Date: Wed, 3 Aug 1994 22:59:50 -0500
From: mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU
Subject: Re: Forrest Gump
David Johns observed Martin Sheen's difficulty in doing Gen. Lee's accent
for "Gettysburg," and the difficulty of getting accents right.
Mike Picone talked about the larger problems in the
motion picture industry.
I agree with David that maybe it's too much to expect for non[native
speakers to get it exactly right. But I do not think much of an effort
is made. I have a lot of respect for Martin Sheen as an actor and a
human being; I can't help thinking that he might have done better if the
director had made that a bigger part of the the role.
Which gets me to Mike's point. Yes, there is a lot of arrogance in the
movie/TV industries. And I suppose it ticks me off as a professional
linguist/dialectologist that a lot of what we know gets ignored by the
people who produce this stuff. And I supose part of being ticked off has
sg. to do with the failure of the culture at large to take what we know
about language variation very seriously. The press invariably reports on
any research in dialectology--even the appearance of a humongous project
like DARE--very humorously, with a lot of jokes. That's a bummer sometimes.