no desire to stand in their way. Suum cuique, I say; I wish only to note that she has pretty eyes.
posted by kenko at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2009


I think she may be over-intellectualizing how much she really likes him.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2009


This is an English accent!

That was cuteacular!
When I have children, that's the kind I want.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:47 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient: When I have children, that's the kind I want.

This is why I'm planning on foregoing the traditional methods and simply stealing children from Yorkshire.
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's the RP way to say "gravitas"?

Never have "don quixit" and "don jooan" been more plausible.
posted by kenko at 1:54 PM on August 15, 2009


How non-U.

Bet she still calls 'em serivettes, I tell you what.
posted by Diablevert at 1:54 PM on August 15, 2009


How non-U.

Bet she still calls 'em serivettes, I tell you what.
posted by Diablevert at 1:54 PM on August 15, 2009


Which she pronounces "serviettes"?
posted by kenko at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2009


Which she pronounces "serviettes"?

Double post and a misspelling. I'll tie me own blindfold if you'll give me a cigarette. It's no more than I deserve.
posted by Diablevert at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2009


And here she is doing a snippet of Hamlet and some guttural maledictions. Oh, and the beast of iniquity is back!
posted by grobstein at 2:15 PM on August 15, 2009


"Speaking with an American accent is not synonymous with having the IQ of a tea cosy."

Pfft. I have an IQ higher than that of most potholders and I've been told that I speak in Stoner LOLcat. Ain't nothin' wrong with the 'Murican accent.

quite easy for people from the UK to be convincing when putting on an American accent.

Yeah, I don't know. Dominic West can do it. Kate Winslet can do it. This chick? I can tell that she's a Brit trying to speak with an American accent. And not just because she said so first. She very clearly has some British vowels thrown in there.

I can't fake any accents convincingly (except for the Minnesotan "Fargo" accent and only because my mom's whole family lives in Minnesota and I find myself slipping into a mild version of it naturally when I'm around them for too long), but I can spot non-native English pretty well.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:44 PM on August 15, 2009


During the first minute of the first video I was trying to figure out why she sounded so familiar and then realized she reminded me strongly of Winona Ryder in Bram Stoker's Dracula and wondered if maybe she was really an American. But then I watched her American accents and thought it was unlikely that anyone is good enough to be an American doing a perfect "British person doing an American accent." It's instantly recognizable - it always comes off sounding like the speaker has swallowed a frog which has gotten lodged in their throat and they're trying to speak around it. Americans speak further back in the throat than the English, but not that far back.
posted by frobozz at 2:51 PM on August 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


grapefruitmoon: Yeah, I don't know. Dominic West can do it. Kate Winslet can do it. This chick? I can tell that she's a Brit trying to speak with an American accent. And not just because she said so first. She very clearly has some British vowels thrown in there.

Hmm. Actually, I think was thinking mainly of Australian actors when I said that; people like Lucy Lawless [link oops how the hell did that get in there? I meant link] and Rachel Griffiths. And, what? Mel Gibson hasn't spoken with the accent for years, I guess, but... Nicole Kidman's ridiculously convincing, I think, although obviously she lived here for years.
posted by koeselitz at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2009


I think the British are also just so much more conscious of accent; it's so intentional for them, so part and parcel with geographical identity. I've met Brits who can distinguish other Brits' accents down almost to what block they're from; it's such a distinctive thing. Whereas I've met people who've spent their whole lives in Texas but speak exactly the same as other people I've met who spent their whole lives hundreds of miles away in New York or California; maybe it's just me, but it seems like that kind of provincial distinctiveness isn't really something we do here. Hmm.
posted by koeselitz at 3:13 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


grobstein: Oh, and the beast of iniquity is back!

That's what I thought at first. But no, she only sounds like Mag Thatcher.
posted by koeselitz at 3:23 PM on August 15, 2009


Mel Gibson hasn't spoken with the accent for years

Given that he was born to an American father in Westchester County (suburb of NYC) and lived there until he was 12, it's fair to say that the American accent is his original one. I would assume you revert back to your original accent a lot more quickly than you develop a new one and he's lived in the USA for longer than he ever did in Australia.

People refer to Gibson as an Australian actor a lot, but he isn't. He has dual American-Irish citizenship and is no more Australian than I am Canadian (I went to high school there).
posted by Justinian at 3:37 PM on August 15, 2009


And here she is doing a snippet of Hamlet and some guttural maledictions.

Hm. The secret language.
posted by zennie at 3:49 PM on August 15, 2009


Justinian: People refer to Gibson as an Australian actor a lot, but he isn't. He has dual American-Irish citizenship and is no more Australian than I am Canadian (I went to high school there).

Ah - should've known. I think this common mistake stems from the facts that (a) Gallipoli is so essentially an Australian film (maybe people associate him more with Mad Max, but the same is true, heh) and (b) us Americans would like to think that anyone who is so ravingly complete a loon can't possibly have come from here.
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on August 15, 2009


penis
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:03 PM on August 15, 2009


In college there was a guy everyone called British Andrew, because he spoke with a British accent. Then word got around that he was actually from Ohio, and that he'd only spent about six months in Britain when he was twelve. Apparently he'd been talking like that ever since.

