Swearing and Dialect: On the Example of British English Dialects
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Some choose to keep it, others try to lose it. For instance in Germany there is no correlation between class and accent. You can have whatever regional accent you like. In Russia, the variations are small. What matters is that you speak Russian in a way which is grammatically correct. This ironing out of a local twang may be less common now than it used to be … but a survey for the BBC revealed than 4 in 5 people admitted to changing their accent on occasions, particularly when meeting people for the first time or when talking to more senior work colleagues.
Nowadays, those for whom giving presentations, lectures, or speeches, while probably not attending formal elocution classes, often take coaching from specialist voice teachers … and while the emphasis may be on learning how to motivate and inspire their work colleagues, I have no doubt that such training also involves smoothing the rough edges of a strong accent — not least in recognition that a strong accent may not be well understood by others. Needless to say, it didn't go down too well. They are, as it were, guilty until proven innocent.
Similarly - and this is of course far more worrying - children with working class accents and dialects may be evaluated by some teachers as having less educational potential than those with middle-class accents and dialects, unless they, too, are given an adequate chance to demonstrate the contrary. According to the BBC, This was not an early attempt at appealing more to the general public, but actually a move to make it more difficult for Nazis to impersonate BBC broadcasters!
It was even said that some listeners were less inclined to believe the news when Pickles was reading it. Traditional RP is the very posh, clipped upper class voice, spoken by earnest men in s public information films, certain members of the Royal family, in comedy sketches and commercials, and by the art critic, the late Brian Sewell! Modern RP is an unmarked, non-regional standard accent, predominantly spoken in England.
Many people have it as part of their repertoire, and it's arguably less far removed from other accents than traditional RP. A person speaking modern RP, for example, would pronounce 'handle', as 'han-dl'.
ACCENTS FOR ACTORS As a stage, film or television actor, the setting and the accents in a drama script are usually pretty specific … the drama may be set in a particular town and within a script there are often clues about accents not only in the character descriptions, but also from what one character says about another. For a voice actor working on a straight narrative read, there are often fewer clues.
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None of which is a particularly meaningful description. In these cases, the client will often only know what they want when they actually hear it, so it is down to you as the performer to give the best read you can while keeping as close to the brief as possible. My advice would always be to do less rather than more with a note to the casting director or client, that you can strengthen the accent if required.
When a client or casting director specifies that they are looking for an actor with a native accent - then that is what they mean — they want the voice of someone who was born and brought up, or has at least lived in a specific area. You will only be putting yourself in a potentially embarrassing situation by pretending to be something that you are not. If the choice of an accent is left to you, or if you are creating a recording for a reel - or even submitting a read for an audition, then a teensy tinge of an accent is often very effective and is often easier on the ear than a very broad or strong accent unless of course that is what has been asked for.
I am talking very subtle here - such a tiny difference so that my voice is still very much recognisable as my voice, I am not 'putting on' an accent, I am just very gently softening, or hardening, or flattening or adding lilt to my voice, in the same way that people often do in general conversation. They adapt their voice to echo the person they are speaking to. Now this could apply to almost anything - so think of some products and imagine what voice you might use to enhance and strengthen the message of the advertisement.
An industrial machine cleaner - a slightly harsher tone and a flat northern accent suggestive of dark satanic mills might be appropriate here. Replacement windows and doors — a hard sell with a local accent for whichever region the advert is showing. Full fat dairy cream - A softer tone with a more rounded and rolling West Country accent suggests rolling hills and countryside product. Best lamb chops - With Welsh lamb being among the best in the World what else but a Welsh lilt … unless it is an advertisement for New Zealand Lamb of course!
Guinness — despite the fact that Guinness is made worldwide in over sixty countries, it originated from Dublin, so Southern Irish would be a logical choice. You get the idea … and the same imaginative approach to copy can be applied to scripts and accents across the world and in all languages. There will be subtle connections between a product and a region that advertisers and marketing people will play to in order to add a subliminal extra punch to their copy.
And of course … accents are not just featured in drama and advertisements. Even corporate and business voice overs, on hold and welcome messages, all can be brought to life by a touch of the appropriate accent. In most audiobooks the narrative is read in a neutral voice and using a slight variation in accent can be a good way to help define and separate individual characters from the narrative voice - but beware of the ministry of silly voices! You're definitely not aiming for the Tower of Babel effect.
The British Isles is made up many, many different accents and dialects — more than 37 dialects at the last count. A dialect is a variety of a language that differs from the standard language, in this case RP. Dialects can vary regionally — depending on where in the country a person is from, as well as socially. London especially, drawing people from all over the UK to live and work, is a melting pot of all of these different dialects. You can search by county, or by map, to find out how people speak all over the country.
Good luck! It came about as the dialect of the London working classes, especially in the poorer East End of the city.
The Cockney dialect also gave us Rhyming Slang , and you can still hear plenty of market traders round the East End shouting out in Cockney from their stalls. Yorkshire is a big county in England, and lots of people speak with a variation of the Yorkshire dialect as a result. The Northern Irish accent is quite a beautiful one, and a strong one too.
Here are some great tips. The Scottish dialect varies hugely from city to city, town to town, and becomes increasingly like the Irish accent in the Western Isles, and increasingly like Nordic languages in the islands to the far north. The more remote the area, the stronger the accent seems to become, so people from the Shetland Islands can be hard to understand at first.