Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 14:48:02 -0600


Subject: Re: British actors in US

As someone who's done some of this sort of

thing--"accents/dialects"--on-air in radio and on television, I must say

that the descriptions of both British and American English as "adding" or

"dropping" sounds, or being more or less "muscular," seem to be based on

native-speaker assumptions, not on observable, categorical phenomena. When

I imitated the RP-dialect of the royal family on "morning-zoo" radio, was I

dropping my r's (and by one acccount therefore doing something easy) or was

I fronting (and therefore adding a feature)?

These kinds of descriptions seem to me to be "coaching" strategies--things

coaches tell players/actors to convince them that something is doable.

Nothing in the American/Australian/English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh/etc.

accents/dialects make any one of them easier or harder. "Doing" an

accent/dialect well would seem to me to be a function of similarity between

native and target accents/dialects as well as the individual's ear for such

things, AND economics.

I will have to second Popik's point about Hollywood's call for American

accents/dialects--to me, this is (forgive me) paramount. As they say at

Lake Superior, "Show me the money!"