Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 14:48:02 -0600
From: Greg Pulliam gpulliam[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CHARLIE.CNS.IIT.EDU
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!"