Then everyone started calling him Fake British Andrew. He transferred soon afterwards.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:04 PM on August 15, 2009


Every college has British Andrew. Or occasionally Irish/Scottish Andrew. At least ours only did it when he was drunk.
posted by Peztopiary at 4:30 PM on August 15, 2009


The problem with her American accent wasn't the accent (except for the couple of vowel slips mentioned) so much as it was the precise enunciation.

Hugh Laurie is the only one I've seen to do an impeccable job at a received-pronunciation American accent

Heh, I avoided House for a long time because I was afraid I wouldn't like his American accent, which I, too, associate with a lot of the bad British renditions I've heard in the past, but he manages quite well.
posted by effwerd at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2009


I continue to chuckle to myself at Michael Gambon's fake bad American accent he uses briefly in Toys.
posted by hippybear at 5:43 PM on August 15, 2009


I wouldn't say that Jimmy McNulty's accent from The Wire was a quiet, middle-American accent though and it sounds authentically American to me. I'm not sure what kind of accent it is but it's not quiet Nebraskan.

I listened to the commentary track on an episode of The Wire where he said that they told the cast (which included surprising numbers of Brits) not to try the Baltimore accent, that it made them sound "retarded" as he put it. He described what he was trying to do as a "general East Coast accent" and Michael K. Williams (Omar) talked about trying to get the cadences and vowels right for an African American accent from Baltimore (which doesn't sound a lot like white folks like me).

I had to get over my expectations that people would speak authentically, and once I did, I enjoyed it more. But Dominic West's was the one I could not block out for all I tried. When they would throw him a local phrase and get him to try it with the accent, it destroyed any scene he was in. There's a scene where he's in a bar (with Lester, I think) and he says something about "goin' dan'e'ayoshen" ("down the ocean" or "to the beach") and I just wanted to reach through the screen and stab him in the neck. But I couldn't get all the way to the bottom of that uncommonly deep uncanny valley in time.
posted by el_lupino at 6:04 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


McNulty sounds vaguely Pennsylvanian to me, which is close enough to Baltimore that it jibes. Also, I live in a city with a WICKED STRONG local accent (whose local lingo also involves a wicked amount of the word "wicked") and I know plenty of people who were born & raised 'round here who don't have it. I don't have the local accent of the area I grew up in either. Dunno how or why that works... perhaps languagehat could explain it.

The American accent versus the British accent isn't even just about speaking further back, Americans speak with their whole mouths. Brits tend to be rather closed-jawed. Americans, as our worst critics would have it, speak like we've got a hot potato in our mouths. It leads us to slur a lot of stuff together and drop off consonants and stuff. Such as Massachusetts, where the letter "r" at the end of a word is just a myth.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:20 PM on August 15, 2009


I think the only American accent that I've never heard anybody imitate convincingly is the quiet, middle-American thing you hear in Kansas and Nebraska.

And in Mzurra.
posted by Herodios at 6:24 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like the part where she is sassy and talks down to me.
posted by clearly at 6:24 PM on August 15, 2009


Such as Massachusetts, where the letter "r" at the end of a word is just a myth.

No no, what they do is collect them and put them at the end of names -- like my sister Lindurr and her friend Leethurr.
posted by Herodios at 6:49 PM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]




"Such as Massachusetts, where the letter "r" at the end of a word is just a myth."

Can I ask a quick question that has been driving me nuts for a few years now? Do some Brits add an "r" to the end of particular words? Because I swear some of the commentators on the BBC say shit like "Australiar" and "Chinar" and "President BEARock oBOMar" and it drives me nuts.

Maybe Massachusetts has been smuggling it's "r"s over the big water.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:19 AM on August 16, 2009


British people insert "r"s between words that end in, and words that begin with, vowels. You should hear "Australiar is" but not "Australiar won't".
posted by kenko at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2009


While watching TV coverage of the 1991 Gulf War, I enjoyed noting that US reporters spoke of PATE-riot MISS-'ls while UK reporters spoke of PAT-riot miss-AISLES -- often while addressing each other.
posted by Herodios at 10:31 AM on August 16, 2009


There's a lot of different phenomenon that people are referencing here. The east coast 'r' stuff is probably either linking R or intrusive R (some people have picked up one or both of these features). Also, this wiki page on rhotic and non-rhotic accents has some really great maps of where these features generally occur in England and the US.

Keep in mind that accent is just one feature of dialect. Many times when people affect an accent, they pick out the most salient acoustic features of the accent they are imitating, without full understanding of the other, more subtle or nuanced features. These are the clues to authenticity.

For example, with African American Vernacular English (AAVE), many non-AAVE speakers trying to do an AAVE accent will randomly insert the dialect feature of the word 'be', not realizing that AAVE has different syntax than Standard American English (SAE), marking for aspect, where SAE does not. This chart is an awesome example of the syntactic/lexical differences between the two dialects. Additionally, AAVE is more rhythm-timed than SAE, which is more stress-timed. Similar subtle differences occur between SAE and RP, but I don't know exactly what they are. I'm just pointing out that its about more than just vowels and their environments...consonants, affixes, prosody (timing and intonation, etc.), and lexical choice all factor in as well.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:31 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just here to say
the "beastofiniquity" tag made my day
posted by MessageInABottle at 4:57 AM on August 17, 2009


Igry.
posted by everichon at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2009


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